A FEW OTHER EVENTS FOR
- Happy birthday Virginia Euwer Wolff (Make Lemonade), Charles Ghigna (Mice Are Nice), Ian Falconer (Olivia), and Lane Smith (Itâ€™s a Book; The Stinky Cheese Man and other Fairly Stupid Tales).
- Itâ€™s the birth date of Bret Harte (1836-1902), The Queen of the Pirate Isle, and Walt Kelly (1913-1973), Pogo.
- In 1835 the New York Sun newspaper perpetrates the Great Moon Hoax. Read The Great Moon Hoax by Stephan Krensky, illustrated by Josee Bisaillon.
- Best birthday wishes to the United States National Park Service, created in 1916. Read M is for Majestic by David Domeniconi, illustrated by Pam Carroll.
- Other books to read in honor of the 1944 liberation of Paris from the Nazis by the Allies include Eloise in Paris by Kay Thompson, illustrated by Hilary Knight, and Dodsworth in Paris by Tim Egan.
- Itâ€™s Kiss and Make Up Day. Read Counting Kisses by Karen Katz, and Funny You Should Ask: How to Make Up Jokes and Riddles with Wordplay by Marvin Terban, illustrated by John Oâ€™Brien.
At dawn on August 25, 1944, the Second French Armored Division entered Paris, ending the German occupation. Charles de Galle led a parade that day down the Champs Elysees. Although Hitler had ordered the destruction of the city, the occupying German officer ignored that decree and surrendered instead.
The book of the day, This is Paris by Miroslav Sasek, focuses on none of these amazing historic events. What it presents, in full glorious color, is a tribute to the City of Lights. But certainly the author had been a witness to many of the events in Europe during World War II and immediately afterward.
After the Communist takeover of Czechoslovakia, Sasek left his homeland and studied first in Paris before eventually settling in Munich. While he worked for Radio Free Europe, he noticed that tourists were often ill-prepared for sightseeing. So he wrote his first travel guide for families in 1959, This is Paris. Because of the bookâ€™s success, Sasek created a series with thirteen addition titles, on places such as London, Rome, and New York.
Sasek renders the buildings of Paris in images pleasing to the eye, but he also focuses on the people of the city. He incorporates stamps, currency, flags, costumes, and customs. He had a penchant for white space and bold color.Â Although adults can enjoy everything about this large, oversized book, Sasek focused on details of interest to children. This is Paris begins by introducing readers to the cats of the city and then shows street artists, the bird market, and the cemetery for dogs.Â In sixty pages he presents the highlights of Paris, providing just enough information to send readers off to other sources. Simply looking at this book makes me want to contact a travel agent, immediately.
But like all nonfiction, Sasekâ€™s titles became inaccurate over time. After forty years This Was Paris would have been a better title for our book of the day. Hence by the time I published Childrenâ€™s Books and Their Creators in 1995 I had to say, sadly, that these gems were out of print. Fortunately, the art book publisher Rizzo brought This is Paris back into print in 2004. They retained the large size of the book, captured the color and quality of the artwork, andÂ printed the images on a beautiful cream paper. The resulting book sets higher standards for production than the original American edition. Using an asterisk to indicate facts that have changed, the publisher provides an updated â€śThis is Parisâ€¦Todayâ€ť section on current facts.
Now â€śitâ€™s your turn to see Paris with your own eyes,” Sasek writes at the end of his book. For anyone traveling to the city, or anyone who wants to provide lessons in culture and geography, no finer book exists than this one. Iâ€™m so happy the children of this generation have a chance to look at this incredible example of graphic design and information brought together.
But why am I still writing? Get me on a plane to the City of Lights!
Hereâ€™s a page from This is Paris:
Originally posted August 25, 2011. Updated for .