M. Sasek’s series “This is…” has enchanted countless young travelers – I still remember being given my now dog-eared copy of “This is San Francisco” by my grandparents – I loved the jazzy illustrations and simple descriptions of city life. It got me excited about my upcoming visit to the city!
M. Sasek (also known as Miroslav Sasek) was a Czech austhor and illustrator who later lived in Munich and Paris (both cities are included in the series). He originally trained as an architect, and you can see his keen understanding of structure in his drawings of buildings – the illustrations overall are very lively and uncomplicated, but the buildings are quite correct and relatively detailed. I think they ground the pictures and make the scenes really come alive! The people are also wonderfully drawn - real characters, all of them...
My dad recently gave “This is Texas” to my son, and it is just as captivating, if a little out-of-date. Well, they all are, really – they were written between 1959 and 1970. New editions contain updates in the back, and it’s fun to compare the old and new, and see how things have changed. We live in Texas, and although I love to leave the state when I can, it’s nice to see O getting interested in exploring his home state, too.
I wish we’d had the New York book before our trip there a few years’s ago –perhaps I’ll pick it up anyway, and see how it compares with our memories!