Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The 2011 Decatur Christmas Tree

Here are the facts:

What: The Decatur Christmas Tree Lighting
complete with: hot chocolate, carols from the Voice of 5th Avenue, sweet treats,
and maybe even a visit from a jolly man in a red suit
Where: East Court Square
right in front of Little Shop of Stories
When: Thursday    December 1st     7 p.m.
Who: All of Decatur!
Why: Because we can't contain all this Christmas spirit!
How: See below.....

Here is the story:

We've found the perfect tree at Noel Forest Christmas Tree Farm, in Cartersville.

It takes a village to move a 30-foot Christmas Tree.
Thank goodness we had help from friends and the guys at
Atlanta Peach Movers!
Thad and Jugs trim down the base of the tree so that it will fit into the tree stand. (Last year we forgot to measure the tree stand and had to do this back at the shop. This year we learned our lesson.)

Transporting the tree to the truck.

Krista LOVES Atlanta Peach Movers. Check out this awesome jump shot. (This is what she was doing while the men figured out how to get the tree into the truck.)

Now we just have to get it into the truck.

Yes, we know. It's huge. Maybe we went overboard.

Here is the crew from Atlanta Peach Movers.
These guys were awesome.
Use them if you need to move something!
Efficient, hardworking, and friendly, too!

Here's the whole team who went to get the tree, happy that it's finally in the truck. But the work is just beginning...

Here we are on Tuesday morning, trying to figure out how to get the tree lifted and leaned against the building. We literally recruited people off the street to help lift it while six men on the roof pulled and grunted with all their might. When it was in place, Krista shouted, "It's a Christmas miracle!" Rob looked at her and said, "If it magically appeared up here it would be a Christmas miracle. This was just Christmas hard work."

Krista and Terra are ready to decorate!

Sunny was fearless on the 20-foot scissor lifts. Once we got into the tree, we forgot how high up we were, but at first most of us were pretty nervous. By the end of the day we were decorating like pros, though. It took six hours, 100 strands of lights, dozens of ornaments, and then we were ready for King Tree Experts to bring their crane and lift it onto the roof.
We really couldn't do this without King Tree Experts!
Those guys are fantastic!

The tree is decorated and ready to go on the roof!
If you want to see it lit, come to the tree lighting event on
Thursday night at 7 pm.
See you then, and Happy Holidays!

Also, we want to add that while the pictures shown are of the physical work it took to get the tree on the roof, this wouldn't be possible without the sponsorships of local businesses. So many businesses contributed to make the tree a reality, and we are so appreciative! So thanks to the following for their support in getting this tree up on the roof! Apolinsky & Associates, Atlanta Peach Movers, The Bakery at Cakes & Ale, Cafe Alsace, The Cookie Studio, The Cook's Warehouse, Decatur Downtown Development Authority, Erbert and Gerbert's Sandwich Shop, Fidelity Bank, Greene's Fine Foods, Harry Norman Realtors, Homegrown, King Tree Experts, Leon's Full ServiceMcCurdy & Candler, LLC, Mingei World Arts, Mudhouse Design, My Own Bookkeeper, Joan Rau, LMT, Sherlock's Wine Merchant, Squash Blossom, Starbucks Coffee, Townsend Concrete Services, Veritas Planning Group, and Wild Oats & Billy Goats.

I still don't know what "plotz" means.

First of all, let me admit: I do not celebrate Hannukah. So in that way, I am not at all qualified to make this blog post, seeing as it's all about Hannukah gift giving. However, I AM an avid gift-giver, and with some friends who celebrate Hannukah, I had to do some research, and those of you in my same situation may benefit from it.

First of all, do not be intimidated by Little Shop's Giant Wall of Christmas (check out the picture). If you're looking for books that are actually about Hannukah, they are all the way on the right- very easy to find.

I have three books that I enjoy giving as sort of accompaniments to the holiday books- not actually about Hannukah, but very funny and appropriate. The first one is Baxter, the Pig Who Wanted to be Kosher, by Laurel Snyder. If not already stashed with the Hannukah books, it will be found in the picture book section.

The other two are board books, so they are located in the purple house at the back of the store, with the other board books. There are BabYiddish, also by Laurel Snyder, and Let's Nosh!, which is part of a series about different kinds of food.  They are both fantastic, and small enough to pair with another gift.

Happy shopping!

Monday, November 28, 2011

President Obama Is On The Same Page!

On Small Business Saturday, President Obama went shopping with his two daughters, Malia and Sasha.  "Where did they go?" you might ask.

To a bookstore!  The president and his kids made purchases at Kramerbooks & Afterwards CafĂ© in Dupont Circle, not far from the White House.  "And what did they buy?" you might ask.

Among their purchases was Norton Juster's, The Phantom Tollbooth, the first selection in Little Shop of Stories' community-wide reading program!

They're now On The Same Page!

President Barack Obama is On The Same Page

How cool is that!

Little Shop of Stories is now holding FOUR tickets to the Norton Juster event on December 9th for the First Family.  The limit is normally two tickets, but what the heck.

You can pick them up at the will-call table, Mr. President.

Besides The Phantom Tollbooth, they also purchased the following books: Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Diaz; Tails, by Matthew Van Fleet; Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever, by Jeff Kinney; Zen Shorts, by Jon Muth; The Tiger's Wife, by Tea Obreht; Descent into Chaos, by Ahmed Rashid; and The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick.  (An excellent mix of great books.)

Here's the AP video!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Ok, so I am loving this picture book. My Bear Griz, by Suzanne McGinness, is about a boy named Billy who loves bears. As you might infer from the picture, I can totally relate. However, while I have to settle for a hat, Billy has a grizzly bear friend named Griz, and they do all kinds of fun stuff. I would normally contend that gold-sequined bears are far superior to other, non-sequined bears, but Griz kind of takes the cake for awesomeness. I particularly enjoy the scribbled notes on the margins of the illustrations. Come in and read it today!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Norton Juster is Coming Soon!

and special guest

Friday evening
December 9th
7 p.m.
Presser Hall, Agnes Scott College

No, he's not Santa Claus.  It just kind of feels that way.

We couldn't think of a better present that a visit by Norton Juster, the author of The Phantom Tollbooth.  As an incredibly special extra gift, Norton will be joined on stage by Leonard Marcus, perhaps the most knowledgeable person alive on the subject of children's literature and editor of The Annotated Phantom Tollbooth.

This is the culmination of our On The Same Page community-wide reading program that was originally designed to be a Decatur thing, but has caught the imagination of schools and libraries around DeKalb County as well as in Gwinnett County, Atlanta, and Cobb County.  We couldn't be more thrilled.

This is a ticketed event.  Tickets -- limit two per person and absolutely free -- can be obtained in person at Little Shop of Stories.  Tickets are now also available over the phone.  We'll hold them at will-call until the event.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Jeff Kinney is Coming, and He's Bringing Snow!!!!!!

This is the truth.  Honest.  We couldn't make this kind of stuff up.
Jeff Kinney
author of the outrageously popular
Diary of a Wimpy Kid 
series, is coming to the Decatur Square this Saturday, November 19th.

This is guaranteed to be one bizarre event.

First, Jeff is bringing snow.  More accurately, he's bringing a truck of ice and another truck with a snow making machine.  He'll be turning part of the Square into a blizzard aftermath.  The snow area is free and open to the public starting at 11 a.m.

Pretty cool, eh?

Actually, the forecast calls for partly cloudy and 62 degrees.

Jeff will be speaking at the gazebo at noon.  After that, he'll start signing books.

You will need a ticket to get in the book signing line.  There are a limited number of tickets, but that number happens to be 1,000.  (Jeff is a very generous guy.)  One ticket is good for one family.

To get a ticket, go to Little Shop of Stories and purchase a copy of Jeff's newest book, Cabin Fever.  It just came out today!  Then you'll get a free ticket.

On Saturday Jeff will sign every book that you purchase from Little Shop of Stories for this event.  He'll also sign up to two books brought from home.  In the interest of keeping the line moving, Jeff will be signing only -- no personalization.

If available, remaining tickets for the signing line will be given out the morning of the event, while supplies last.

This should be a blast.  Everyone at Little Shop had a great time with Jeff when he was here a couple of years ago.  (He only brought a pen.)  Jeff didn't come last year, but he did send a Popsicle frozen sugared confection truck to Decatur to give out free purple frozen sugared confections to promote Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth, and we gave out a lot of those free purple frozen sugared confections.  This year, it's both Jeff and a winter wonderland.

Wahooooooo!!!  We look forward to seeing you all!

Thursday, November 3, 2011


Dear Little Shop of Stories blog readers,
You may or may not know that I (Marcy) am a big fan of chickens. Right now I am particularly chicken-obsessed because I have some brand-new baby chicks at home. In my defense, my chickens are SO cute that there would have to be something wrong with me if I didn't have chickens on my mind. Look at the picture- I took that in my dining room. I mean, really. Irresistible. BUT my job is telling you about awesome books, not my pets. However, I can multitask.

So without further ado, I present to you my favorite chicken books.

1. Tillie Lays an Egg by Terry Golson. Mr. Golson is a real keeper of chickens, and is goofy enough to have written a book documenting the crazy places (like laundry baskets and the driver's seat of a truck) his hen Tillie lays her eggs. It's full of fantastic pictures (not illustrations) of his house and farmyard, and he even provides a page with picures of all the hens in his flock, and their names.

2. Coop by Michael Perry is a sequel to Truck: A Love Story and is a wonderful book to read if you like your philosophical ponderings couched in terms of funny country living misadventures. This is a man who turns his endeavors at building a chicken coop and pigpen and garden into an epic journey of the mind and spirit. If I didn't already want to live on a farm, I would have begun to want to by the time I was halfway through this book- plus, he doesn't hold back on the gritty (and often hilarious) workings of the reality of life on a small farm.

3. Extraordinary Chickens is, well, extraordinary. Just as a hypotehtical, let's say that you want to keep chickens- maybe you're even a little obsessed, not that we know anybody like that, of course- but people look at you funny when you say so. I suggest that you leave this gorgeous, gorgeous book on your coffee table. It's a collection of photos (with handy-dandy information included) of all the fun and crazy breeds of chickens you can keep. It's also a fantastic gift for anyone who is already a fan of chickens, even if they don't keep them.

4. Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens, by Gail Damerowe, is the quintessential book for anyone actually wanting to keep chickens. I could go on and on about it, but if you're into chickens it would be super boring, and if you ARE into chickens, you just need to get a copy, right now, and read it immediately. It's not something we typically keep in stock, but if you call ahead we can order it for you.

5. The Chicken Thief by Beatrice Rodriguez is the first in a trilogy of gloriously quirkly picture books documenting the complex relationship between a fox and a chicken. Theer are no words, so you are left to interpret the story based solely on the drawings. The bookstore staff has had many lively discussions- is it true love? Stockholm sydrome? What's the significance of the frying pan? Join us in loving this goofy book!

6. Busy Chickens is a great way to start off your little people on the route to chicken-craziness. It's sort of the board book version of Extraordinary Chickens, with rhymingly-captioned photos of chickens doing silly things. There's a whole series, with Busy Doggies, Busy Piggies, et cetera, and they are all delightful.