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California Raisins, Pretty Pictures but not much else.
on August 13, 1998
If all you want is pretty pictures than this book is for you. If you want accurate information then wait until someone writes a book on the California Raisins that contains verified facts. The writer substitutes glorious phrases such as "It's raisinable to say that this book might never have been written if it weren't for some grape friends..." for the hard facts that would guide you through the California Raisins. Pamela Curran gives her version of events in the history of the `raisins' which more often than not shows the lack of research or simply a good imagination on her part. In some cases there is `whole cloth plagiarism' when she rephrases material from the California Raisins Grapevine Gazette and doesn't credit the source.
Her dates are the source of confusion among readers who would believe that such a slick production would have been proofread by knowledgeable collectors to insure accuracy. The blue surfboard figurine is given a date of 1988 when the earliest figurine with the loose surfboard actually has a date of 1987. The author doesn't even give such basic information as the reason for the horizontal or loose surfboard. If one examines the 1987 surfboard figurine carefully it would be noticed the surfboard itself is molded in blue plastic and the arm and glove are painted. The reverse is true when the 1988 surfboard is molded to the foot. In this case the surfboard is painted. Looking for the reason for this brings one to the conclusion that the blue plastic surfboard is glued to the purple vinyl figurine which necessitates painting the arm and glove. The 1988 painted surfboard is molded of the same color vinyl as the figurine which is the reason for the surfboard being painted. Such basic information is available but this author never sought out those who knew the facts. This book was written by someone who was more interested in getting the first book out than the best book out.
Another place where facts weren't considered necessary is where the author dismisses the pedestal Graduates with "The Graduates are the original four raisins with a mortarboard added, ..." In reality the pedestal Graduates are totally different figurines. They have pegs molded into the bottom of their feet which are glued into the yellow bases and the mortarboards are likewise glued to the heads of both types of Graduates by the same means. Again accuracy was lost in the hurry to get the first book into print. There are many errors in the text, far too many to be listed in a short review, but those errors are a clue to where the author got her information.
Overall the lack of much verified history leaves the newcomer short of any real knowledge of how the basics of their hobby came into being. Even the brief mention of the end of the California Raisins contains no more than what was taken from The Fresno Bee, the local newspaper. No mention is made that Applause, the Licensing Agent for CALRAB, wasn't the agent after 1991. The petition by the raisin packers that brought about the end of CALRAB (CALifornia Raisin Advisory Board) was three years later in 1994 which is a correct date. The petition was more for distribution of the assets than any other reason although the main complaint was the raisins didn't promote any one brand of raisins but raisins in general. This was serious to California Raisin Growers since raisins are produced in places other than California. However there is much history that was passed over that could have been told in a book of this size and made it a more complete book for a newcomer. Again if all you want is a book of pretty pictures then this is your book. My advice would be to ignore the small amount of text which isn't necessary, nor in some cases accurate, and would have better been devoted to more pictures.