December 9, 2008

Miroslave Sasek's This Is The Hub of the Universe United Nations


The kid loves her Miroslav Sasek book, This Is Paris, even if she'll be disappointed when she gets there to find the Metro has no first class car, and all the cape-wearing policemen on bicycles have retired.

Grain Edit has an awesome look through a Sasek book I'd never heard of: This Is The United Nations, published in 1968. Sasek clearly had a good thing going with his This Is [Someplace] concept. This Is The United Nations was the 15th of the series' eventual 18 titles that grew to include such famous cities as Cape Canaveral and Texas. And if the 1974 This Is Historic Britain sounds like a bit of check-cashing exercise, good for him.

In her Times of London review, Griselda Barton praises Sasek's entertaining picture book travels in language that's as quaint as a cape-wearing Parisian bike cop: "He has now reached the hub of the Universe." Mm-hmm. The sound you just heard was John Bolton's head exploding.

The It's A Small World optimism of the Cold War-era West is comforting, though, and the pictures do look awesome. But it makes me miss the This Is... books that weren't: This Is Moscow, This Is Peking, or Sasek's own beautiful hometown, This Is Prague.

Maybe someone will do a series of This Is... Sasek tribute books, Whether they're more contemporary hotspots in Sasek style, or period pieces in the This Is A Place The Guy Fleeing The Communists In 1948 And Working In Munich Was NOT Going To Write About series, I'll leave that to the illustrator with time on his hands to decide.

Miroslav Sasek book, This Is The United Nations []
Shop for vintage copies of This Is The United Nations on amazon or abebooks [amazon, abebooks]

1 Comment

"...John Bolton's head exploding." Loved it.

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