Oct 17, 2007

Wild About Books

We kicked off our plan to visit as many children’s bookstores as we can during our RV travels with a stop in Kansas City at The Reading Reptile. Wow – what a fantastic store! Large scale paper mache characters from favorite children’s books abound, hanging from the ceiling or resting on the floor -- Peggy Rathmann’s Gorilla, Cassie from Tar Beach, My Father’s Dragon, a Giving Tree. There’s a HUGE map of the US on the ceiling, each state brightly colored. A spacious room is divided into smaller spaces through the arrangement of bookcases, tables and chairs, as well as the giant characters, and there are many alcoves brimming with unique touches and decorations – dioramas embedded in the shelves, sticker and bead trimming , a small table lacquered with illustrations and verse from Eloise Greenfield’s Daydreamers. We’ve never seen a store with so many personal touches that reflect the owners’ sensibilities. Many titles were displayed face-out, inviting easy browsing. I discovered a new title by Patricia Maclachlan and her daughter Emily, Fiona Loves the Night ; a delightful picture book with pitch perfect rhythm matched with bold art. Bobbie was pleased to find a copy of Byrd Baylor’s I’m in Charge of Celebrations which she was just talking about the day before. She read the passage about coyotes aloud to me.

We introduced ourselves to Pete who owns the store with his wife Debbie. He told us we could see Chris Crutcher the next day if we were in town. Darn! We need to continue heading west to make it to Reno in time for the AASL conference. He gave us bumper stickers anyway.

The store is so welcoming to both adults and children and creative in both appearance and programming. Be sure and visit the web site for more info and the irreverent musings of Bitterman.

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