I’m going to start by saying that I kind of want to rip out each page of Henri’s Walk to Paris and frame them all on my wall. The illustrations are by noted graphic designer Saul Bass, who created title sequences and posters for movies like North by Northwest, Vertigo, and West Side Story. This was his one and only children’s book, published in 1962, and the illustrations are so rich and hip I almost can’t stand it. His modern visual style translates perfectly into this distinctive book.
This is a simple story of a young boy named Henri who lives in a tiny town in France called Reboul. He dreams of going to Paris, believing it to be so much bigger and intrinsically better than his village. He finally decides to walk there, but when he stops to take a rest, he gets turned around and unknowingly heads back to Reboul, only to be surprised that “Paris” is so much like his hometown.
I was pleasantly surprised that my five year old son was so into this book, I was afraid it would be one of those super stylish books that I adore that he would skip past on the shelf. Not so, he loves the pictures and the story, is happy for Henri when he ventures out, and worries for him when he accidentally turns back.
Are there any books whose illustrations you’d love to frame?