This is Rome
M. Sasek planned to end the This is series here before he realised how successful (and how much fun to do) they would be. He went on to complete 18 titles in the series.
What the critics said about This is Rome
This is Rome, for examples is as informative as an Italian travel book and as gay as a Roman holiday. Sasek does a superb job of presenting the Eternal City as it might appear to a young tourist - as a kaleidoscopic array of strange and fascinating sights with its gaily garbed theological students, whizzing Vespas, imposing relics of antiquity, all of the things which make Rome like no other city in the world.May Hill Argbuthnnot in Children and Books, 3rd ed., Scott, Foresman & Company, 1964, p.577
The young traveler, armchair or active, could have no better guide than M. Sasek... In This Is Rome...he continues to delight and instruct with his wonderful, lively, work-and-picture views of the Eternal City. Forums and fountains, catacombs and carabinieri, statues and students, trams and temples -- Mr. Sasek has recorded them all in a volume that is only second best to being there.George A. Woods, The world through multi-colored magnifying glasses, in The New York Times Book Review, Part II, May 8, 1960, pp.30-1.
The third of M. Sasek's picture-books about capital cities...is a little more formal than the others -- there is the smallest breath of the guide book about it -- but it has the sharp, simple sophisitication which is this distinguished artist's characteristic manner. In spite of mannerisms, his is a refreshing, gay approach, and he gives children a picture of a great living city, a great museum certainly but also a home for ordinary people....He has a feeling too for the absurdities as well as the splendours of the city.
Mr. Sasek's method is to show Rome as the visitor sees her, not tidily in an itinerary which takes the famous sites and buildings in their proper sequence but in a happy muddle of statues, museums, restaurants, churches, motor-cars, ruins. The drawing is most beautiful -- and beautifully reproduced --with a particularly sensitive feeling for building; it is, however, essentially artful art. The book may seem to appeal to very small children, but it is designed for the sophisticated reader who will enjoy the incongruous contrasts and who will not be puzzled by the abrupt -- and unexplained -- turns of the text. The book is full of unanswered questions. Why does the Villa Medici belong to France? What are "Carabinieri", police or military? What was [English poet John] Keats doing in Rome? Older boys and girls will know the answers, or where to find them; younger children attracted to the book by its gay colour and many pictures will be merely baffled.
Sophisticated readers will enjoy not only the brilliant draughtsmanship and the warm comedy but also the fine economy with which Mr. Sasek uses words. He employs no tricks but colours the plainest statement with his own wry humour.
Roman Candles, in The Times Literary Supplement, No. 3038, May 20, 1960, p. xxi.