As the boys and I prepare for our Thanksgiving trip to New Jersey, we are anxiously awaiting a fun family day in Manhattan. Brunch with friends, a Broadway play in the afternoon, a drink at the Harvard Club…Heaven. And with the devastation caused by Sandy and the reminder to us all just how incredible and impermeable the spirit of that city is, what better way to celebrate this gorgeous metropolis than by reading Miroslav Sasek’s beautiful book, “This is New York”…one in a series of books dedicated to introducing young children to the most wonderful cities in the world. Originally published in 1960, Sasek’s inimitable illustrations of New York and the brilliant and irreverent way in which he shares the history of Manhattan are what make this book a must-have for any family. It’s a literal treasure-trove of all the best New York has to offer and, even today, could serve as a tourist map of must-see attractions. Find a copy, treat yourself to a one-way ticket there and give the New York Public Library Lions a pat on the head from me.
In honor of the royal wedding (the hats! the dress! the pomp! the kiss!) I offer a little glimpse into London by way of Miroslav Sasek’s This is London. From the Tower of London to Big Ben to every cheery black cabby, Sasek’s book gives us Yanks a beautiful peek inside what makes London so special. First published in 1959, some of the landmarks from Sasek’s day no long exist, but the vintage flair and whimsy of historical anglophilia will live on. And while Beatrice’s hat may not have been my particular cup of tea, Sasek’s gorgeous book is and will remain so as long as the Royal Guards continue to stand.