This is London by Miroslav Sasek: a charming children’s travel guide to London first published in 1959 and brought up to date for 2012.

This is Picaddilly Circus at night

This is London by Miroslav Sasek was a follow-up to This is Paris which was inspired by a vacation to the French capital.  When first published in the 1950s Sasek’s  This is… series was incredibly popular and it is easy to see why.  The guides are a charming, child’s-eye view of the sights, buildings and people of some of the world’s major cities.   This is London invokes a sense of wonder as you take an excursion past beautiful buildings, historic monuments, take a stroll through parks, turn down side streets to discover ‘old’ London and travel on buses, taxis and the Underground (along with three million* other passengers. *In 1959.)   I particularly enjoy the view of Fleet Street from the top of a London bus.  Don’t all children just love to rush to the top of a double-decker bus, sit right at the front and pretend to be the driver.  Mine do!

Masek’s illustrations capture the spirit, the splendour, the atmosphere of London and all its people in rich colour, in little details, in big, double-page spreads and with lots of humour.   Masek’s drawings are very much of their time and yet are timeless.   This is one of my absolute favourite books about London for children.   It is a complete joy to wander through this snapshot of London, 1959.

Masek’s light-hearted commentary is now a little dated factually, so the publishers, Simon and Schuster, have very helpfully provided asterisks, referring readers to a page at the end of the book called THIS IS LONDON….. TODAY!   Here the readers will find up to date information about some of the places Masek visits.

Now, sit back and enjoy Masek’s illustrations of London.

"Busy emporium for trade and traders," it was described by the Roman historian, Tacitus, one thousand nine hundred years ago.


Royal Albert Hall (see our Paper City model of the Royal Albert Hall below)

Fleet Street looks like this from the top of a bus.* In 1959

The platform

Some three million* passengers are carried daily in Underground trains. *1959

"Taxi! Taxi!"

"L" means that the driver is learning to drive

Covent Garden market * *Today Covent Garden is no longer famous for its market and now is a popular shopping destination

London Paper City – taken from an idea by

Joel Henriques, founder, describes as a space to share art, craft and handmade education projects for children and their care givers.  And it is a truly beautiful space at that – packed full of inspiring ideas for arts and crafts that are both “accessible” and “meaningful”.  Joel has created a lovely series of Paper City printouts.   So far he has created printouts of Paris (plus a Paris travel size version), Sydey Opera House and Luna Park, vehicles and a road trip, a helicopter and landing pad and a general city buildings printout.

My children and I decided to have a go making a London city printout, based on the Miroslav Sasek book, This is London.   Here are the results.   We hope you like them.



This entry was posted in Age 2-4, Age 4-6, Age 6-8, Age 8-10, Henriques, Joel, Pre-teen, Sasek, Miroslav and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to This is London by Miroslav Sasek: a charming children’s travel guide to London first published in 1959 and brought up to date for 2012.

  1. Library Mice says:

    The “This is” series is so wonderful :0)

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