Thursday, April 12, 2012

Book review: Desert Parade by William H. Carr

I saw Josh at a local bagel shop last weekend and he told me he was in the garden a while back, and a guy was sitting on the bench enjoying the scene. He told Josh he was going home (to wherever that might be) and wanted to give a book to the person who made the garden.

I don't know who our mystery garden-enjoyer was, but the book is excellent. It is Desert Parade: A Guide to Southwestern Desert Plants and Wildlife by William H. Carr, with photos by Marvin H. Frost. It was published in November 1947. The copy I have here is hardback, with a rust-colored cover that sports a yellow saguaro cactus on the front.

Now while you can buy a used copy on Amazon, this is obviously not a review of a new book but more of a fun look at a Pennsylvania Garden socio-historical artifact, if you like ;)

Meant as an overview of the flora ad fauna of deserts from Texas to California, it doesn't delve deep in its' 96 pages, but rather gives the highlights of what you're likely to see if you take a trip to any of these places.

Some of the photos and captions are pretty funny. The frontispiece shows a stout, short cactus in an Arizona desert, with a leather handbag for scale - a bit random. A picture of two Harris Ground Squirrels reared up on their hind legs comes with the caption "Fisticuffs in Squirreldom." The Tarantula is described as "Hairy but gentle." Yeah right!

Aside from that the black and white photos are good, but there are no Latin names for any of the animals -  perhaps not necessary to the casual observer. At least there are Latin names for the plants, so I'm satisfied with that.

All in all a lovely little gift we will enjoy!

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