Monday, February 7, 2011

Book of the week: The Cable Car and the Dragon

The Cable Car and the Dragon- Herb Caen.
Big Bro and I brought this book out in honour of Chinese New Year; it's the tale of two exotic creatures who both wanted a taste of a a different life. Charlie, a San Francisco cable car, is on the top of Nob Hill late one Chinese New Year's night realises that after "running up and down San Francisco for sixty years, (he) has NEVER seen a Chinese New Year's Parade or a Chinese Dragon". So instead of turning left towards Russian Hill, for the first time in his life he turns right, and ventures off the tracks into Chinatown. There he meets the dragon Chu Chin Chow, who for sixty years has lived a reclusive life in the hills across the bay, emerging once a year to head the Chinese New Year Parade through Chinatown.

This is another of my childhood books, probably bought when we visited my aunt in San Francisco when I was three (or else sent from there later). It's quite a wordy book- the recommended age of 4-8 years seems quite appropriate- and goes into details of the history and mechanics of cable cars, which Big Bro enjoys. It couldn't be set anywhere else- it's very much a San Francisco tale, with mentions of Nob and Russian Hills and particular streets. If When we take the boys to San Francisco I'll be making sure we take the Cable Car over the same tracks, looking down over Chinatown. Who knows, we might even ride Charlie.

One of my favourite bits of the book, which I always make sure I read, is the dedication:
For my son Christopher, who, having had the taste and judgement to be born in San Francisco in 1965, knows quite a bit about cable cars and dragons. He also knows enough about his father to listen to the following tale with an air of polite disbelief.

Book of the Week was devised by Suburban Sonnet


Maxabella said...

I've never read it! I will try to find it at the library. Mind you, finding a specific children's book at the library is nigh impossible when you think about it! x

_vTg_ said...

Glad it's not just our library district that has erratic supply. I'm torn between the pot luck concept and paying $1 to reserve a book I actually want. Hope you find it!

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