Miroslav Šašek’s series of books from the sixties on various travel destinations (all starting with the title “This is…”) is a bit dated in certain respects, but still rather timeless. His stylized architectural drawings of London include the main sights, and even though Covent Garden is not longer a fruit and veg market and you won’t likely see men wearing bowler hats in the City, much of London remains just as he portrayed it decades ago. Great introduction for little ones to a great city.
The original Madeline picture book makes a great child’s travel guide to the key monuments of Paris. Why not try Madeline in London? I never thought it did the city justice, and the illustrations seemed to be a little slap-dash to me, but children who know Madeline already will certainly want to follow her to London as well, and what better time than the summer of the London Olympics?
Katie in London by James Mayhew
Englishman James Mayhew’s storybook version of London may be more appealing. Katie has an adventure when one of the Trafalgar Square lions comes to life and shuttles her around to the sights of London.
This book looks like a record of Babar’s participation in the Olympics. The collection of poems is accompanied by illustrations of whimsical elephantine athletes in various competitive poses. There’s a section for both winter and summer games, and here’s just a sampling of the clever verse:
When Trixie’s on the balance beam,
Her feet spread out with care,
She makes four tons of elephant
Seem lighter than the air…
Okay, so what else could it be in Nice Icy Land, but the winter games? It’s the Olympics nonetheless, and through this picture book children will understand the regimen of training and competition, the lighting of the Olympic cauldron, and the medals. Find out how Tacky gains a medal under most unusual circumstances.