Commonplace Mouse written and illustrated by Karima Cammell (Dromedery Press, 2009, 30 pp., $15)
Berkeley-based writer and illustrator Karima Cammel, founder of Fourth Street’s Castles in the Air, paints charming watercolors to accompany her tale about a little mouse’s daylong adventures. The picture book is full of commonplaces, or trite sayings, that sum up the situations the resilient mouse hero must persevere throughout his day. The book was recently awarded a sliver medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards for children’s picture books for readers 7 and younger.
World’s Greatest Sleuth, A Holmes on the Range Mystery by Steven Hockensmith (Minotaur Books, 2011, 324 pp., $24.99)
Alamedan Steve Hockensmith takes the brothers Amlingmeyer to Chicago using the World’s Fair as the backdrop in this Western-meets-Sherlock Holmesian mystery. Otto’s stories about his brother Gustav’s detective-solving prowess attract the attention of a publisher who pits Gustav against other famous detectives vying for the title of World’s Greatest Sleuth. When the contest organizer is murdered, the sleuthing for the prodding cowpokes begins in earnest.
Word on the Street, photographs by Richard Nagler with a foreword by Peter Selz (Heyday, 2010, 99 pp, $45)
One person, one word. That’s what’s on every page in Richard Nagler’s arresting images of life on the street. He calls them visual puns and visual poems and describes each as “a page in my visual diary.” Nagler, who has an uncanny ability to be in the right place at the right time, conveys humor, whimsy, irony, hope, hopelessness and more in his 70 images that come from cities as disparate as Berkeley, Daly City and Oakland or Paris, London and Tel Aviv in eras as unalike yet slightly reminiscent as the years from 1977 to 2010. It’s truly fine art photography.