DAVID CARLE grew up in Orange County, California, received his bachelors degree at UC Davis in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology and a masters degree from CSU Sacramento in Recreation and Parks Administration. He was a ranger in California State Parks for 27 years; including the Mendocino Coast, Hearst Castle, the Auburn State Recreation Area (in the gold country of the Sierra foothills), and the State Indian Museum in Sacramento. From 1982 through 2000, at the Mono Lake Tufa State Reserve, he shared the unit ranger position with his wife, participating in the long effort to protect that Eastern Sierra inland sea from the effects of stream diversions to Los Angeles. He taught biology and natural history courses at Cerro Coso Community College, the Eastern Sierra College Center in Mammoth Lakes.
You can e-mail David Carle at firstname.lastname@example.org
SCROLL DOWN THROUGH 15 TITLES PUBLISHED BETWEEN 1992 AND 2018 for descriptions and reviews
Don't miss the two novels near the bottom of the page!
PUTTING CALIFORNIA ON THE MAP
VON SCHMIDT’S LINES
May 15, 2018 by Phalarope Press
214 pages, 45 photos/sketches and 13 maps
ISBN-13: 978-1987736434 ISBN-10: 1987736435
When Allexey Waldemar von Schmidt lived in California, from 1849 through 1906, the young state developed a reputation as a society of innovators and energetic problem-solvers. Von Schmidt was a surveyor and civil engineer, an involved citizen of San Francisco, a father and husband, and a pioneer whose triumphs and tragedies enlarged the California Dream. This biography is the first comprehensive telling of his life and of his leadership in the shaping of 19th century California.
“No undertaking seems too grand for his vigorous grasp. The stamp of success seems to be indelibly impressed upon all his undertakings …the result of fertility of resource and indomitable perseverance.” Daily Alta California, August 24, 1870
“My father always thought he was the first white man to look down from the top of the mountains into Yosemite Valley. I recall his telling us children: “I said, boys, we’ll stop here for grub, although it is only eleven o’clock, while I make a sketch of those beautiful falls.” Lily von Schmidt Tilden, 1906
August 7, 2018 in IndieReader Discovery Awards 2019 /by IR Staff: "An impressive amount of research fuels PUTTING CALIFORNIA ON THE MAP, a biography of little-known California pioneer Allexey Von Schmidt. This Russian-born engineer and inventor migrated west during the Gold Rush, creating his own brand of fortune – despite a tragic home life. Among his many achievements: Surveying and establishing Eastern California/Nevada boundaries and inventing a pump to enable the building of dry docks. Great insight for historians and state fans to understand the life and work of early West Coast settlers."
California State Library Book of the Week, September 5, 2018: “Did you go on a hike over Labor Day weekend? Then check out this book, Putting California on the Map! In this book, author David Carle uses letters, newspapers and other primary sources to map the life of the man who charted California’s meridian lines in the Eastern Sierra. Walking over mountains, hacking through brush and even sketching waterfalls, this pioneering surveyor literally took California’s measure and documented every step of the way. If you love maps, engineers, backpacking or successful professionals this is the book for you!”
Water and the California Dream, Historic Choices for Shaping the Future
Completely revised and updated for Counterpoint Press in a new edition in 2016. (The book was first published in 2000 by Praeger and in paperback by the Sierra Club in 2003). With extensive use of oral histories, contemporary newspaper articles and autobiographies, this is a rich exploration of the historic changes in California, as imported water shaped patterns of growth and development. In this thoroughly revised edition, Carle brings that history up to date, as water choices remain the primary tool for shaping California’s future. In a land where climate change is exacerbating the challenges of a naturally dry region, the state’s damaged environment and reduced quality of life can be corrected, Carle argues, if Californians step out of the historic pattern and embrace limited water supplies as a fact of life.
"Water has always been the defining element in California's history, driving its dreams of expansion. Carle tells that story well--but what his inventive and informative text also demonstrates is that if the state does not turn back on its own history, its infatuation with limitless growth and the water to supply it may create a world too ugly to contemplate." T.H. Watkins, Wallace Stegner Professor of Western American Studies, Montana State University
"For anyone genuinely concerned with the continuing loss of a finer California, David Carle offers a high moral and technological challenge, together with a desperate (and perhaps final!) hope." Dr. Kevin Starr, State Librarian of California
Traveling the 38th Parallel: A Water Line around the World
by David Carle and Janet Carle
April 2013 by University of California Press
Between extremes of climate farther north and south, the 38th North parallel line marks a temperate, middle latitude where human societies have thrived since the beginning of civilization. It divides North and South Korea, passes through Athens and San Francisco, and bisects Mono Lake in the eastern Sierra Nevada, where authors David and Janet Carle make their home. Former park rangers, the authors set out on an around-the-world journey in search of water-related environmental and cultural intersections along the 38th parallel. This book is a chronicle of their adventures as they meet people confronting challenges in water supply, pollution, wetlands loss, and habitat protection. At the heart of the narrative are the riveting stories of the passionate individuals—scientists, educators, and local activists—who are struggling to preserve some of the world's most amazing, yet threatened, landscapes.
Traveling largely outside of cities, away from well-beaten tourist tracks, the authors cross Japan, Korea, China, Turkmenistan, Turkey, Greece, Sicily, Spain, Portugal, the Azores Islands, and the United States—from Chesapeake Bay to San Francisco Bay. The stories they gather provide stark contrasts as well as reaffirming similarities across diverse cultures. Illustrated with photos from the authors’ travels, Traveling the 38th Parallel documents devastating environmental losses but also inspiring gains made through the efforts of dedicated individuals working against the odds to protect these fragile places.
David and Janet's travels are described, along with hundreds of color photographs, at the Parallel Universe 38N blog.
Introduction to WATER IN CALIFORNIA
Thoroughly revised and updated second edition published in 2015 by University of California Press in an enlarged format with 348 pages. New to this updated edition:
* Additional maps, figures, and photos in a larger format
* Expanded coverage of potential impacts to precipitation, snowpack, and water supply from climate change
* Updated information about the struggle for water management and potential solutions
* New content about sustainable groundwater use and regulation, desalination, water recycling, stormwater capture, and current proposals for water storage and diversion
*Additional table summarizing water sources for 360 California cities and towns
"The most striking aspect of the book may be its sheer readability. Whether he is explaining the most rudimentary principles of California’s water cycle or wading through the minutiae of the ambitious and controversial Bay-Delta Conservation Plan, author David Carle maintains a tone that is lively, upbeat, and inspiring." Suzanne Fauhl, National Water Research Institute in Journal of the American Water Resources Association, February 2017
"Water is the foundation upon which California's ecosystems and economic vitality rise. . . .This is a must read for anyone living in California, whether they are students, politicians, farmers, environmental activists, or corporate executives."--Arthur Guy Baggett, Jr., Chair, California State Water Resources Control Board
"This book engages readers at a personal level." --Donald Pisani, author of Water and American Government
Introduction to AIR IN CALIFORNIA
Published 2006 by University of California Press
"Before you take another breath, find out everything you need to know about what's in your air. David Carle has made California's most complicated environmental resource problem accessible and interesting." --Mary D. Nichols, Director, UCLA Institute of the Environment; former Chair Calif. Air Resources Board; former Asst. Admin. of Air and Radiation, U.S. EPA; former California Secretary for Resources.
Los Angeles Times, January 14, 2007: "Elegantly written, copiously researched and illustrated, this is a Baedeker of the atmosphere, a guide not just to the sky's corpus but also to its soul."
San Luis Obispo Tribune, Dec. 10, 2006: "A fascinating look at how weather patterns, geography and pollution impact the air we breathe. Don’t be thrown off by the title. This book tackles some weighty subjects. ...Carle’s guide to air and all its aspects — climate, pollution and flight — is ideal for budding weather watchers, nature lovers and environmentalists."
Mammoth Times, Dec. 7, 2006: "Carle's style is friendly and most importantly, digestible. . . . The guide gives some good food for thought."
East Bay Express, Nov. 22, 2006: "Shopping for someone about whom you know virtually nothing? In such blind-date cases you're no better off giving books than giving antlers or a syringe, but go for the universal. Everyone breathes, right? Try David Carle's Introduction to Air in California (University of California, $16.95)."
PUBLISHER'S DESCRIPTION: What is air? Why is the sky blue? Why do people react favorably to mountain or sea air? How does desert air differ from the air of California's Central Valley? How is air pollution affecting plants and animals?
This book is a unique guide to the air we breathe in California. More than a natural history guide, it approaches this fascinating topic by recognizing the overwhelming role played by humans in the story of California's air. In a highly engaging style, David Carle explains daily weather patterns, seasonal climate, characteristic winds, and sky phenomena. He explores air as the gases in our atmosphere, but also considers the aspects of air that influence all of our senses--its taste, smell, feel, and look. The guide discusses California's history of air quality management, air pollution and its effect on humans and the environment, and the technological and individual measures needed to address these challenges. The book also functions as a handbook for more environmentally conscious living by providing information on alternative energy sources for consumers and tips for cleaner running cars.
* Features 80 color photographs, 23 figures, 18 maps
* Covers regional differences of topography, weather, and the character of the air in California's fifteen designated air basins
* Includes a field guide to the sky, explaining color and light, clouds and wind, and the nature of flight
* Addresses issues surrounding global climate change in California
Introduction to Earth, Soil, and Land in California
August 2010 University of California Press
"David Carle has produced another gem of a book that should be in easy reach of every lover of California, along with its companion volumes on air, fire, and water. Introduction to Earth, Soil and Land in California is a portable encyclopedia—fun to read and filled with photos and facts about everything from earthworms to earthquakes to Earth Day."—Peter Moyle, author of Inland Fishes of California
Fresno Bee, November 2010: Somehow, he made earthworms and other stuff interesting From my growing stack of unread and often very technical books, I unexpectedly became consumed with [this] little paperback... It's a fascinating look at the land in California. Carle takes us from earthworms to mountain tops. He explains how this amazing ecosystem functions, and he does it in an understandable way. Best of all, there are lots of photographs. Carle has written guides on air, fire and water. His work goes on my recommended list. Mark Grossi
Mountain Democrat, November 2010: “You wouldn't believe what can be found in a teaspoon of dirt.” Michael Raffety,
From UC Press: “A fascinating exploration of one more primary element of the natural world—the land beneath our feet. From earthworms and earthquakes to Earth Day, this concise, engaging guide is a multifaceted primer on the literal foundation of California’s environment. Carle tells how soil ecosystems function, discusses what lives in the soil, and examines various soil types. He then turns to the relationship between humans and the land, and investigates the various uses and abuses that land in California endures: large scale agriculture, mining, and development, as well as fires, floods, and erosion. The guide also details the history of land use in the state, making it an essential resource for understanding our total reliance on soil, the marvelous substrate that is the basis of life.
--Covers the entire state, including California’s wildlands, farmland, cities, and landfills
--Assesses California’s ecological footprint on planet Earth
--Discusses many different life forms found in soil, including bacteria, fungi, insects, and mammals
--Features 92 color photographs and 18 maps
Introduction to FIRE IN CALIFORNIA
Published in 2008, by University of California Press. What is fire? How are wildfires ignited? How do California's weather and topography influence fire? How did the California Indians use fire? In the spirit of his highly acclaimed Introduction to Air in California and Introduction to Water in California, David Carle now turns to another fundamental element of the natural world, giving a fascinating and concise view of this complex topic. His clearly written, dramatically illustrated book will help Californians, including the millions who live near naturally flammable wildlands, better understand their own place in the state's landscape. Carle covers the basics of fire ecology; looks at the effects of fire on wildlife, soil, water, and air; discusses fire fighting organizations and land management agencies; explains current policies, and explores many other topics.
91 color illustrations and 15 maps
Tips on what to do before, during, and after fires
An overview of major wildfires in California's history
A discussion of the effect of climate change on fires in natural landscapes
"Carle does an excellent job of telling complex social, biological, and physical stories in a way that makes them not only accessible, but also interesting."–Neil G. Sugihara, coeditor of Fire in California's Ecosystems
"A welcome contribution to the California Natural History Guides series that integrates the natural and cultural history of fire in California in an engaging style."–James K. Agee, author of Steward's Fork and Fire Ecology of Pacific Northwest Forests
Natural Hazards Observer, November 2008: "A primer not only for Californians, but for anyone interested in wildland fire hazards. What's actually burning when something burns? How do the physics of fire work? How do forest, grass, and chaparral fires behave differently? Carle answers these questions and more thoroughly and entertainingly."
California State Park Rangers Association newsletter, The WAVE, November-December 2008: "Dave Carle's book comes just in time. It's compact, concise, and a great read. It is lavishly illustrated and comprehensive...must reading for Californians who live in what is known as the wildland-urban interface. The bibliography indicates the author's careful research, indeed mastery, of the subject." Robert Pavlik
BayNature, October-December 2008: "The thorough reader will be rewarded with an understanding of forest fire as a natural and necessary phenomenon that shapes California's ecosystems as dramatically as it does the lives of those in its path. Given the current focus on the destructive power of fire, you may find this is a timely perspective." Laura Hautala
Chico Enterprise-Record, July 24, 2008: FIRE IN CALIFORNIA, WHAT WE NEED TO KNOW: -- "The chapter on "Getting Ready: Life on the Edge" is worth the price of admission. It diagrams creating a defensible space around your home and what to do during a fire evacuation . . . . One way to thank the firefighters and volunteers is to become more informed about fire. This book will help."
East Bay Express, July 30, 2008: "THAT'S HOT: Like a scary souvenir of 2008, David Carle's Introduction to Fire in California, new from UC Press, explains how and why. A pyro would slaver over its pictures, including one of Richard Nixon — in neatly pressed slacks, necktie, and button-down shirt — hosing down his roof during the 1961 Bel Air fire."
Palo Alto Online, August 13, 2008: "ABOUT WILDFIRES ... It seems timely, with the sun obscured by smoke from statewide wildfires this summer, for the University of California Press to publish Introduction to Fire in California... a small, sturdy field guidebook, except that fire, not birds or trees, is the subject. Richly illustrated, it tells everything readers need to know about wildfires: how they spread and what their effects are."
My Visit to Mono Lake: a children's book
by Monica Jones with David Carle
Phalarope Press 32 pages, softcover, published 2011
26 color photographs, 1 map
ISBN-13: 978-1467953245; ISBN-10: 1467953245
Salty water, tufa towers, brine shrimp, and birds are some of the things 9-year old Monica Jones learned about from rangers at Mono Lake. Her book explains the basic natural environment of California's beautiful inland sea and nearby tourist sites.
Written for 4th grade level readers and up, this is a great souvenir for every visitor to Mono Lake.
Monica Jones' voice was chosen by David Carle for this introduction to Mono Lake for elementary school children and adults.
SALES BENEFIT THE MONO LAKE TUFA STATE NATURAL RESERVE THROUGH THE FRIENDS OF MONO LAKE RESERVE.
Burning Questions: America's Fight with Nature's Fire
Contents: Preface: America's Hundred Year's War on Wildfire; Part I: Questioning the Dogma of War; "Professional" versus "Indian Forestry;" Burning the Southern Woods; Harolds of Change; Only You; Harry the Torch; Part II: Who were Anti-War Activists of the 60s and 70s? Tall Timbers; Dog-hair Thickets in the National Parks; Burning California State Parks; National Fire Management; Part III: To Burn or Not to Burn, Is NOT the Question; Yellowstone, 1988; On the Edge; Escape!; Peaceful Coexistence; Bibliography; Index
"An important and timely work of wildland fire history. The voices in this book warn us about past mistakes that we must not repeat." Bruce Babbitt, Former Secretary of the Interior:
"Carle joins Ashley Schiff and Stephen Pyne as the preeminent fire historians of America. At a time when we are suffering the consequences of a century of fire suppression, Carle brings forth for the first time the story of the Western fire ecology pioneers, who began fighting for a more rationale fire policy in our Western fire environments. The careers of Harold Weaver and Harold Biswell, spun within the suffocating context of 20th century fire suppression, will be inspiring for new generations of fire managers and scientists." James Agee, Professor of Forest Ecology, University of Washington:
"Carle has done a great job of covering the story of the evolution of fire suppression to RX fire management over the past century. A lively narrative style picks up individual historical comments and conveys attitudes that portray the essential roles the Harolds and Komareks played in setting forth fires various functions in Southern and Western ecosystems. The patience and persistence of Biswell and Weaver, their students and colleagues, and researchers with the park service and forest service, are finally given fair recognition! And the stories of the 1910 fires, the 1988 Yellowstone fires, Oakland 1991, and the Cerro Grande fire of 2000 are all included!" Bruce M. Kilgore, formerly Associate Regional Director Science and Resources Management, Western Region, National Park Service:
"The nation is in its early stages of what could be called a 'paradigm shift' related to how both wildfire and controlled burning are addressed in natural resources management. This shift has been a long time coming and David Carle documents those changes through the stories of the pioneers in fire ecology and controlled burning and their disciples--and in a most entertaining fashion." Jack Ward Thomas,.Chief Emeritus, U.S. Forest Service, Boone and Crocket Professor of Wildlife Conservation, University of Montana.
Mono Lake Basin
by David Carle and Don Banta
Published 2008 by Arcadia Publishing in the "Images of America" series
Mono Lake dominates the volcanic landscape east of the Sierra Nevada between Yosemite National Park and Nevada. The lake’s unusual water chemistry produces algae and brine shrimp, feeding millions of birds and creating strange mineral formations called tufa, for which the lake is famed. From the early days of the Kuzedika Paiutes to the arrival of miners and settlers in the late 19th century, the lake has stood sentinel for the surrounding camps, mines, and towns. Around the lake, the town of Lee Vining has served travelers and residents since 1926, and Carson Camp has been a recreational destination for generations. Some of the world’s earliest hydroelectric plants were established here, and Los Angeles began diverting streams and channeling their waters beneath the Mono Craters to the city’s aqueduct in the 1940s. Impacts of those water diversions gradually became apparent, generating controversy around this otherwise placid landscape.
Authors Don Banta, a 75-year Lee Vining resident, and David Carle, a Mono Lake ranger for 19 years, present here a collection of vintage Mono Lake photography. Working with archival materials from local families and the Mono Lake Committee, Carle and Banta show the lake, its environs, and its history through stirring imagery, including the lengthy court battle over the lake and its tributary creeks.
CONTENTS: Introduction; 1. Forming the Watershed; 2. The Natural History of Mono Lake; 3. The Kuzedikas; 4. The Search for Gold; 5. Early Farms and Ranches; 6. Mono Lake Resorts and the Town of Lee Vining; 7. The June Lake Loop; 8. Winter Challenges and Recreation; 9. A Source for Water and Power; 10. Saving Mono Lake; Bibliography; Index.
Mono Lake Viewpoint
Artemisia Press, Lee Vining, CA. 1992. 128 pages
illustrated by Carl Dennis Buell
A collection of entertaining and factual essays on Mono Lake. Tufa State Reserve ranger Carle writes fondly of birds, brine shrimp, hay fever and freezing fog. The illustrator, Carl Buell, captures the mood of the landscape and animals. A sensitive and accurate description of the natural history and moods of Mono Lake. This is a collection of essays on Mono Lake compiled from a regular column in the Mammoth Times . Ranger Carle knows his subject well enough to write entertainingly and fondly of birds, brine shrimp, tufa, tourists, hay fever and freezing fog. His humor is matched by his knowledge of the natural world and his skill with words.
CONTENTS: Beginnings: Beginnings; Mono Lake Gourmet; A Star is Born; Tufa Thoughts; Spring: Is It Spring Yet?; Flies of Fancy; The Once and Future Shrimp; The Annual Invasion of Mono Lake; The Natural History of the Easter Bunny; What's Biting You? Summer: The Longest Day; A Love Story; The Phalarope; Take a Tour; Tsk Tsk Tamarisk; A Summer Gathering and a Woman Scorned; Autumn: Falling!; The Mystery of the Red-eyed Bird; Noses, Roses and Roots; Drought Dreams; Winter: Happy Quiet; Pogonip; Ouzel Omens; Some Winter Voices; In Search of Happily Ever After: Drain It and Pave It; Money Talk$; In Search of Happily Ever After; Ten Years Later
Author's note: I've been told that we should have put the retail price much higher on this book; that people will not value it adequately otherwise. But the publisher and I aimed to keep the price down; books cost too much these days! The wonderful line drawing illustrations and cover illustration by Carl Dennis Buell make this book worth the price, alone.
"A witty, easy-to-read tribute to the little mysteries that make the Mono Basin unique. Above all Carle maintains an imaginative approach to his material. Carle has ingenuously turned this book of facts and expertise into delightful tales of the Mono Basin, to be shared by everyone." Denise LaVerde for the newsletter of the Mono Lake Committee.
BODIE'S BOSS LAWMAN
The Frontier Odyssey of Constable John F. Kirgan
by Bill Merrell with David Carle; Foreward by Stanley W. Paher
75 illustrations, including 15 color photographs
Published by Nevada Publications, 2003.
After serving with the 1st Illinois Regiment in the Mexican War, John Franklin Kirgan made his way westward, where his saga intersected with that of the new state of California's constitutional convention in 1850. Years later, the Comstock excitement brought Kirgan to Carson City and a stint as a prison guard at the Nevada State Prison. Finally, fate delivered him to Bodie in 1877, where he worked as constable, jailer, and deputy sheriff during the mining town's boom years. Serving as the "boss lawman" of Bodie was the culmination of Kirgan's life--an odyssey that placed him in contact with the emerging history of the American West. Merrell unearthed the story of a Western lawman who was responsible for law enforcement in a violent town far better known for its "Badmen of Bodie." Carle finished the final chapters of the book and prepared it for publication after Merrell passed away with his text unfinished.
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The Spotting Scope: a mystery novel
Phalarope Press 210 pages, softcover, published 2012 Also a Kindle ebook.
ISBN-10: 1475200544 ISBN-13: 978-1475200546
“I thought I was in the forever business. National and state parks are supposed to preserve special places for all time. A certain job security had always gone along with that idea if you were a park ranger. But I've learned to never say forever.” Jack Morgan had been a park ranger at Saline Lake until the National Monument was shut down by a Congress determined to push back against environmentalism. Leading a search for a 17-year old boy hiking alone in the Sierra Nevada mountains, Jack uncovers connections with a dead man on the shore of Saline Lake, bludgeoned with a birdwatcher's spotting scope. Tensions build in the local community as Jack's knowledge of the landscape reveals a murderous plot that may end his own life, fueled by the inflammatory rhetoric of "People First!" radicals.
From the Inside Flap
"The Spotting Scope is an apt title for a novel focusing with vivid clarity on sharply escalating tensions following a murder. Ex-park ranger David Carle draws on deep knowledge of the terrain and the people who live in it to create a plot where spiraling suspense feels as natural as the surrounding wilderness. I was taken by how clean and clear the writing was, easing from good-natured wit into the darkness of murder and anger unleashed as warring parties hunt a killer. ""
Kirk Russell, author of Redback and the John Marquez series
"The Spotting Scope is...great! It's a murder mystery ...set near a lake much like Mono, and it draws on his experience as a ranger and an environmentalist in the Eastern Sierra. Even if you don't read murder mysteries ( I don't) you will like this one." Debbie Boucher, Goodreads.
MONO, a novel
226 pages, softcover, first published November 2010
ISBN/EAN13: 1475069812 / 9781475069815 , Library of Congress Control Number: 2010915725
Between 1934 and 1941, the City of Los Angeles sent 2,000 men to work on aqueducts and an 11-mile tunnel beneath volcanic craters in the Mono Lake Basin of the Eastern Sierra. MONO tells the story of biologist Justin Hearth, as he surveys the waters of the Mono Lake watershed, falls in love with that landscape, and also with Alisa Stohler. Her family was forced from a farm in the Owens Valley in 1930 and is now caught up in changes brought by the distant city's unending thirst for growth. This historical fiction explores the minds and hearts of a generation shaped by the Great Depression and facing the threat of world war. MONO confronts the question, “What were they thinking back then, as choices were made that endangered Mono Lake and its tributary streams?”
Mammoth Times, December 2010: "'Full as an egg,' describes the satisfaction after reading..."Mono." [That Cornish miners'] expression...typifies the way Carle built believability...with period specific language, historical facts and setting." --Leslie Willoughby
Midwest Book Review, June 2011: "Mono" is a novel with an environmental slant as author David Carle tells a story of biologist Justin Hearth, as he finds love and the environment is under conflict by the aqueducts that are being built in Depression era Los Angeles. Creating...a romance while investigating the value of the environment during the rough times of the depression, "Mono" is an interesting and recommended read.
Toiyabe Trails, Summer 2011: “Carle introduces us to people whom most of us have met before. They are the ones who persevere inthe face of overwhelming odds. Those who do what they have to do despite the powerful forces which are arrayed opposing them and end up achieving things even they never expected. Pick up Carle’s book and you’ll enjoy getting to know them again.— Dennis Ghiglieri