Smith fashions this unusual guide with an eye for adventure: he urges readers to undertake the “quests” he’s constructed throughout the book, including special tiles to spot on each of his customized area tours, and scatters interactive elements across the pages, QR codes for extra photographs, and more. The curious will find plenty to learn—Smith delves into the materials that went into making the island’s tiles, shares interesting construction details (the island’s casino “to this day is the largest circular ballroom in the world”), and even describes his culinary encounters—including a recap of local “secret creation” lobster mac ‘n’ cheese heaped with “a full cup and a half of lobster.”
History buffs will be intrigued by Smith’s attention to detail—local legend insists the island’s original owner, William Wrigley, Jr., and contractor D.M. Renton discovered the clay for the tiles after getting their vehicle stuck in the mud, leading to the quarry of clay deposits on the island to manufacture the Spanish Revival-style tiles that have graced Catalina’s public spaces since the 1920s. Smith’s fervor for the island is contagious and will leave readers eager to discover its beauty for themselves.
Takeaway: Interactive and entertaining guide to Catalina Island’s vintage tiles.
Comparable Titles: Dan Austin’s Your Complete Guide to the Pottery of Catalina Island, Joe Belanger’s Catalina Island: All You Need to Know.
Design and typography: A-
Marketing copy: A-