Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Cable Car and the Dragon

The Cable Car and the Dragon

H. Caen
Illustrator:  B. N. Byfield 
Picture Book
For ages 4 to 6
Chronicle Books, 1986   ISBN: 978-0877013907

Charlie, the youngest cable car working in San Francisco, is thoroughly tired and fed up with his life. He has gone up and down the streets of the hilly city for sixty years now and on his last run of the night he decides to do something a little different. So the famous and much-beloved cable care leaves his tracks and goes down to China Town to watch the New Year’s celebrations. Poor Charlie has never seen the annual parade before and is delighted by what he sees. Better still he meets a most unusual character, a dragon called Chu Chin Chow who is also unhappy with his lot. Just like Charlie the dragon is sixty years old, and just like Charlie he longs to see and see something different.

So, Charlie and Chu share their lives with each other. Charlie takes part in the Chinese New Year’s parade and Chu goes for a ride on Charlie and gets to see other parts of the city.

These two peculiar but highly likeable characters are simply delightful. Being brave enough to try something new, they both seek out pastures new and have unheard of adventures together. Capturing the special qualities that make San Francisco unique, the author’s love for this city comes through very well and to great effect in this special picture book.