The books stick to the same format throughout the series, which is pretty good for 25 years worth of publishing. Most are oversize hardbacks with illustrated dust-jackets or pictorial covers. There is usually an illustration of (presumably) Sasek himself going to wherever the book is set on the bottom left inside cover and a similar illustration on the bottom right inside cover which shows him leaving with some kind of local adornment.
The title page is always in the same style, with "This is" in cursive writing and Sasek's printed signature, but little details are added for each destination. The highlights of each destination are presented in vivid colour through the rest of the book with an emphasis on tourist hotspots, local transport and national dress (particularly the different cultures that inhabit each place). I only have a few of the books but they are all superb. They are in a very 50s, Eastern European style, but are not dated at all. Most of the things that Sasek has picked out are still noteworthy today and his style has endured. They are true classics.
This is Paris (1959, to be reissued 2004)
This is London (1959, to be reissued 2004)
This is Rome (1960)
This is New York (1960, reissued 2003) - read this online or order from Amazon.com
This is Edinburgh (1961)
This is Munich (1961)
This is Venice (1961)
This is San Francisco (1962, reissued 2003) - order from Amazon.com
This is Israel (1962)
This is Cape Canaveral (1963)
(Also published as This is Cape Kennedy)
This is Ireland (1964)
This is Hong Kong (1965)
This is Greece (1966)
This is Texas (1967)
This is the United Nations (1968)
This is Washington, D.C. (1969)
This is Australia (1970)
This is Historic Britain (1974)
All published by W. H. Allen in the UK, Macmillan in the US and various other publishers worldwide.
For his other books see the full bibliography on This is M. Sasek.
Like I said, links are hard to find. No doubt many artists have been influenced by him but these are the only ones to give him a namecheck, or be compared to him. They are all pretty cute though.
Take the tour (now part of This is M. Sasek) >>>
It's strange that there is so little written about M. Sasek (as he signs himself), as the This is children's books, for which he is famous, seem to be universally known and loved. Small wonder when you see the pictures (see slideshow on This is M. Sasek). They are perfect souvenirs both of a time and a place.
Like John Hinde's postcards Sasek's illustrations are cheery and colourful and make everywhere seem vibrant and exotic. Plus, they are super-duper cute.
Sasek's pictures speak for themselves, which is just as well, because despite extensive trawls through the internet and various art and illustration sources I have only been able to find out three things about him: one that he was born in Prague on 18 November 1916 and died in 1980; two that he trained as an architect because his parents didn't approve of him becoming a painter (from Stone is not cold); and three, that he called Paris home for at least part of his life. If anyone knows anything else about him please get in touch.
This was written in 2002 and there were so many other things I wanted to add that I started a separate site called This is M. Sasek.www.miroslavsasek.com