11 out of 18 This is. . . books by Miroslav Sasek
It’s amazing how having a kid opens up new worlds to you.
For months, I’ve walked by the “New York” section of our local bookstore (Book Court, which is everything the B&N down the block is not, and yet another great reason to visit the Cobble Hill section of Brooklyn). And for months, I’ve noticed a children’s book titled This is New York by M. Sasek.
A few weeks ago, I overcame the inertia that sometimes comes with familiarity (I keep seeing it, therefore I’m already bored with it), and of course, devoured this charming and clever little book. Then I went home and got on the internet.
A woman named Anne has a fascinating site about Miroslav Sasek, the author and artist of these beloved children’s books. After writing a post about Sasek on her blog, called “I like” she received so much positive feedback that she created a site devoted solely to him. Her new blog,This is M. Sasek , identifies and describes the books in the 18-volume collection as such:
“The title page is always in the same style, with “This is” in cursive writing and Sasek’s printed signature, but little details are added for each destination. The highlights of each destination are presented in vivid colour through the rest of the book with an emphasis on tourist hotspots, local transport, and national dress (particularly the different cultures that inhabit each place). I only have a few of the books but they are all superb. They are in a very 50’s Eastern European style, but are not dated at all. Most of the things that he has picked out are still noteworthy today and his style has endured. They are true classics.”
“Peanuts – and almost everything else – you can buy from a machine,” excerpt from This is New York, 1960
My amazingly wonderful husband surprised me for my birthday this year with eleven of the 18 books Sasek wrote between 1959 and 1974. (They’re all slowly being re-published after being out of print for over twenty years). I’ve taken a snapshot from each one to give you a taste of Sasek’s whimsical perspective and unique style. (A Czech native and Paris resident for years, Sasek writes like the foreigner who finds world travel endlessly entertaining).
” Friendly, noisy, public spirited, nostalgic” This is Ireland, 1964
“Birdwatchers” on Cocoa Beach, This is the Way to the Moon, 1963
San Quentin State Prison, This is San Francisco, 1962
Negev Desert, This is Israel, 1962
Jardin du Luxembourg, This is Paris, 1959
Floral clock being painted, This is Edinburgh, 1961
Piccadilly Circus, This is London, 1959
Elm Street, Dallas, This is Texas, 1967
Doges’ Palace, This is Venice, 1961
Trevi Fountain, This is Rome, 1960
Now, I just need to get Hong Kong, Greece, the UN, Washington DC, Australia and Historic Britain (that’ll be interesting), and my collection will be complete. Hopefully this inspires you to begin your own.