Miroslav Sasek's picture book This Is London is just pure and simple, straightforward pleasure. The images are crisp, the colours are happy, the mischief and energy in the illustrations are infectious and enjoyable. For old and young alike, this book will be the one that gets brought out for inspiration again and again, drawing as it does on instantly recognisable London sights and rendering them curious and magnificent in a charming, stylised way.
The slightly archaic, old-fashioned view of London (all the men wear proper hats and carry responsible-looking briefcases) are due to the 1959 date of creation for the book. Now 40 years on, London still has all the colour and vibrancy Sasek captured - and it's part of the fun of this book is seeing what has stuck and what has changed. It's an ideal, inoffensive, non-trashy gift that is a keeper: re-issued in 2005, it's still in print and will no doubt continue to do so when most other children's books come with a cartoon tie-in. Follow the link to the Amazon page or keep an eye out for it in bookshops.