A note about The Cuddlywumps Chronicles

This blog is written and maintained by Miss Cuddlywumps, a fluffy-tailed calico cat who is both classically educated and familiar with mysteries. She receives creative input from the Real Cats and clerical assistance from She of Little Talent (old SoLT, a.k.a. Roby Sweet). Comments or complaints should be addressed to Miss C rather than to old SoLt (Ms. Sweet). Ms. Sweet accepts no responsibility for Miss C's opinions.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Book Review: Circles of Delight: Classic Carousels of San Francisco

Two domestic cat carousel carvings with fish in their mouths. San Francisco Zoo Carousel.
Domestic cats with fish in their
mouths, San Francisco Zoo Carousel.
By Daderot (Own work) [Public domain or CC0],
via WikimediaCommons.

We received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. We wouldn’t tell you it was good unless we really liked it!

Please note that the photos in this review do not come from Circles of Delight. They are representative photos of the carousel at the San Francisco Zoo.

Remember carousels? Handing over your ticket and stepping onto the platform to search out that one perfect horse. The music, the round-and-round, the one kid who always got sick from the round-and-round… At least that’s how old SoLT’s memories run.

Some carousels have cats

You may be wondering why we’re talking about carousels on a cat blog. Well, it’s because some carousels (only the best ones, we think) include carved lions and tigers and even domestic cats right alongside the usual prancing horses, and you can see some of these cats in the book Circles of Delight: Classic Carousels of San Francisco, by Aaron Shepard.
Standing lion on the San Francisco Zoo Carousel.
By Daderot (Own work) [Public domain or CC0],

This book is heavy on photos and short on text, but it does provide the basic history of the carousels at the San Francisco Zoo, Yerba Buena Gardens, and Golden Gate Park. You can also pick up a little carousel lingo just by reading the photo captions: jumper, listener, stander. And for the cat fans out there, the carousels’ felines are a delight.

The San Francisco Zoo Carousel features tigers, lion, and jumping cats. The Yerba Buena Gardens Carousel doesn’t seem to have any felines, but it does have jumping giraffes and camels, which is certainly something to see. The Golden Gate Park Carousel is our favorite because the colors are just…wow! It has a standing lion, standing tiger, and jumping cat.

Our verdict

Standing tiger on the San Francisco Zoo Carousel.
By Daderot (Own work) [Public domain or CC0],
We enjoyed looking through this book, and we were surprised at how many felines there actually are on the carousels of San Francisco. We might as well admit that we enjoyed the photos of other animals too; old SoLT got especially excited over those jumping giraffes. (You should have heard her exclaim, "Holy jumping giraffes!" It was embarrassing.)

You won’t learn a lot about the history or art of carousel animals from Circles of Delight, but you will get to see some pretty stunning examples of carved animals that will make you yearn to jump up on that platform and run to your favorite before someone else gets it.

 A note on the "Paws Up" system: Miss C gives either one or two paws up. One paw is for a good read; two paws is for a great read. She never gives three or four paws because that would require her to lie on her back...and Miss C does not do that!

For more on carousel cats, see Cats onCarousels.

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