There were a few years when I checked out only very large picture books for my toddlers. That’s because the small ones: The Tale of Mrs. Tiggywinkle, for example, or One Was Johnny, tended to find their way down the sides of the couch. So Babar and Madeline books — almost as big as a toddler themselves — were a much better bet if they were to be returned on time, or at all.
Now, my toddlers are grown, while Babar, Madeline, Johnny and Mrs. Tiggywinkle remain the same size (and the same age). I no longer lose things down the side of the couch, but I’m hoping that one day a passel of grandkids will have me diving between the cushions for yet another tiny, delightful but elusive book. To that end, I’m already stocking up.
The great thing about kids’ books and games is the fluidity with which they move around. Library books, by their nature, are read, returned, and read again. But other books, games, and puzzles are often gently used and passed down as our kids graduate from Goodnight Moon to Amelia Bedelia to Harry Potter.
And that’s where the Friends of the Library Kid-sized Book Sale comes in. On Saturday, April 11 the friends open the doors downstairs for folks of all sizes looking for a great deal on kids’ books, games, and puzzles. But before that, they need you.
Your donations of gently used books, CDs, DVDs, jigsaw puzzles and board games are welcome right up until the week before the sale. This way, you can unload the things your kids have enjoyed and let other kids enjoy them, while picking up new things.
And people like me, desirous of grandchildren (but not holding my breath) can pick up some great things for small visitors or the grandkids of my oh-so-fortunate friends. Sometimes you just have to live vicariously.
So dive into your couch cushions for the tiny works of Beatrix Potter and Maurice Sendak! Riffle through the bookshelves for those nearly new books! How many times can you watch the same DVD or listen to that audiobook? Have your kids moved on from Hungry Hungry Hippo to Monopoly or even Wii? From Raffi to Rhiannon?
We only ask that the books be in good shape, the games have no missing pieces, and that you find some other home for those VHS and cassette tapes.
You can bring your lovely donations to the library during open hours (please don’t leave books in the lobby). If you have more than a couple of boxes, please call ahead. Proceeds from the sale will go to build a lovely comfy bench for kids and their adults to curl up on with a good book.
Prickly Mrs. Tiggywinkle, washer of pocket-handkins and dicky shirt-fronts, charmed generations. Little Madeline always saved the day. Babar the Elephant had great adventures; Johnny lived by himself when not visited by tigers and monkeys, and he “liked it like that!”
My grandkids (if I ever have any) might rediscover these storybook characters, or fall in love with someone new — found between the pages of a book picked up at the Nelson Public Library’s annual Kid-sized Book Sale. And I can hardly wait to take them.
Meanwhile, I think I’ll do a little stocking up. Just in case.
Anne DeGrace is the adult sevices co-ordinator at the Nelson Public Library. Check This Out runs every other week.