Stone is not cold

Typical illustration

Stone Is Not Cold is a funny little book which combines photos of statues with Sasek drawings to make comic scenes. It's quite hard to describe without making it sound very corny, but is very charming in its own way.

The statues themselves are from museums in Rome, London, and the Vatican City - obviously spotted on Sasek's travels for This is Rome and This is London.

Everything in the book is in black and white so it seems quite drab after the This Is books, but after a few reads its charm wins through. The humour is very much of its time so as long as you keep that in mind, it's a real winner.

Stone is not Cold is also remarkable for having the most extensive biographical notes of any of his books. They don't give much away but it is still more than the other titles!

M (for Miroslav) SASEK grew up in Prague, where in the days before World War II, he was employed by a large publishing house. He wanted to be a painter, but this idea didn't appeal to his parents, and he studied architecture instead.

Most people in this country first became acquainted with Mr. Sasek through his remarkable series of travel books, "This Is Paris", "This Is London", "This Is Rome", and "This is New York" - a series which was intended for children but which beguiled their parents, too.

Although Mr. Sasek now thinks of Paris as his home, he doesn't spend much time there. Most of the time he is travelling about the world doing sketches for his books and for the paintings he regards as his major work. These paintings, he says, are 'very gray and black - very sad, as life is.'

The drawings in Stone is not cold are very gray and black, too - but no one would ever call them sad.

Stone is Not Cold sleeve notes.