I recently came across a post by the cerebral Maria Popova at Brain Pickings. The title? Stone is Not Cold: Miroslav Sasek’s Playful Vintage Illustrations of Classical Sculpture.
What’s so intriguing about the book is that the author takes classic sculpture and turns it into silly illustrations for children.
If the cover doesn’t make you chuckle, some of the illustrations inside should.
This example is the famed Medusa with snakes for hair, at the hairdresser.
Ok, not your average children’s illustrations, but that’s why adults love these too.
Why am I so intrigued by this book?
I have a special place in my heart for Czech literature and Miroslav Sasek is a mid century illustrator. Many years ago I spent some time in the Czech Republic and found their culture to be artistically rich and full of humor.
I’ve read several books by the Czechs:
The Good Soldier Svejk by Jaroslav Hasek
Which is not a children’s book and contains language that is offensive but is indicative of the era and is suitable historically. It is darkly funny. Sveijk is a soldier in the war. And he’s a boob; yet somehow manages to get himself into and out of the silliest situations.
I’ve also enjoyed other Czech authors such as Josef Skvorecky, Franz Kafka, and Milan Kundera.
I suspect the Czech’s had to keep their sense of humor as they were under Russian rule for such a long time. But that my dears, is another post.
Not sure if you’re familiar with the Czech Republic? I’ll bet you’ve heard of the famous and beautiful clock in Prague?
While I did try to learn the Czech language, I read these particular books in English.
What’s your great read from around the world?