Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wild Rumpus Bookstore - Minneapolis, MN

Wild Rumpus - Minneapolis, MN

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I've said it before and I'll say it again.  If I stay on this journey long enough I'll see everything.  This independent bookstore sets a new bar for "seeing everything."  This includes a bathroom with what appears to be an ordinary mirror on the wall above the sink.  Until you turn out the light and it becomes a glow in the dark aquarium!  Heck, maybe I shouldn't even call it a bookstore.  After all, the inventory here includes 22 animals, and some of them freely wander the store.  So reader when you visit here, take a double anti-histamine, a deep breath, and enter an incredible indie that you should view as if through the eyes of a child.  And watch your step --- you could just as easily step on a silky chicken as a toddler chasing it.

Make no mistake, this indie caters to and for kids.  Everything from the miniature front door to the various animals, to the sidelines offered with kids in mind.  I was concerned about my cat allergies and the smells that might be here in the store but I didn't notice either.  And even if there were animal smells I doubt if it would bother the kids.  The focus with the books is from babies through young adult literature.  They also offer some current adult fiction and non-fiction but that is a very small portion of the book inventory.  There are several sidelines available but again, all mostly designed with kids in mind as the most important customers.

This one-level bookstore located in the Linden Hills neighborhood has been here for 22 years and is going strong.  Very engaged with the community, the schools, and the teachers.  Teachers get a 20% discount on any purchase, whether using it for classroom use or just their own personal reading.  The store is very active with author events held on site, usually on Saturdays.  Every Monday morning at 10:30 is a weekly story time that is very well attended.  What a great way to get kids and families to visit a bookstore!

This is the one indie I've visited that we talked very little about books and in this case, more about the animals.  I think this is the first time I've ever seen a silky chicken.  Ferrets, rats, cats, birds, lizards, fish, and others all reside here in perfect harmony with a great inventory of books for young readers.  At one time they even had a pig in the store but that only lasted a couple of days.  But, hey, what other indie can lay claim to that?  I had a great visit with Toffer and Kristen, two of the fine staffers here.  I also enjoyed meeting owner and co-founder, Collette.  These people as well as other staffers were all fun to talk to and hear about this unique store.  The staff has several former teachers working here and their experience in that profession is surely helpful in this mostly children's bookstore.

So, to all you indies I've visited who have a bookstore cat and think it's special?  HA!  Time to up your game!  And no, adding one more won't do it.  Consider adding a few more animals.  And with the more you add, watch the average age of your customers drop!  Check out the animals at this unique and wonderful indie but don't forget to check out the books.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

RECENTLY FINISHED:  The Boy In The Suitcase,  Lene Kaaberbøl & Agnete Friis.  Crime, mystery, thriller, all in one with quite a twist at the end.  Very good.

CURRENTLY READING:  Fire Shut Up In My Bones, Charles M. Blow.  Memoir written by a NY Times columnist.

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  The Doubtful Guest, Edward Gorey.

Front window display.  Sometimes you'll see the cats here.  

Look closely.  The handle on the purple door is for little people.  It is framed by a big people black door and that handle is up and to the right.  One mother told me her child spends more time running in and out of the small-sized purple door than anything else!  

The view after entering the front door.  See any animals yet?  

A great place to sit and read a book.  Unless you have cat allergies.  

Award winning.  No surprise!

Somewhere in there is a lizard.  

Stuffed animals strung across the store.  

A small little house to explore in the store.  Yes, there are animals in here.  And books. these rats for example.  

Here are some of the birds.  

This is the face of one of the ferrets.  They spend a lot of the day sleeping.  

A wild hog head on the wall.  

I think this is a chinchilla.  I kind of lost track of animals on this visit!

I would call this the children's area but the whole store is a children's area.  This is the area where they have the story time as well as author events.  

You can sit here and try out a book or relax while your kids look for animals!

These are two silky chickens, which is the actual name of the breed.  

Look up at the ceiling and you'll see a canoe breaking through the ice on a lake.  

Two of the fine staffers here, Toffer on the left and Kristen.  Thanks for a great visit!

Two of the cats hanging out in the front window.  

This looks like a mirror above a bathroom sink.  When the light is turned off you'll see a lighted aquarium.  I couldn't get that picture to work!

With owner and co-founder, Collette.  Normally, I'll be holding a book or my bag in these pictures.  In this picture I'm holding on to a silky chicken.  

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