Seeing old friends with whom you have a Facebook connection is a strange and new experience. Anna and I were good friends in high school, but she moved with her family back to Minnesota after her first year of college and I hadn't seen her since. We've managed to stay in touch even before Facebook, but since the advent of social networking I know when she's read a good book and she's seen pictures of my wedding. Catching up is a process of relating all the things that we're careful not to post to the whole world. It's a new kind of reunion.
In addition to catching up on the last decade or so, Anna presented me with a pile of writing I'd given to her when she left for Minnesota. All sorts of goofy stories and poems. I had no memory of most of the stuff and was a little surprised that Teenage Amy had been so prolific. I was not surprised to discover I'd written an entire poem about lint. Man, was I a weird kid.
Anna acted as our Minneapolis guide and we set off to visit The Red Balloon, an excellent children's bookstore in St. Paul, where we played with puppets and signed some books.
After visiting the store we went to lunch and ran around the Walker Sculpture Garden, and then headed over to Wild Rumpus, another children's bookstore in Minneapolis.
Having had a not-so-stellar store event the previous day, I had braced myself for more disappointment, but when we approached Wild Rumpus the first thing we noticed was this.
You know a bookstore is going to be great when the bookseller has taken the time to draw your characters and put them in the store window.
You know it's going to be really great when one of the store cats is taking the time to read your book.
And you know it's going to be ridiculously awesome when the person who recreated your characters took the time to color in the backs of their heads. I LOVE WILD RUMPUS.
There aren't enough good things to say about this bookstore, so I'll let the pictures speak for themselves. Along with my comments under the pictures.
AAAAAAAHHH!! BRIAN FROUD!!! I can never meet Brian Froud, I'm too much of a deranged fan and there's a strong likelihood that my love will terrify him, just like it terrifies David Wiesner (I'll save that story for another day). But Brian Froud!!!
The ceiling of Wild Rumpus. The pictures don't do justice to the crazy awesomeness/awesome craziness.
Wild Rumpus is big on the store pets. I've seen a lot of bookstore cats, but cats were just the beginning of the Wild Rumpus menagerie...
Is that terror you see in my eyes because I'm holding onto a live chicken? A little. Meet Carl Sagan, the hen.
Wild Rumpus employee Drew with a ferret whose name I think was Baby.I gave my book talk for a great group of readers, their parents, and Ethel, who may or may not have been flattered to be inspiration for my art.
With a bookstore like this supporting my event, what kid could resist coming?
Wild Rumpus has definitely made it on my growing list of Best Bookstores Ever. Today we head out to visit a friend in the wilds of Wisconsin, and then tomorrow we head further east to Chicago. We've been on the road for two weeks and we have four more places to visit. Onward!