This charming picture book with its bright orange pages and striking, simple graphics tells the story of a little boy who lives in a tiny French village but dreams of going to Paris. With a delightful text written by Leonore Klein, it was originally published in 1962, the only children’s book illustrated by the talented graphic designer Saul Bass.
In the story, Henri lives in a snug little house with loving parents, but his dreams of Paris prompt him to pack a lunch one day and set off to walk to the city. Along the way he falls asleep under a tree and, when he wakes up, experiences a “no place like home” epiphany with the help of a little bird.
The endearing story is beautifully illustrated with Bass’s stylish graphics. Well known in the design world for his creation of familiar corporate logos, including those for United Airlines and AT&T, Bass also did graphic design for films and revolutionized the art of title sequences. For such films as Otto Preminger’s The Man With the Golden Arm, he created memorable title sequences that not only set the mood for a film but in some cases started telling the story even before the film itself began. During his sixty-year career he worked with such directors as Alfred Hitchcock (Vertigo and North by Northwest), Stanley Kubrick and Martin Scorsese.
Author Leonor Klein, who was a librarian in New York, wrote many delightful children’s books, including Mud, Mud, Mud, Brave Daniel and Only One Ant.
Henri’s Walk to Paris, which is being reissued this month by Universe, a division of Rizzoli, is sure to appeal to both young children and the adults who read it to them.
Henri’s Walk to Paris Illustrations and design by Saul Bass, text by Leonore Klein. Universe Publishing, February 2012. Hardcover / 48 pages.