Thursday, February 9, 2012

Henri's Walk to Paris and This is Munich

Rizzoli's Universe imprint is getting heavy into the vintage children's reprint game and has two new gorgeous books out. As I mentioned previously, one is the much-anticipated Henri's Walk to Paris with design and illustration by Saul Bass, the famed graphic designer and filmmaker, and written by midcentury favorite Leonore Klein. The second book is another in the M. Sasek series, This Is Munich.

As a filmmaker, Mr. Bass was famous for creating incredible title sentences for directors like Hitchcock, Scorsese, and Kubrick, and as a designer, he created some of the most icon logos of the twentieth century including AT&T and American Airlines. Nowhere is his incredible sense of line and color more tangible than in this, his only book for children, originally published in 1962. A favorite among collectors and out of reach to the novice for many years, Henri's Walk to Paris is just as spectacular as I always imaged it to be. The story of a small town boy who longs to see Paris and decides one day to make the trek on foot. When he gets mixed up and turned around, he discovers there's no place more magical than Paris home. Spectacular! Visit grainedit to see pictures of the vintage edition and here to see my post with reprint scans.

M. Sasek's books are always a pleasure, and seeing as it is so hard and/or sometimes costly to find vintage versions, the Rizzoli reprints of all his This Is titles are a welcome addition to bookstore shelves everywhere. The oversized, matte finish of the books make them a joy to fondle, while the illustrations and history make them a delight to read. Simply put, they are really really cool! Particularly, if you have a love of a place or are planning a visit.

Reprints include... This is Paris, This is San Francisco, This is Washington, D.C., This is London, This is Venice, This is the Way to the Moon and more... Universe is slowly moving through the original list to get them all back in print. A full list of the original titles from the series are listed on the M. Sasek website here.

From his children's literature obit:

Czechoslovakian author/illustrator of nonfiction for children, Sasek's This is... series provides a unique service for children by introducing them to great countries, cities, and landmarks in an entertaining and understandable way. Sasek approached his books as if he were visiting a place for the first time, as he often was. He began each visit by going to see the places and things he heard or read about, and explore the rest without the aid of a guidebook. His impressions in word and picture form the basis of the books, and he added historical asides when he thought they were warranted. Sasek wrote his facts simply, but with enough nuance and satire to entertain sophisticated readers; his colorful illustrations are accurate and architecturally precise, but are drawn with humor and detail to intrigue young readers. Throughout the series Sasek retains a childlike sense of wonder in his verbal and visual descriptions.

My son only has New York and Texas, so now, his collection grows.


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Unknown said...

We've been loving This is London after a trip there last year at

Back in the blog reading/writing world after a short break, still loving your blog!

Jil Casey said...

I have just a couple of Sasek's This is ___ books too.
Good to know they're back in print.

Melissa G said...

Have several Sasek books & just preordered Henri's Walk- thank you for bringing it to my attention!

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