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A Colorful Torrance? That's One for the Books

October 01, 1987|JULIO MORAN | Times Staff Writer

Torrance, whose official slogan is "A City in Balance," is not the kind of place you go to for excitement. But thanks to a mother-and-daughter team from Rancho Palos Verdes, residents and visitors will finally be able to paint the town red.

Or blue, or fuchsia, or any other color that strikes their fancy.

Dorothy (Pat) Brewster and her 21-year-old daughter, Karen, have produced a coloring book featuring Torrance landmarks. "Discovering Torrance: A Guide and Coloring Book," goes on sale for $4.50 this week.

Granted, not all the pictures in the 52-page book are exciting--City Hall, the Daily Breeze building, the Torrance Bridge, the American Honda Motor Co. building, the city seal--but, as the book's preface says: "Torrance today is a 'A City in Balance.' It is a good place to live and a good place to work." Who said it has to be exciting?

"This is more of a historical book," admits Dorothy Brewster, a math teacher at Leuzinger High School in Lawndale who wrote the text for the book. "People who just want to read about Torrance will enjoy it."

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These enticements are offered on the book's cover:

"Learn why Hollywood Riviera was so named, why the Daily Breeze was chosen by the New York Times to print its West Coast edition, where Madrona Marsh is and why it is important. Learn about Torrance's Sister City, the Torrance Fire Department long ago, and why the Torrance Bridge is a symbol of the city. Have fun reading and coloring this informative and enjoyable book!"

It apparently is informative enough that the Torrance Unified School District is considering purchasing a bulk order of the book as an instructional aid for elementary school children.

The book is also good publicity for city, but the Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce has not decided whether it will purchase any for promotions.

The Torrance City Council last month debated whether to allow the city seal--which depicts a seated woman holding a hammer flanked by two factories--to be included in the book. But it concluded unanimously that the publicity the city would get from the book outweighed any concern about commercialization of the emblem.

"There is next to nothing that is (about) Torrance," Councilman Bill Applegate argued at the time. "But you can go down and get a post card, and so forth, that says Redondo Beach. I think it would be outstanding to have the seal included in the book."

The Torrance book is the third community coloring book produced by the Brewsters. The first, in 1981, was about the Palos Verdes Peninsula, and the second came out in 1984 and dealt with greater Los Angeles.

The Palos Verdes Peninsula book sold out its 2,000 copies, the Los Angeles book has sold 1,000, Brewster said, primarily at South Bay bookstores and gift shops. Brewster would not say how much money they have invested in their enterprise but said they have made a profit.

Brewster, who has three other adult children, has also written a book on breast feeding. She said she got the idea to do her first city book from her sister, who had joined with her 14-year-old daughter to do one of Santa Barbara in 1978.

Karen, a junior art student at California State University, Long Beach, said it was fun to draw the first two books, but illustrating the Torrance book was somewhat frustrating. She did only about half of the illustrations in that book.

"They are exhausting to draw," said Karen. "Also, it's somewhat frustrating to draw something and then have to wait months before it is really finished when it is printed."

The other drawings in the Torrance book were done by students at Leuzinger High School, Rolling Hills High School, El Camino College and Cal State, Long Beach.

The book has an initial printing of 4,000. It will be available at four Torrance locations: the Holiday Inn gift shop, Kendale Educational Supply, Torrance Bank and The Begonia Farm, and at Fun Bunns Beach Rentals in Manhattan Beach and Redondo Beach.

And while Torrance may never be as exciting as, say, Paris, no one can deny that it will soon be more colorful.

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