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Henri’s Walk To Paris

Imagine yourself at a bookstore trying to pick a book for a child… You are not there to pick anything in particular… So, among all books you see, which one do you grab? You would pick one with the most visually pleasing cover illustration, right?

This is Henri’s Walk to Paris (Illustrations © 1962, 2012 by Saul Bass and text by Leonore Klein, Universe Publishing, 2012). When I first saw the cover of this book and read the synopsis, I thought “if I had a little kid, I’d definitely grab this book.” I was bit surprised, but extremely delighted when Pam at Rizzoli New York contacted me about reviewing this charming book a few weeks later.

Henri’s Walk to Paris is the story of a young boy from a small town called Reboul in France. Nothing much is going on where he lives: there is only one bus; one park with only five trees and one squirrel; there are very few people. Henri dreams of Paris where there are thousands of buses, many parks and many zoos full of animals. One day, Henry packs lunch and sets off to see the big city for himself…

This charming story by Leonore Klein is accompanied by Saul Bass (1920-1996)’s signature bold and colorful illustration. Saul Bass was one of the greatest American graphic designers of the 20th century. He designed many iconic logos for companies including AT&T, United Airlines, Quaker Oats, Minolta, etc. He was also known for designing motion picture title sequences such as Otto Preminger’s The Man with the Golden Arm, and Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest and Vertigo. Henri’s Walk to Paris was originally published in 1962 and was Saul Bass’s only children’s book.

Henri’s Walk to Paris is the most delightful, charming children’s book I have read in a long time. It is a perfect bedtime story book for the design conscious, mid-century modern loving parents and their mod kids. If you are like me and don’t have any small children to share with, you will still enjoy it. The illustrations are simply amazing.

This book is not only visually pleasing, but also enlightening – at least for me. I always dream of moving to somewhere – “the grass is always greener on the other side” sort of thing. After reading this book, I looked around and started to appreciate everything around me… There is no place like home!

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