Saturday, April 28, 2012

Poem of the Day April 28

The Crazy Day
by the Second Graders at Glennwood Elementary School

A funny thing happened today at school,
but for some people it was really cool.
It's not really a pool.
The teacher let out a mechanical bull.
Then my teacher shaved a sheep's wool.
We got to play pool.
My mom got some new jewels.
Our teachers are so cool.
We had to dress like fools.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Poem of the Day April 27

Ode to Cake
by the Second Graders at Glennwood

You're soft and delicious.
You have many layers.
You're definitely not nutritious.
I love your chocolate frosting.
You're amazing because of your tastiness,
with your icing so sweet.
I love you, cake!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Poem of the Day April 26

By the First Graders at Glennwood Elementary School

I spin and spin and spin and spin.
I am big and windy.
I destroy everything in my path.
I am very dangerous.
I move around by spinning fast.
I am strong like a yak.
My eye is tired.
Whatever I spin into,
I crush into pieces

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Poem of the Day April 25

By the Kindergartners at Glennwood Elementary School

Monkey, monkey, you hang upside down.
A monkey is funky.
You always fall off trees.
You always eat sweet bananas.
You are brown.
Monkey, do you have enough?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Super Cool Science Event!

Perilous Math and Catastrophic Science Event with Author Sean Connolly

Wednesday, April 25th | 7 p.m.

Pull out your calculators and beakers, because we are having an awesome evening of totally irresponsible science experiments and death-defying math challenges! Sean Connolly, the author of The Book of Potentially Catastrophic Science and The Book of Perfectly Perilous Math, will be here to show us how cool (and exciting) math and science can be! We'll also have experiments for you to do on your own. You may want to bring safety goggles!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Poem of the Day April 23

It's Raining in Love
by Richard Brautigan
I don't know what it is,
 but I distrust myself
 when I start to like a girl
 a lot.

 It makes me nervous.
 I don't say the right things
 or perhaps I start
 to examine,
 what I am saying.

 If I say, "Do you think it's going to rain?"
 and she says, "I don't know,"
 I start thinking: Does she really like me?

 In other words
 I get a little creepy.

 A friend of mine once said,
 "It's twenty times better to be friends
 with someone
 than it is to be in love with them."

 I think he's right and besides,
 it's raining somewhere, programming flowers
 and keeping snails happy.
 That's all taken care of.


 if a girl likes me a lot
 and starts getting real nervous
 and suddenly begins asking me funny questions
 and looks sad if I give the wrong answers
 and she says things like,
 "Do you think it's going to rain?"
 and I say, "It beats me,"
 and she says, "Oh,"
 and looks a little sad
 at the clear blue California sky,
 I think: Thank God, it's you, baby, this time
 instead of me.

Tonight is World Book Night!

Just a reminder for all you
who were accepted as givers
and specified Little Shop of Stories
as your pickup location ...
Tonight's the night!

The Hunger Games Inspires Archers

The AJC picked up an AP article about how sales of archery equipment has dramatically increased recently, along with participation at archery ranges.

What is the cause.  The upcoming Olympic Games?  No.  The Hunger Games!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Poem of the Day April 22

(In honor of Chris, Little Shop's very own UPS Man)

Why I Have A Crush On You, UPS Man
by Alice N. Persons

you bring me all the things I order
are never in a bad mood
always have a jaunty wave as you drive away
look good in your brown shorts
we have an ideal uncomplicated relationship
you're like a cute boyfriend with great legs
who always brings the perfect present
(why, it's just what I've always wanted!)
and then is considerate enough to go away
oh, UPS Man, let's hop in your clean brown truck and elope !
ditch your job, I'll ditch mine
let's hit the road for Brownsville
and tempt each other
with all the luscious brown foods —
roast beef, dark chocolate,
brownies, Guinness, homemade pumpernickel, molasses cookies
I'll make you my mama's bourbon pecan pie
we'll give all the packages to kind looking strangers
live in a cozy wood cabin
with a brown dog or two
and a black and brown tabby
I'm serious, UPS Man. Let's do it.
Where do I sign?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Poem of the Day April 21

Selecting a Reader
by Ted Kooser

First, I would have her be beautiful,
and walking carefully up on my poetry
at the loneliest moment of an afternoon,
her hair still damp at the neck
from washing it. She should be wearing
a raincoat, an old one, dirty
from not having money enough for the cleaners.
She will take out her glasses, and there
in the bookstore, she will thumb
over my poems, then put the book back
up on its shelf. She will say to herself,
"For that kind of money, I can get
my raincoat cleaned." And she will.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Touch-a-Truck is Tomorrow!!!

One of Decatur's greatest annual events is Touch-a-Truck.  This got rained out on March 3rd and has been rescheduled for April 21st.

Callaway Building parking lot. 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Keep your fingers crossed that tomorrow stays dry!

Poem of the Day April 20

Have You Heard the Sun Singing?
by John Smith

Have you ever heard the sun in the sky
Man have you heard it?
Have your heard it break the black of night
Man have you heard it?
Have you heard it shouting its song, have you heard
It scorch up the air like a phoenix bird,
Have you heard the sun singing?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Poem of the Day April 19th

Unfortunate Location
by Louis Jenkins

In the front yard there are three big white pines, older than anything in the neighborhood except the stones. Magnificent trees that toss their heads in the wind like the spirited black horses of a troika. It's hard to know what to do, tall dark trees on the south side of the house, an unfortunate location, blocking the winter sun. Dark and damp. Moss grows on the roof, the porch timbers rot and surely the roots have reached the old bluestone foundation. At night, in the wind, a tree could stumble and fall killing us in our beds. The needles fall year after year making an acid soil where no grass grows. We rake the fallen debris, nothing to be done, and we stand around with sticks in our hands. Wonderful trees.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Poem of the Day April 18th

I Hear America Singing
by Walt Whitman

I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,
Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and strong,
The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,
The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work,
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deckhand
     singing on the steamboat deck,
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing as he stands,
The wood-cutter's song, the ploughboy's on his way in the morning, or
     at noon intermission or at sundown,
The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work, or of
     the girl sewing or washing,
Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,
The day what belongs to the day—at night the party of young fellows,
     robust, friendly,
Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Ann Patchett in the New York Times

I love author Ann Patchett.  It would be more correct, but less romantic, to say that I love her writing.  I also love that she is a co-owner of a real bookstore.

I love the New York Times.  No other newspaper in this country is at its level (though the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal cover politics and business, respectively, extremely well).

When Ann Patchett writes an op-ed piece in the New York Times, there is reason to read.  Ms. Patchett justly writes of her disappointment with the failure of the Pulitzer Prize board to name a winner of its fiction prize for this year, despite the selection of three finalists by the Pulitzer jury.

Please read the entire article.  But if you don't have time ...

Let me underscore the obvious here: Reading fiction is important. It is a vital means of imagining a life other than our own, which in turn makes us more empathetic beings. Following complex story lines stretches our brains beyond the 140 characters of sound-bite thinking, and staying within the world of a novel gives us the ability to be quiet and alone, two skills that are disappearing faster than the polar icecaps. 

Unfortunately, the world of literature lacks the scandal, hype and pretty dresses that draw people to the Academy Awards, which, by the way, is not an institution devoted to choosing the best movie every year as much as it is an institution designed to get people excited about going to the movies. The Pulitzer Prize is our best chance as writers and readers and booksellers to celebrate fiction. This was the year we all lost.

I would also wish to note that in her selection of Pulitzer-worthy novels, Ms. Patchett included Kevin Wilson's The Family Fang.  Mr. Wilson will appear at the Decatur Library on Wednesday, April 18th at 7:15 p.m., hosted by Georgia Center for the Book.

Poem of the Day April 17th

The Hand
By Mary Ruefle

The teacher asks a questions.
You know the answer, you suspect
you are the only one in the classroom
who knows the answer, because the person
in question is yourself, and on that
you are the greatest living authority,
but you don't raise your hand.
You raise the top of your desk
and take out an apple.
You look out the window.
You don't raise your hand there is
some essential beauty in your fingers,
which aren't even drumming, but lie
flat and peaceful.
The teacher repeats the question.
Outside the window, on an overhanging branch,
a robin is ruffling its feathers
and spring is in the air.

Monday, April 16, 2012

More Articles On Amazon

The New York Times posted two articles yesterday concerning Amazon.

The first article is mostly an editorial piece questioning the Justice Department's logic in going after Apple and five major publishers for price fixing on E-books, a policy that directly benefits Amazon's quest for more and more market share.

The second article deals with a publisher, Educational Development Corporation, that made a decision to no longer sell their 1,800 children's book titles through Amazon and forgo $1,500,000 in annual sales.  “Amazon is squeezing everyone out of business,” said Randall White, EDC’s chief executive. “I don’t like that. They’re a predator. We’re better off without them.

What happened in February to Christy Reed, a sales consultant in Pleasanton, Tex., was becoming all too routine. Her school district decided to order 16 copies of a science encyclopedia and a science dictionary but then completed the deal on Amazon. 

“I worked so hard to sell those books,” Mrs. Reed said. “I had to talk to so many different people. Then I lost the sale to a couple of clicks on the computer.”

She acknowledged that the district saved a few dollars but added: “I’m here, in the neighborhood. I went to school here. My kids went to school here. Yes, they got the books for less. But my earnings go back into our community. Amazon’s do not.”

Poem of the Day April 16

by Jon Scieszka

I think that I ain't never seen
A poem as ugly as a spleen.
A poem that could make you shiver,
Like 3.5...pounds of liver.
A poem to make you lose your lunch,
Tie your intestines in a bunch.
A poem all gray, wet, and swollen,
Like a stomach or a colon.
Something like your kidney, lung,
Pancreas, bladder, even tongue.
Why you turning green, goody buddy?
It's just human body study.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Poem of the Day April 15

From A Meal of the Stars: Poems Up and Down
by Dana Jensen


Saturday, April 14, 2012

Poem of the Day April 14

Today's poem is extra special because it was submitted to us!

by Michael Davis

It takes a lot
But not much
to destroy something as fragile as a rose. Love is not a rose.
No flower is so perfect as to bloom eternal.

In Memoriam: Mac Barnett

Mac Barnett
August 23, 1982 - April 13, 2012

Rest In Peace
It is with great sadness that we announce the death of children's book author Mac Barnett.  Mr. Barnett died shortly after his appearance at Little Shop of Stories when he suffered from what the coroner's office is calling "spontaneous combustion."  Barnett had complained of "a burning sensation" earlier in the day.

Mr. Barnett, who last resided in Oakland, California, was the author of several picture books, and had also written mystery novels for young readers.  Barnett was 29 years old.

Jon Klassen, who illustrated Barnett's picture book Extra Yarn, broke down hysterically when informed of Barnett's death.  "Mac zijn zwakzinnige," Klassen cried in his native Dutch.  "Een heus lammeling!"

On a happy note, Little Shop of Stories has signed, first edition copies of Mr. Barnett's final book, Chloe and the Lion, on sale now!  They're sure to become collectors' items.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Mac Barnett Tonight!

Something with Chloe,
Something with a lion,
Something for everyone:
Mac Barnett tonight!

Something with a whale,
Who has a blue tale,
Something for everyone:
Mac Barnett tonight!

Nothing with princesses, trucks, cars, or trains;
Bring on the science project and a lion to tame!

Strange situations,
  Weird complications,
Nothing portentous or polite;
Tragedy tomorrow,
Mac Barnett tonight!

Poem of the Day April 13

(Yes, I realize this would have been more appropriate yesterday...but it's too good to pass up)

It's Friday the 13th Tomorrow
by Kenn Nesbitt

It's Friday the 13th tomorrow.
A black cat just leapt in my path.
I'm not superstitious, but this might
explain why I'm failing in math.

By chance I walked under a ladder
a teacher had placed by the wall.
In class my umbrella popped open,
and that's why I tripped in the hall.

The salt spilled this morning at breakfast.
While walking I stepped on a crack.
I took off my shoes on the table.
It looks like my future is black.

This evening I busted a mirror
which means that the next seven years
are due to be filled with misfortune,
catastrophes, mishaps and tears.

With all the bad luck I'm confronting,
it seems that I'm probably cursed.
It may be the 13th tomorrow.
But Thursday the 12th is the worst.

April 12 Poem of the Day

I'm Late For School
by Gareth Lancaster

I got up late for school today,
And nearly missed the bus!
I hurried down the stairs,
Wolfed my toast, and caused a fuss!

I quickly threw books in my bag,
My pens, my lunch and shorts.
Grabbed my coat from out the cupboard,
Took my bat and ball for sports.

I slid across the kitchen floor,
And hopped around the cat!
Then expertly rolled over,
Jumped back up and grabbed my hat!

I belted out of our front door,
Spun round and swung it shut.
Saw the bus was waiting for me,
I felt I had time to strut!

I climbed aboard and then froze still,
And knew that things weren't right!
My friends fell down in fits of fun,
And pointed with delight!

My face went red, I couldn't breathe,
For in my haste I knew!
I'd forgotten to wear trousers,
Jumper, shirt, my socks and shoes!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

On eBooks

The growth of eBooks has been astounding.  A significant portion of readers prefer this format because of its relatively low cost, convenience, and portability.

While we're primarily a children's bookstore and eBooks have not made a huge dent in that particular book market, we know that it is growing.  Further, we sell adult titles and want to assist our customers in selecting and ordering eBooks.

So we at Little Shop were rather excited when a couple of things happened in late 2010.

First, a number of major publishers announced that they were shifting to an agency relationship with retailers for the selling of eBooks.  (Retailers would be merely acting as an agent in the transaction between publisher and reader.  Under such a system, publishers set the price for their product and retailers are bound to abide by their decision.)

Sometime later, Google and the American Booksellers Association -- the trade organization of independent bookstores of which we are a proud member -- announced an agreement whereby ABA members could sign up to sell Google eBooks.

How exciting!  We, a small, independent bookstore, could hand sell eBooks!  And we could do so in a way to be price competitive with behemoths like Amazon while offering superior service.

We signed up.  As there was considerable demand among independent booksellers, we were placed in a queue.  Then we had to work with our fantastic IT person to coordinate Google's system with our website.  Further, day-to-day business (and life) got in the way of a quick adoption of Google eBooks.  But, after time and a not inconsiderable financial investment, we got there.

The Google eBook system wasn't easy to work with.  We were in the process of making the process as simple as possible for our customers.  Daren, who documented his frustrating experience with a trial run of our system, was of great help.  We were just about ready to formally roll out a Little Shop eBooks extravaganza with publicity and in-store demonstrations and all that good stuff.

Unfortunately, bad things happen.

Last week Google announced that it is ending its relationship with the American Booksellers Association.  While the ABA is looking into alternatives, we've decided not to even bother with Google as we would be cut off at some point not within our control between right now and January 31, 2013.

Now the U.S. Department of Justice is suing Apple and five major publishers, claiming illegal collusion in their shift to the agency model for selling eBooks.  In the short run, this will probably allow retailers to set their own price on all eBooks.  This is to say that Amazon will be able to set prices on eBooks below cost in order to expand market share.  (On the other hand, my best guess is that publishers will go back to the agency model after a reasonable amount of time passes.)

eBook prices could be set so low that it will dramatically increase sales relative to physical books and dramatically decrease revenue for publishers.  It will also serve to further squeeze out independent bookstores who, given the substantial start-up costs of establishing an eBook system, will soon have no reasonable way to compete.

In so many ways, we're sorry that we can not serve our customers more effectively by offering eBooks at this time.  We hope that an alternative is found soon.

In the meantime, Little Shop of Stories will continue to strive to be the best independent bookstore for kids & the grownups they become in the observable universe.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Mac Barnett is Coming on Friday!!!!!

are cordially invited to attend
an incredibly anticipated author event for


Friday     April 13, 2012     7 p.m.

Little Shop of Stories

If you are a frequent customer at Little Shop, then at some point some person here has inevitably thrust at least a couple of different Mac Barnett books into your hands, saying something like "Read this! It's really, really great! Oh, gosh, I'm gushing again.  It's just that we love these books soooooooooo much!"

Every so often, an author of picture books is discovered who combines wit, a moral, and a tremendous ability to surprise.

Everyone at Little Shop began to fall in love with Mac Barnett's work a few years ago when Billy Twitters and His Blue Whale Problem appeared on our shelves.  Funny in an offbeat way.  Unpredictable twists.  Fun to read out loud.  When the great Jon Scieszka was here for the Decatur Book Festival a couple of years ago, the two of us bonded when we expressed more than just a little mutual bromance for this book.

This was followed by Guess Again!  Really clever.  Then Oh No! Or How My Science Project Destroyed the World, Mustache, and Extra Yarn.

In between, Mac has written a series of Brixton Brothers mystery books for middle grade readers.

Now he's back along side frequent collaborator Adam Rex with Chloe and the Lion, in which Mac and Adam become characters in their own picture book.  Really offbeat.  Insanely creative.

We have run into Mac at various conferences and have begged him to come to Decatur for the book festival or for any occasion at all.  A visit to the Southeast just didn't fit into his schedule.


We're utterly and phenomenally thrilled to be hosting
Mac Barnett!!!
this Friday, the 13th of April, at 7 p.m. right here at
Little Shop of Stories!!!


Poem of the Day April 11

by Shel Silverstein

If we meet and I say, "Hi,"
That's a salutation.
If you ask me how I feel,
That's consideration
If we stop and talk a while,
That's a conversation.
If we understand each other,
That's communication.
If we argue, scream and fight,
That's an altercation.
If we later apologize,
That's reconciliation.
If we help each other home,
That's cooperation.
And all these ations added up
Make civilization.

(And if I say this is a wonderful poem,
Is that exaggeration?)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

More on Amazon

A week ago I blogged about The Seattle Times articles concerning Amazon's lack of commitment to area institutions, its poor relations with publishers, and its dealings with states attempting to collect sales taxes.

Since that time, the newspaper published one more Amazon article -- this one about unforgiving work conditions in its warehouses.

Salon has also run an article about grants given out by Amazon to small publishers and book related nonprofits.  My favorite quote:

“It’s the bully on the playground handing you a lollipop,” says Shirin Yim Bridges, publisher of Goosebottom Books in San Francisco, which has not received a grant from Amazon. “I mean, what do you do?”

Poem of the Day April 10

My Feet
by Kenn Nesbitt

My feet, my feet,
I love my feet.
I think they're great,
I think they're neat.
They're pretty, pink,
and picturesque.
They look so perfect
on my desk.
sad to tell,
they also have
a funny smell.
So though I'm fast,
and though I'm fleet,
and though at sports
I can't be beat,
no team will pick
me to compete,
because they always
smell defeat.

Monday, April 9, 2012

One Day Without Shoes

Little Shop of Stories will be participating in Toms' One Day Without Shoes program.  There are lots of kids in this world who do not own a decent pair of shoes, leading to health issues.  Many schools require shoes for attendance.

For more information, click on the Toms website.

Tomorrow, on April 10th, Little Shop employees will be going without shoes.  We will be hosting our regular Tuesday Storytime at 11 a.m. sans shoes.

Join us.

Poem of the Day April 9

by A.A. Milne

John had
Great Big
Boots on;
John had a
Great Big
John had a
Great Big
And that
(Said John)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Poem of the Day April 8

by Laura Purdie Salas

Line after line of inky black birds
forming the flocks that shift into words.
Page after page of tales winging by,
singing a story against a
white sky.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Poem of the Day April 7

The Puffer Fish
by David Elliot

A trickster.
A clown.
A magician.
A buffoon.
One minute
she's a fish;
the next,
she's a balloon.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Poem of the Day April 6

Marie Lucille
by Gwendolyn Brooks

That clock is ticking
Me away!
The me that only
Ate peanuts, jam and
Is gone already.
And this is
"Cause nothing's putting
Back, each day,
The me that clock is
Ticking away.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Poem of the Day April 5

by Mary Ann Hoberman

How far from human beauty
Is the hairless hippopotamus
With such a square enormous head
And such a heavy botamus.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Poem of Day April 4

Calling All Readers
by Laura Purdie Salas

I'll tell you a story.
I'll spin you a rhyme.
I'll spill some ideas--
and we'll travel through time.

Put down the controller.
Switch off the TV.
Adandon the mouse and
just hang out with me.

I promise adventure.
Come on, take a look!
On a day like today,
there's no friend like a book.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Poem of the Day April 3

By Eric Finney

They were warm, brown eggs.
Now they’re fluffy, yellow balls
On legs.

The Seattle Times Writes About Amazon

The Seattle Times is apparently doing a whole series of articles about one of its hometown largest businesses, Amazon.

On Saturday they published an article concerning Amazon's lack of engagement with Seattle in terms of philanthropy.

On Sunday the Seattle Times published an article concerning Amazon's ham-fisted dealings with the publishing industry.

On Monday they published an article concerning Amazon's ham-fisted dealings with state governments who demand that Amazon collect sales taxes.

Apparently there will be one more article concerning the way that Amazon treats its warehouse workers.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Poem of the Day April 2nd

Hot Dog
by Mordicai Gerstein

Dear hot dog,
snug as a puppy
in your bready bun,
I love you.
I squeeze the sunny
up and down
your ticklish tummy,
and cover up
with relish and a blanket
of crimson ketchup.
You are so fragrant,
plump, and steamy.
I could

Sunday, April 1, 2012


If you're looking for an older chapter book or a young YA book for your child (or yourself), look no further! Sidekicks, by Jack Ferraiolo (who also writes for WordGirl), is out in paperback as of today, and it is AWESOME. It had never occurred to us to wonder what would happen if a superhero's sidekick and a supervillain's sidekick went to the same school- and discovered each other's secret identities. It seems like tons of stories are written about the hero or the villain, but this book proves that sometimes the sidekicks are way more interesting.

We're extra-excited about this book right now, because the author is very cool and has agreed to talk with our Heroes and Villains summer camp via Skype. Campers, start thinking of the questions you want to ask!

Poetry Month Has Begun!

Happy April, everyone! We love this month here at Little Shop because it's National Poetry Month! Every day for the next month we'll put a poem up on our blog. We also have Poems For Your Pocket that you can pick up at the register at the shop, and at the end of the month we'll have our annual Poetry Jam where kids are invited to read some of their favorite poems out loud. What a wonderful time of year!

April Poem

The morning moon is round and gold
Up in the misty milk-blue sky;
The towering poplar sways alone;
The birds are shouting one by one,
It's first of April, everyone!
In April foolery, that moon
Shines like a small and gentle sun.
                     --Gerda Mayer