Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A Booklover's Day in Paradise

The Peace Book
by Todd Parr
I Am Invited to a Party!
by Mo Willems

We had a great time on our trip to the Big Apple. Celebrated husband's birthday with family and friends at the Bronx Zoo, and then had birthday dinner at a yummilicious Italian place in Riverdale. The weather was perfect, the animals were stunning, the boys were angelic (almost), and the whole day was a gift.

Then, yesterday, a bonus day that seemed too good to be true. We spent the day in Manhattan, as the family we were visiting had to work. Parked the car at 15th street near Union Square on the West Side. Walked three blocks to "Books of Wonder," a fabulous children's bookstore that even has their own publishing label. They have an incredible selection. Great sections for every age, shelves of folklore and mythology books that are gorgeous, rare editions, with a friendly, qualified staff and a kid friendly environment with small tables where kids can sit and look at books. I could tell that the boys are getting the book bug when we entered the store and S. opened his arms wide and said "Oh, cool!" We happily passed an hour there, and could have stayed a lot longer. G. busied himself pulling board books off the low shelves and bringing them to me to read. I bought "The Peace Book" for visitors young and old to look at in my office. It communicates truth very simply. I fell in love with it.

After that we walked around Manhattan for awhile, spending some time in the playgrounds of Union Square, which was like stepping into The Nanny Diaries. I swear we were the only people on the playground related to the kids we were watching. The people watching in Union Square is priceless - could have stayed all afternoon. But we wandered north and stumbled onto Max Brenner's restaurant ("Chocolate by the Bald Man"). Had a completely hedonistic lunch there that included the richest chocolate (of course) milkshake I have ever had. S. got a plastic syringe the size of a turkey baster filled with warm chocolate and surrounded by gummy bears. You literally had to shoot the chocolate into his mouth. He was in heaven. Maybe that has something to do with why he did not fall asleep until 10:00 PM last night.

Anyway, back to the books. After lunch we went to "The Strand," an NYC institution with the slogan "18 Miles of Books." Again, an amazing place. New books, used books, current bestsellers, old out-of-print stuff, rare books, and again an immense children's section. This store also has bargain tables that are real bargains for things real people really do want to read. I scored a couple of Sarah Vowell books (someone new to me, recommended by family members) dirt cheap. YAY! We browsed for the longest time. There are stacks, like in a library, that you can literally get lost in. So many treasures in the used book shelves that could have found a new home here. This is the place I will work when I retire (unless it's "Books of Wonder"). E. was disciplined since we had just celebrated his birthday and he received several books as gifts. I had no such compunction. I walked out with a bulging sack and anticipation in the heart.

Nothing better than a beautiful fall day, strolling down the street with people you adore, and a sack of books under the arm. On the way back to the hotel, S. "read" one of his new books (an Elephant and Piggie book by Mo Willems - GREAT stuff for beginning readers. Engaging stories, adorable pictures, and few words) out loud over and over again, getting more confident every time. It was music to mother's ears. Every time we got in the car on this trip, G. would reach for his books. E. just rolled his eyes and said "Definitely his mother's son!"

This has to go down as one of the best days of all time. Also got lots of reading done in the car - will post some more in the next day or so about the latest. Missed all of you out there in the blogosphere. It's good to be back.

Reverent Reader

P.S. If you ever get to NYC, another great children's bookstore is "Bank Street Books" at 112th and Broadway. We've been there a couple of times and loved it.


At 10/24/07, 9:06 PM , Blogger Flounder said...

Sounds like you all had a great day. The equal day for me would be to kill a couple of hours in a couple of independent record/cd stores and then hitting a great concert that night.

That's what I'm talking about...

At 10/24/07, 9:58 PM , Blogger Reverent Reader said...

You're right, Flounder - some music thrown in would be the icing on the cake. What's new on that front? Anything I can't live without?

At 10/29/07, 5:35 PM , Blogger Flounder said...

Not really anything new. At least nothing I know about...but I have been out of the loop. I have been enjoying the new Ryan Adams and the Cardinals EP...only 7 songs and one is a stinker (the title track) but the rest very good.

I will let you inow if there is anything else yoy need to hear.


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