Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Half Price Bookstore Trip, the First

As I mentioned in my last post, one of my favorite places here already is the Half Price Bookstore. I actually saw it and got fired up about it when we drove past while we were here for the interview in May. And I don't think we had been here a week before I sought it out to see if it was as good as the one in Nashville. Let me say that it is better! I really love the half price bookstore in Nashville. But the cool thing about the one here is that there is also a used book aspect to it too. So, it's not just the closeouts from wherever they get those from, it's also used books in great condition from all around. And that means that you can stumble upon amazing things. Out of print things! Hard to find things! Blogworthy things!

I haven't quite decided how to do this. I don't know if I should post trip by trip, or if I should hold things until a seasonally appropriate time. I think I'm just going to go trip by trip, and you will all have to forgive Christmas in August (and the blurry image too- I really stink at photography)!

This is the haul from trip #1. I had three kids with me that day, and it shows.

Amabel's absolute favorite book as a littler girl was always Blueberries for Sal. While we had checked out the story about a slightly more gown up Sal from the library many times, we had never purchased it. I believe my intent was always to give it to her when she lost her first tooth (the topic of the book), but she was such a strong believer in the tooth fairy at that time and so very hopeful that the tooth fairy would bring her a wand, I couldn't very well give her a book. Plus, how expensive would that get if I had to give a book for every tooth my children lost?! The book is, of course One Morning in Maine by Robert McCloskey and upon spotting it on the shelves, Amabel was eager to fill in this hole in her library. When August found something to fill the hole in his, I decided everyone could probably use a treat after a series of crazy weeks of moving.

August's choice was Knuffle Bunny Too by Mo Willems. We received Knuffle Bunny as a precious and thoughtful going away gift from our good friends, the Steadmans, and particularly, the oldest Steadman child, Georgia, when they moved to Brooklyn, New York after graduating from seminary two years ago. The pictures in the book are actually photographs of the Park Slope neighborhood where they moved. Georgia's mother told me that Georgia particularly wanted us to have her copy, which I thought was amazingly mature of her in several ways (selfless, thoughtful, tender, etc.). It was hard to decide whose shelf the book would ultimately go on, but while I think Amabel and Georgia feel pretty certain that they are the special friends in the group, I actually think Georgia meant something extra special to August because she befriended him when he was scared and away from home for pre-K. And, maybe it's just me, but I tend to think that August loves bigger and takes things more to heart than your average kid. I think part of my case might be made over the fact that he wanted Knuffle Bunny Too even though it is about two little girls with bunnies. That's about as much as I should say about August, but he is a sweetheart, like no other.

Elspeth didn't get a book. I actually had bought her a special potty training book (another post altogether) at Barnes and Noble the day before, so this was a nice opportunity to even things out.

I did get my nephew a book though. Evidently, he is really into astronauts right now. I have the perfect book for kids who are into astronauts, by the way. It is charming and really just flawless, Harry and Horsie.

It is a book about David Letterman's little son Harry, and it is a gem. I stumbled upon it at Pottery Barn Kids a few weeks ago. I never go to Pottery Barn Kids, and I can't, for the life of me, figure out why this book isn't featured at children's bookstores. But there it was on the bookshelves at PBK (when I stepped in to make sure the Star Wars sheets are still there- they are, and I still can't afford them!) and I fell in love with it on the spot. But they didn't have it at the Half Priced Bookstore, so I went with this other title, Edward Built a Rocketship, which I have also never seen at a bookstore. It's also not available on Amazon. It has a British pound sign on the back cover, so I suppose that explains it. It's just a cute little story about a little boy who builds a rocket ship and takes a trip to outer space- sort of an obvious idea, but you'd be surprised how few books there are on the subject. One of the only ones I know of is actually a Harold book (see below).

The remaining two books from the first trip are Christmas books. The first one is Harold and the North Pole. George has called all of our babies "Harold" when they are bald and wearing footed PJs. So Harold holds a special place in my heart. Sadly, we made the choice to buy a Harold treasury, so we forget to read about him a lot. (Why is that? I never go for treasuries when I'm pulling from our shelves. It's like I don't even see them.) Anyway, we read Harold, just not as often as some of our other favorites. But when I see a favorite character with a Christmas book, I am always interested. I have an ever increasing collection of children's Christmas books. I am always checking them out when I hear about them or stumble upon them. Actually, we brought about a dozen Christmas books from the St. Louis County Library with us to Des Moines when we moved! George took them back before the due date when he went back to the Lou to get his car. But the librarians thought it was pretty strange when all those requests came in from all over town in July. But for all this, I am also discriminating. I don't just buy any old Christmas book I see. Harold's Christmas book is worthy of being a Harold book, and therefore worth having. It's a cute story about Harold meeting Santa on Christmas Eve.

The second Christmas book is one I had never seen before called Cock-a-doodle Christmas by Will Hillenbrand, an author whose train book, Down by the Station, has long been a favorite at our house. Imagine how excited I was to open the book and see it was signed by the author!

I was so excited that I read it, bought it, and subsequently wrote a review for it on Amazon. It's really good y'all. A shy rooster in Bethlehem is curious when a baby is born in his stable. Once he realizes who the new baby is and what it means for the world, he has a newfound hope and boldness and is finally able to crow loudly enough to wake up all the barnyard animals. It's better than that, but you'll just have to read it for yourself!

That's all the goodies from my first trip, but, as you know, I have since been back! Still, I highly recommend each of these titles. I hope you can track them down wherever you are.


Jessie said...

You know, I hear, there is now a third book in the series! Miss you guys - sweet memories of the our little people!

barlow said...

Hi Abby - hope things are well in Des Moines. I keep thinking of you and wanting to see what you guys are up to on Facebook, but alas, you are still a holdout. Probably a good idea, really. Facebook is terrible for my mental health.

I like the green color - very nice and soothing.

We're doing fine - church is going fine - they did the doorhanger campaign. We either spread the news of the church or we woke up half of carondelet when their dogs started barking. I also knocked over someone's planter, so that was a bad feeling. It even had a lovely brass "welcome" plate hanging from it so the noise I made was tremendous.

The boys are fine, and Ann is well too, though they've all got bad allergies. Anyway, miss seeing you at church each week and I miss seeing Amabel. Hope you guys are making waves in Des Moines, the place with two s's that are silent.

Brittnie said...

Is Half Price just an upper mid-west thing? I never knew. I LOVE me the Half Price!

Glad you're enjoying "the north"!

Jenny @ Practically Perfect... said...

Oh, this is one of the things I miss the most about living in the US! Books in NZ are SO expensive - like, $40 a book. And half-price bookstores are few and far between (there's only 1 in the whole city of Auckland). Glad you were able to visit this one!

Abby said...

Great to hear from you, Jon! I am laughing about the planter because that would totally happen to you, of all people, because of course, you would feel worse about it than anyone else! I can imagine it happening to me for the same reason!

Jenny, my sister had the same problem with books when she lived in France. Well, it was the expense of shipping them from an English speaking country, but still, it is definitely a blessing to have easy access to inexpensive literature in our native tongue! Do they at least have libraries over there?

Brittnie, I know there is one in Nashville, which is not midwest and that there is not one in St. Louis which is midwest, so I don't know what the deal is. Perhaps they are just more this way and the one in Nashville is another company altogether? There are lots of publishing houses in Nashville, so I think that might account for that store. The one here appears to be part of a chain, which I assume you are referencing. Long answer- sorry!

Anonymous said...

Abby....I'm pretty sure, b/c I looked up the store locator on the website, and they indicated that there was a Half-Price Books in Des Moines(near the university?), that you are experiencing the pleasure of the Half Price Books and Magazines chain, of which there are none in Tennessee...It is not just an upper mid-west thing....they actually started in Texas ...I grew up with the very first one less than a mile from my house when I was in elementary school. Anyways, yes, it is WAY better than the store in Nashville that is called Half-Price Books. I don't know if the one in Nashville is connected to anything else, but it is definitely not in the same chain as the one you have discovered. Enjoy! It is awesome, as you know!


Abby said...

Ah, mystery solved! Thanks, Elizabeth :)

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