Fraley, Tobin. Carousel Animals: Artistry in Motion. 2002 Chronicle Books, San Francisco California. ISBN 081183347-x
By: Ian K. Seppala
Tobin Fraley, is a well accomplished author within the amusement industry. He has written multiple books on carousels and circuses. I have read multiple books from Mr. Fraley, and recommend all of them. I chose to review this book this week because it works nicely with National Children's book week. This book has an adult target audience, but heavily relies on wonderfully detailed photographs. Kids will love the photographs, while their parents will enjoy learning about some of the most famous carousel carvers.
Tobin Fraley's book is separated into eleven sections. The first section is a brief carousel history. Section two is on lesser known carvers. The next eight sections focus on individual carvers. The final section focuses on a completed carousel. He uses these sections to support his argument, which is laid out in the forward. According to Gary K. Wolf "Tobin believes the talented master craftsmen who sculpted these figures were fine artists, true masters of their art form". (Page 8) His argument is backed by the structure used in the book.
Fraley blends technical information with wonderfully displayed photographs. The information he provides for each carver is impressive but not overwhelming. This method allows for the master carver's artistry to speak for itself. Fraley is able to provide photographs from private collections, museums, and amusement parks. The photographs are also diverse in age, maker, style (of course) and type. Rare animals such as Herschell polar bears and E. Joy Morris sea monsters. I enjoyed the variety of photographs, and Fraley's expert commentary on them.
Overall, all of Fraley's book are worthy of a read. Carousel Animals: Artistry in Motion provides a great blend of quality information and high definition photographs. This book is a great option for those interested in the artistic value of carousels, or families with interested kids. This book can be used as a basis for dialogue with a child that has an interest in art, carousels, or both.
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