Sunday, 14 June 2015

This is Ireland, This is Greece

Appropriately enough, we read This is Ireland on a dull, drizzly day and This is Greece on a lovely, sunny one. I  had long wanted to one of this Sasek series, and was delighted to see the Ireland one in our library, so got it out to have a look. I know these books are trendy at the moment, because of their vintagey illustrations and I'm all for that. But I did wonder if they were just going to be books I'd place in strategic positions in my kids bedroom, for when some interiors magazine decide to to a spread on my house. (I know, they usually pick clean houses. But let me dream.)

Anyhoo, the verdict is in. I like these books, and my kids do too. But they are definitely for the older picture book set. Seven and up, ideally. My youngest is four and he was bored within seconds, but the older boy did enjoy them. And they really are a charming snapshot of cities in the sixties. For obvious reasons, I loved This is Ireland. Theres humour...
 A Dublin flower girl.

And charm..
Sweet Irish girls.

And for me, some nostalgia. I used to get one of these buses home from school sometimes. The 6A.

And these boats were used on the island where we used to holiday. My brothers and I would sit on the sand and watch them take cargo from a trawler which couldn't reach the beach. So, before going up to the only shop on the island, we would know what chocolate would be on the shelves. We'd have to run if we wanted to get a Mars bar before they sold out.

And this is Bunratty castle, where I went to on quite a few school tours.

This is Greece mainly concentrates on Athens, so much that This is Athens might have been a better title. Its lovely too, and for anyone interested in Greek Mythology, a nice background text. 

There's plenty of charm here too..
At the street side the friendly, hard-working Greeks will - feed you.

the "omphalos." (Aren't the hats great?)

and Pelicans in shops. It happened, apparently.

Yes, I would recommend these books. They are beautiful for starters, and funny. And a real window into the past. This is Paris was the first one written - I'd say thats a pretty good place to start.


  1. I love these books, although they are definitely products of their time. We read them, then run to the internet to see if certain places or things are still there/in use.

  2. Yep. Sadly there are easier to read and more useful guides. My youngest LOVED A Walk in London, and it was so easy to follow. Still, these ones are very lovely.