I made the mistake of going to a bookstore yesterday. My daughter had birthday money from her great-grandma to spend on a book. There aren't any book stores in my town, so I drove 15 miles to go to this really amazing store that isn't a major chain like Borders or Barnes & Noble. I like bookstores that have a little personality to them, and this store in particular is pretty awesome. Plus, I love a good deal and this store is chock full of them.
In general, I avoid bookstores. I prefer to do my book shopping online because it keeps me from impulse buying and I get books cheaper that way. Don't those sound like really good reasons? Hey, thanks! The truth is that I turn into Bruce the Shark in bookstores. You know Bruce, from Finding Nemo? He's full of saintly restraint, chanting "Fish are friends, not food!" when he's around Marlin and Dory, but just a little drop of blood in the water turns him into the instinct-driven eating machine that he really is. Bookstores are the little drop of blood in the water. When we pulled up to the store, my little Jiminy Cricket conscience was gently reminding me that I was only getting books for a friend's daughter's birthday and for my daughter's birthday money. I walked into the store, inhaled the delightful aroma of bookbinding, newsprint and muffins and turned into Bruce. Luckily, my children were there and walked straight to the children's section, so at least I wouldn't abandon them while I pawed my way through the bargain tables. My girls found a table their size to park at and scooped up stacks of books to leaf through. I set the baby down by the board books and let her take every single one of them off the shelves. Everyone was settled and happy so I dove in. First the non-fiction children's books, then the crafts and drawing books, and then the picture books. Ah, pictures books. How I love them. My stack kept getting bigger and bigger and every time I would find one I thought my daughter would like, I added it to the stack. We never even made it to the chapter books and classics section, which is probably a good thing, since I do need to pay my bills and eat.
We were supposed to leave in 20 minutes so we weren't late for the friend's birthday, but it's a little known fact that bookstores exist in a parallel dimension where time speeds up on the outside. I swear we were only there a few minutes, but my watch said we'd been there an hour when we left. Oops. We found two books for the friend, one for my daughter and one that I couldn't resist. Not bad for being a bookstore Bruce! All of the pictures books were labeled as bargains and at $5 a piece for hardbacks, it was totally true. Now if I can stop daydreaming about going back, we'll be in good shape.
For our friend, we got two Iza Trapani books. She takes nursery rhymes and fleshes them out into story books. We have "The Eensy Weensy Spider" at our house and my oldest daughter and I used to have it memorized, we read it so many times. The ones we got for our friend were "I'm a Little Teapot" and "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and she was appropriately delighted to receive them.
For my daughter, we got "Do You Doodle?" by Nikalas Catlow which is a very cool kind of coloring book. It has sketchings in it that are half-finished and the child finishes the drawing and then colors it. For instance, one page had a wolf huffing and puffing and she had to finish what he was puffing at. I love it because it requires that she use her imagination, which coloring books don't do, but it's things she probably wouldn't draw on her own, had I given her a blank piece of paper. So far, she has logged an hour or so at her little table drawing like mad.
The last book for no one in particular other than I couldn't resist it is called, "The Boy, the Bear, the Baron and the Bard" by Gregory Rogers. There are no words, just pictures of a boy's adventure when he goes to retrieve the ball he accidently kicked through the window of an deserted theater in London. He explores the theater, jumps through the curtain of the stage, is magically transported through time and lands on The Bard. You know, THE Bard. And then it gets really good. I remember checking this out from the library once for my kids and the illustrations are wonderful and delightfully Elizabethan. Plus, it's fun to make up your own words to a book for a change.
Now that I've made full disclosure of my purchases, I feel better. I've come clean. Not that I bought all that much, but I used to be able to go into bookstores and just sample the hot chocolate. Bruce has left my system and maybe I can keep him on a short leash from now on.