Wednesday, October 13, 2010

October Kids Book Sale

I thought about doing a blog post regarding the Kids Book Sale going on downstairs, and then I thought better of it, because maybe it would seem too advertise-y and like I was just a shill. But then I actually looked at the books down there, and WHOAH. I would be remiss as both a (kids) bookseller and a blogger to ignore the awesomeness that is taking place down there. I think it's at about five tables now, and they are jampacked with some of the finest kids and young adult books I can think of. Seriously—from books that have celebrated multiple fanfared anniversaries to books that might still be eligible for certain prizes this year, tiny 1-inch books and giant read-aloud editions, from paperback to hardcover and all the board/bath/touch/flap in between... aaaaugh! It's so intense! I mean immense! Whatever!

I'll tell you up front: you have to actually come into the store to buy them; there's no online version of this sale. But I promise it's worth it, and we validate your parking so that's no excuse. This is possibly the best kids sale ever, and I bet I can convince you in five easy steps:

1) There is a whole Maurice Sendak shelf. It is beautiful. Remember the Nutshell Libary? Four tiny hardcovers in a tiny slipcase, adorable on the outside and slightly insane on the inside? It's $7.98 (instead of $16.95). If you'd rather get the stories separately, they're in (larger) paperbacks for $2.98 apiece. And one of them is Pierre, a story about a boy who won't say anything but "I don't care!" It looks like this inside:

And then it goes like this (after night begins to fall, and a hungry lion pays a call):
"I can eat you,
don't you see?"
"I don't care!"
"And you will be
inside of me."
"I don't care!"
"then you'll never
have to bother—"
"I don't care!"
"With a mother
and a father."
"I don't care!"
The Sendak bargain books include ones that he only illustrated, like the spectacular A Hole Is To Dig: A Book of First Definitions by Ruth Krauss ("The world is so you have something to stand on," "Oo! A rock is when you trip on it you should have watched where you were going" and "Hunh! Rugs are so dogs have napkins" are all definitions it contains).

(This clearly got out of hand, so I've put the rest of the post behind a jump. Click below to read reasons 2-5, which really just ends up being a list of totally awesome kids books. They are on hot hot sale right now, though... Just saying.)

2) Board books galore! Board books are so babies can taste books, as Ruth Krauss might put it. But sometimes $8-$10 is more than you want to spend on a chewable text. Taa-daa! Most of these are $3.98 and they include the spectacular It Looked Like Spilt Milk (the illustrations of which are imprinted in a deep recess of my brain so that I get all toddler-y when I look at it) and Goodnight Moon author Margaret Wise Brown's less well-known but still righteously weird and cool classic Little Fur Family (complete with touchable fur tummy, of course):
There was a little fur family
warm as toast
smaller than most
in little fur coats
and they lived in a warm
wooden tree.

3) Paperbacks. I know they're cheap already, but at 50% off (at least), you can buy twice as many. Sarah Stewart and David Small's The Library, Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean's The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish, and The Grannyman by Judith Byron Schachner (of Skippyjon Jones fame) were all in the first bin I checked, all for $3.98 each. All of those are crowd-pleasers that are totally worthy of keeping around in case of forgotten birthday parties or a nephew-Nick-is-coming-over-this-weekend emergency.

4) There's not a ton of young adult on the tables, but what's there is pretty great. M. T. Anderson's vampire novel (before they were ubiquitous) Thirsty, Walter Dean Myers's so-many-awards-it-blocks-out-the-cover-art Monster, a box set of the Warrior Heir trilogy by Cinda Williams Chima. And a great, great novel, in hardcover, that I highly recommend: Hold Still, by Nina LaCour. It's one of the best YA books I've read in a long time. I got an advance copy and read it while I was walking to my car after my shift one day, and when I got to the car and sat down in the driver's seat, I couldn't stop reading. I knew that I would just drive home and keep reading as soon as I got there, but I didn't want to go that fifteen minutes without reading. So I sat there in a parking lot, reading, until I could convince myself that I was being a little ridiculous. The words are great, and so is the physical thing: the endpapers have sweet pen drawings and the speckled green of the unjacketed hardcover is lovely (and embossed). It is, to me, one of those books that reminds you why non-electronic books are a good thing to have and to hold.

5) There's a series of picture books on sale down there (seven or eight bucks in hardcover) that I have long adored (or, however long they've been around, which isn't that long). It pairs a modern re-telling of a fairy tale with the original paintings done for Disney when they did their animated version, so if you remember the background art for classic Disney films you'll know what I'm talking about. They picked spectacular authors, too: Cynthia Rylant has written my favorite version of Cinderella ever. I mean it. If I have kids and they want that story, this will be the version I read them. It starts this way: "This is a story about darkness and light, about sorry and joy, about something lost and something found. This is a story about Love." It totally rules. The art is by the incredible Mary Blair, who also did Alice in Wonderland (retold by the king Jon Scieszka) and Peter Pan (retold by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, whose middle grade series Peter and the Starcatchers is also a Peter Pan tale). Her bio says "she remains one of the most respected artists in the history of animation" and I can see why. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves is retold by Rylant and illustrated by Gustaf Tenggren, and if you don't remember his style from the movie, you will when you see the art in this book. These are really some of my favorite fairy tale retellings ever, and they may not be around much longer (the Cinderella looks like it's going out of stock at the publisher). Scoop 'em up.

And that's five. Taa-daa! You want to come see them, right? WELL, DO IT!

-Anna, Kids Books


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