“There’s a Secret in There”

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My wife and I spent last week at a bookseller’s convention in Seattle, Washington. It was more fun than I could have ever imagined. Here we were in an absolutely beautiful city that is nestled right in the middle of breathtaking forests, snow-capped mountain ranges, fog-shrouded Puget Sound, abundant coffee shops, the shadow of a mythic space needle, and… dozens of addictive bookstores and their wonderful owners.
Thursday morning we made our way to one of the city’s most treasured and historic gems – the Pike Place Market. As we ventured into this bright and noisy labyrinth of shops and fresh fish and restaurants, we found ourselves standing in front of a beautiful window framed in children’s books.

Inside, the owner was standing at the register and we soon struck up a lively conversation about his life as the owner of this wonderful little bookstore.  He told us so many interesting things, but the most significant came when he said this, “Let me show you the best way to sell a book.”
With that, he pointed to a shelf of crimson leather-bound Moleskin brand journals. In a rich Greek accent he said, “Now pick that up and hold it in your hands for a minute to see if you can find its secret. You see, every book has at least one secret of its own and your job as the owner of the store is to know that secret and then help someone else find it, too.”
He pointed to the journal again, “There’s a secret in there.”
And guess what? There was a little hidden pocket tucked into the back seam of this beautiful little book.
We talked some more and he pointed out a few more secrets (great quotes or illustrations or authors) in books around the store.  As we were making our purchases and saying goodbye, I looked around this rather humble little store so I could always remember it.
The best way I will ever be able to describe it to anyone is just like this: “There’s a secret in there.”

‘What Elephant?’ – Look at this Book!

* Every Tuesday we introduce you to a favorite book from our secret book room, and give you a unique “recipe for fun” this week over on our Book Cook page…

 Elephant

Today’s great book:  What Elephant? by Geneviève Côté (2006, Kids Can Press)

Time to Read: short and sweet; another great bedtime or anytime story

Summary:  from the back cover…”Elephant?  What elephant?  No one dares to say a single word about the large houseguest sunbathing in George’s garden – despite the overpowering scent of coconut oil.  Surely, surely that isn’t an elephant lounging among the roses…Or is it?”  An “absurd and whimsical tale of an elephant that is seen…but not necessarily believed!”

Best Quote:  “I should have believed you from the start.”

Our View:  Our middle daughter has always collected elephants and so this particular book was a gift in that regard.  We read it among the sisters just last night as we were tucking in for bed and we really enjoyed the whole “elephant in the room” idea behind this wonderfully gentle tale. My eight-year old’s favorite part was near the end when the main character, George, has tried so hard to keep his elephant a secret (because people were thinking he might be crazy if he did indeed see what he originally told everyone he saw) and is suddenly face-to-face with his friends, who have come over to play in his backyard.  Since the elephant is truly there, it is up to each friend to decide whether he or she will admit that they do see it.  A wonderful conversation and apology ensues.  The illustrations are absolutely beautiful in this book…and just may have you wanting your very own secret elephant!

Remember to visit our Book Cook page for the recipe – “Elephant Ears” – created by the kids to accompany this particular book.