Eyes, by celebrated Polish illustrator Iwona Chmielewska, is a touching story about the gift of eyesight and the power of the senses. It earned the author an 'illustrator's Oscar'.
‘Those who see don't even know how precious a treasure they get’, begins the graphically beautiful fairy tale, in which the eyes are a guide to exploring and experiencing the world. They open the doors of the imagination, and they warn and save us. But they are also a treasure which can be lost. Thus, Iwona Chmielewska’s book is also a story about the imperfections of eyesight, which is recalled by a transcription of the Korean word ‘eyes’ written in Braille on one of the pastel pages. The author explains to the youngest readers how the world is perceived by those for whom eyesight is not the most important sense and reminds that 'anyone can be happy, those who see and those who don't see'.
"Cliché?", asks Łukasz Saturczak in Newsweek. "Just a few minutes with this book and you enter a world you hadn't thought about before, not for a minute. I guarantee that there's no pathos or sentimentality, but a strange sense of anxiety which leads to a catharsis that allows us to look differently at what is under our feet, in front of us and within us".
Chmielewska plays with phraseological collocations, showing how you can see and be seen in many ways. The cut-out eyes stare at us from the cream-colored pages and they change, for instance, into rabbits' ears or dogs’ noses. The author of a blog about books for children stated:
Eyes is not only a play with form. It is not only the methodology of ‘seeing’ that makes young kids realize the complexity of the concepts and our functioning in the world and its paradoxes. Perhaps primarily, the book in its subcutaneous tissue touches on the sense of happiness. And how we can perceive our existence and our ways of being in the world. Starting from the gifts with which we are endowed, to the simplest things that can bring us joy.
Eyes’ visual narrative was awarded, among others, with the prestigious children's book competition Bologna Ragazzi Award, as well as at the 55th PTWK Competition for Most Beautiful Books of the Year 2014. The publication was also put on the List of Treasures of the Museum of Children's Book in 2014.
Iwona Chmielewska is a prominent award-winning author of picture books. She's well known world-wide, including in China, Japan, Italy, Germany and Portugal. She has published over 20 books, and has a literary fan club in South Korea.
Oczy / Eyes, text and illustrations Iwona Chmielewska, Warstwy Publishing. The book was also published in Korea.
source: Newsweek, press materials, http://pozarozkladem.blogspot.com/, ed. AL/ transl. GS, July 2015