Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Sasek Faire!

I remember as a child a wonderful series of children’s books by Miroslav Sasek showcasing different countries around the world. I have two of them (This is London and This is Edinburgh) and they are very battered as I used to read them continuously. Each book takes the reader on an amusing tour throughout the city, and highlights both the landmarks and uniqueness of each location, with wonderful humorous cartoon like illustrations. The books stick to the same format throughout the series. There is usually an illustration of (presumably) Sasek himself going to wherever the book is set on the bottom left inside cover and a similar illustration on the bottom right inside cover which shows him leaving with some kind of local adornment.

The illustrations although a little dated now are as fresh today as what they were when they were first conceived and appeal to young and old alike as there is something for everyone. The books emphasise tourist hotspots, local transport and national dress (particularly the different cultures that inhabit each place). They are in a very 50s, Eastern European style, but are not dated at all. Most of the things that Sasek has picked out are still noteworthy today and his style has endured. They are true classics introducing the cachet and savoir faire of travel to children, that has endured.

So it is only fitting that since I will be leaving soon for Italy that I feature some of the illustrations from the Rome and Venice books.


  1. I have the "This is Paris" book in French. He did a book about Washington, DC and was in the city planning the book. He was making sketches at JFK's grave when Bobby Kennedy was killed and the workers came to begin preparing the site.

  2. I never read these books, I wonder why. They look charming and I know that I would have loved them as a young girl.
    I always had a thing for travel. For my 12th or maybe my 13th birthday I asked for a set of luggage....and got it!

  3. How interesting, that story is!

    Belle- if you can see if you can get some. They are charming as you say! I think that they influenced my love for travel. Great story about the luggage!

  4. Charming illustrations .

    I must jump in line, with Belle, as one who got my first set of luggage at age 12 - for my very first trip "all by myself" ... . on an Airplane!
    This would have been the mid '60's , so air
    travel was still quite special.

  5. These lovely illustrations bring back so many great memories of discovering the world from the airplane as a child.
    Unfortunately, I wasn't as blessed with stylish luggage sets though: I remember (with horror!) the ugly orange plastic bag hanging across my chest carrying my travel documents...

    Love the new design of your blog David!

  6. Oh, I love these books! What a wonderful post. You brought back so many memories.

    Listen, I have a little award/project for you over at my blog. If you get a moment check it out. It's was pretty fun to do.

    Best- THL


Blog Widget by LinkWithin