January 15, 2008

C'est Paris

When I was at the Book Thing this weekend, I picked up the classic children's book, This is Paris, by Miraslav Sasek. Between 1959 and 1974, Sasek wrote 18 "This Is..." books. The places range from Paris to Texas, and from Rome to Cape Canaveral. The books are being re-issued one or two at a time, but the copy I found was from 1960 and is written in French.Sasek was born in pre-WWII Prague, trained as an architect and ended up living in Munich. On a trip to Paris, he thought that children should have guidebooks, too. He originally intended to only write books about London, Paris and Rome. However, with the popularity of the books, he wrote 15 more. The illustrations in these books are composed of line drawings, water colours and collages. The people in the bus below are actually stamps!
When he was writing This is Washington, DC, the riots broke out after Martin Luther King's death. He stayed in the city and was still there when Robert Kennedy was killed. He was actually sketching JFK's grave at Arlington when the guards asked him to leave so they could dig RFK's grave. Talk about being a part of history!
This is Paris has scenes from every-day life, as well as the typical tourist attractions like the Louvre and the Arc de Triomphe. The famous Marche aux Puces is well-illustrated here, with so many details of the brocante you can find there! C'est une bonne chose!

15 comments:

  1. Oh how I love these sorts of illustrations!!I have several books illustrated by Zdenek Miler.I love this type of artwork!thanks so much for sharing!xoxo

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  2. I have the "This is DC" book from my childhood. And I still love it! It sits on my bookshelf with a few childhood books I just can't part with.

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  3. Vous avez trouvé un trésor! Vive le Livre Chose!

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  4. I have three of the books and can't wait until my kids are reading them on the plane when we hop the pond.

    Great find and post!

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  5. What an amazing find! I saw one of those book covers in a magazine lately. I'll definitely have to look into that series.

    Anne

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  6. We both have books and illustrators on the brain today. Love the This is series. Great to find books you and your kids like.

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  7. Wow what a find! Thanks for the backgound. Love the illustrations.

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  8. I love the illustrations too! How long do you have to search for a gem like this? So jealous!

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  9. Love this series - so glad it's back!

    I might need to get this one for my collection!

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  10. ooh cute cute bus pigtown!! Thanks for dropping by my blog too - its lovely to hear form you :-)

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  11. love the story...i'll look for these books for my son...especially the This is DC book. also,love your sunflower project. they are my fav flower..i plan to plant many colors this yr....stop by my blog anytime, and yes Hoppin John is great..my dad used to make it for us kids all the time when i grew up in Calif. he was raised in South Carolina low country.. i'll check back often...

    Fay

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  12. I'm a huge fan of the "This is" series, as you may have figure out . . . Great post!

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  13. funny- i just bought this very book for my favorite child- me! it's part of my "i'm going to paris this year if it kills me" inspirations...

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  14. what a great great post on Sasek!!! And I love that you bought the 1960 book in French! How very lucky.

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  15. ^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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