“The Pickle-Chiffon Pie Olympics,” Roger Bradfield (Purple House Press, $18.95)
In a hand-written note sent with his latest publication, Roger Bradfield wrote, “Who ever heard of a sequel almost a half century after the original book?”
It does seem odd, especially since Bradfield, 86, of Arroyo Grande, retired in 1988. But after reissues of his old books became popular, Purple House Press – which reprinted those books --goaded him out of retirement to write “The Pickle-Chiffon Olympics,” a sequel to his 1967 book “Pickle-Chiffon Pie.”
The one-time syndicated cartoonist – Bradfield drew “Dooley’s World” in the late 1970s -- has written several children’s books in the past, including “There’s an Elephant in the Bathtub” and “Giants Come in Different Size.” But after a long layoff, he confessed to The Tribune in 2009, he had to relearn some of his old skills.
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Apparently, it didn’t take long. The new book continues his tradition of fun watercolors paired with a silly, but comically endearing story.
Here, a Princess named Sierra returns to her family’s castle after graduating from Princess College. She wants to marry her sweetheart, Prince Charminger, but Dad – the king – doesn’t find the prince so charming. So he arranges for a competition among would-be suitors, the prize being his daughter’s hand in marriage.
Of course, the games are a little unusual. In the horse shoe throwing contest, competitors must throw the shoes while the horse is wearing them. The dragon fight ends up being a little too heated. And anyone wearing armor is at a disadvantage in the moat swim.The prospective grooms are as whimsical as the games themselves, with names like Ivan the Tolerable, Sir Jack the Rapper and Richard the Lyingheart.
It’s a tale of true love, family and, of course, pickle-chiffon pie – whatever that is.
“Real,” Shelley Malcolm and Terilee Dawn Ouimette (AuthorHouse, $39.50)
Hands tell a lot about a person, writes Malcolm, owner of La Perla Del Mar, a popular wedding and event venue in Shell Beach. And, despite their flaws – be they from old age, hard work or injury – they’re beautiful to look at. This paperback coffee table-style book pairs photos of hands, taken by Ouimette, with stories about the owners of those hands.
While lack of surnames or face photos renders most of these subjects a mystery (except for ex-Major Leaguer Robin Ventura – his identity is made obvious), the stories are distinct. There’s Ceo, who has lived in a car for three years and dreams of a better life; Caesar, who was orphaned during the Sudanese Civil War; and Richard, who, as an 11-year-old child, had to run six miles to get help for his father, who suffered a fatal heart attack in the Sierras. The photos – in black and white and color -- match the hands with the personalities.
“Morro Bay,” Roger Castle and Gary Ream (Arcadia Publishing, $21.99)
The two former Morro Bay Historical Society presidents recently updated their 2006 “Morro Bay” book by pairing its historical photos with modern images of the same scenes. As a result, the new edition is now sold under Arcadia Publishing’s “Then & Now” series, offering readers a better understanding of how the city by the bay has changed.
Some differences are subtle – hardly much has changed of the shoreline near the Museum of Natural History. But in other places, the changes are dramatic, as proven by photos of a Morro Bay before and after the power plant stacks were added.
“Anything Short of Murder,” Tony Piazza (Dog Ear Publishing, $14.99)
Piazza, a biologist from Santa Maria, is also a former movie extra and stand-in with an appreciation for film. In this L.A. noir novel, Tom Logan is a private eye during the golden age of Hollywood, when the “talkies” first appeared and Dashiell Hammett’s Sam Spade was the model for all fictional detectives to follow. When a woman contacts Logan over a threatening note, it sparks a tangled web of deceit, mobs and murder.