The Other Side by Istvan Banyai, 2005

Aside from it’s title, The Other Side is without words.  And not many words are needed.   The pictures so perfectly speak for themselves…

Right Side Up

Up Side Down

Exactly.  You see everything from the other side.  First, you look through one pair of eyes, and then on the next page the looker is seen through the seen’s eyes.  And like all awesome illustrated books, that “other side” opens the gate to the imagination, to the unknown.  Though through your own eyes it’s quite possible to see this:

Egg Vie from The Other Side

You’d never actually get to see this one:

Inside The Egg from The Other Side

Unless, of course, you are an eggshell.  But a chick hatches everyday in the real world, and so we can say that the imaginative parts of the book aren’t too outlandish.  Rather, they are entirely grounded in a tangible reality, something you can relate to, you can see around you every day.  Only we get reminded that that reality is subjective.  For example, this is a looming monster from one side…

One Side of the Window

…and a sweet little girl playing hopscotch from the other.

The Other Side of the Window

As the other side of the egg shell allows us a new perspective and the other side of the glass pane allows us to question our initial impression, this book succeeds in something pretty cool and fairly subtle for a kids’ book.  In a time of perpetual exposure to the new via television and the internet, The Other Side makes it easy to get comfortable and familiar with looking at things from more than one perspective.  It’s a book that encourages us to appreciate what some one else may be seeing, and to understand that while we may be feeling like this:

The Audience on The Other Side

Maybe they’re feeling like this:

The Stage from The Other Side

*On a slight side note, the author, Istvan Banyai, is pretty rad.  He’s a Hungarian born, American illustrator, his style is unique and recognizable, and this book was published right here in SF by Chronicle Books.

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