Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Where else would you find...

On this blog I bandy about various well-known brands that we carry, from Melissa & Doug's classic wooden toys to Hasbro's board games, but do you know some of the funkier things we carry? As a small independent shop, we pride ourselves on stocking toys, books, and the doodads/chotskies/knick-knacks you won't see in the big box stores. Here are some items that I get a particular kick out of us selling.

Oh Jellycat, let me count the ways I love your plush: they flop, they dangle, their bean butts and bright colors beg to be piled on bed comforters and stuffed into backpacks to calm first school day jitters. I readily admit to owning a Jellycat hedgehog and coveting the especially adorable Truffles Mammoth Pillow. For starters, it's a giant (28"!) WOOLLY MAMMOTH. Add in its squishy sprawling limbs, wild shaggy fur, and tusks, and you have yourself (or, err, your loved one) the best cuddle pal around.

Not everyone likes prehistoric plush, and that's OK. We turn now to what many kids and adults do love: Legos! And Lego accessories! Last year Lego's keychain figurine lights were a big hit for stocking stuffers, and this year gives us another promising excitement: a Lego Figurine Head Lamp. Our headlamps from Schylling are ever-popular, I can hardly imagine how quickly these headlamps with a miniature, light-up Lego man strapped to the headband will sell. We just got these in yesterday and I've already thought of four acquaintances of mine who would love these.

Piggy banks have long been a staple of birthday presents and baby showers, and we're pretty excited to expand our repertoire of banks to include porcelain Fire Trucks, Pick Up Trucks, and Birthday Cake banks from Andrea by Sadek. These banks are delicate and richly painted - the heart cupcake bank gives me a serious case of cupcake envy. We also carry Sadek's darling miniature 10 piece tea rose set.

My love for the New York Times Book Review collection continues to grow exponentially. I've recently discovered Three Ladies Beside the Sea, written by Rhoda Levine and illustrated by Edward Gorey. With Gorey's whimsically creepy drawings and such rhymes as "Then, there was Alice of Hazard,/A dangerous life led she:/When not indoors, involved with chores,/Alice was up a tree!", this reissue is a surreal treat.

Another New York Times Book Review reissue is Lizard Music by Daniel Pinkwater. I've heard many requests for this book in my years here, and I am ecstatic to see it on the shelf...mostly so I can read it myself! I hear from our book buyer (who generally prefers realistic fiction and brooding, epic tales of generations of families) that this is fantastically wacky, despite its tame black and white cover of lizard silhouettes. Maybe such an innocuous cover would draw the Pinkwater radio fan into his children's writing universe?

Second to Alice's Adventure in Wonderland, J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan is one of my all time favorite children's classics. Sterling's centenary edition of Peter Pan and Wendy is illustrated by the incredible Australian artist Robert Ingpen. The wide trim size is perfect for reading together and poring over the lush watercolor and pencil drawings.

I also have exciting news for two popular books!

Gareth Hinds's graphic adaptation of Homer's Odyssey is back in stock and in pride of place in our newly relocated graphic novels section above the chapter books.

The latest copies of Moon Over Manifest have the shiny new Newbery Medal affixed to their cover! If you move fast, you can still get one from the pre-Medal shipment, but that gold shine sure does dazzle. Most of our staff is in the middle of reading it and can't stop talking about it - share your opinion next time you're visiting!

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