When he landed, he recognised a familiar face. But it wasn’t just a familiar face - that would have been weird. No, the familiar face was attached to a familiar body and some familiar arms and legs, and they all belonged to Misty Twiglet, Bumbleford’s own Pop Sensation. She had brought Cedric the Centaur with her, and also a pet pug, whose name was Love Missile F1-11.
“But what are you doing here?” asked Kevin, confused.
“Oh I buy ALL my books at Little Acorns Bookstore,” said Misty, mistily. “I’ve just been recording a duet with famous Irish songstress Lána Bus and I popped in on my way home to pick up the latest bestseller by Reeve and McIntyre.”
“By who?” asked Kevin. But he wasn’t here to discuss Misty’s obscure literary tastes. “I’m here to interview bookseller Jenni Doherty,” he said importantly.
“She’s been expecting you!” said Cedric the Centaur. “She’s just popped out to hide all her biscuits for some reason, but she said you should have a look around the shop while you wait for her. It’s not just books! There are a load of Interesting Old Typewriters everywhere!”
Kevin went into the shop, where he spent a while carefully examining the typewriters.
They were very interesting indeed, but none of them had keys big enough for his hooves, so he sat down on a handy chair to wait. Unfortunately, it broke under his weight. Fortunately it didn’t look valuable - it was a very old chair, and people had scribbled their names all over it.
Kevin tutted at their bad manners while he carefully hid the bits of the chair behind a handy dump-bin. He had just finished when bookseller Jenni Doherty came into welcome him to Little Acorns, and answer his Important Questions…
Kevin: What is the best thing about being a bookseller?
Jenni: Being a part of the local community, the camaraderie, the craic and special connection to people of all ages & doing something I love!
Kevin: What’s one way you’ve tackled a problem that your bookshop has faced during the pandemic?
Jenni: Despite being closed & only allowed to offer 'click & collect' from 12 April (having been closed from 24 Dec), I have been using the Bus Shelter directly outside my shop as a Book Bandit Speakeasy Sanctuary for hand-delivery on-foot of customers orders.
Kevin: A Book Bandit Bus Shelter for hand-delivery-on-foot?
Jenni: It really has made the experience for all involved more exciting as we try not to look suspicious and more like Sherlock Holmes. Also arranging to have cross-border book orders delivered to local convenient stores for those restricted by movement (within 5 kilometers) or isolating. Getting to know and respect more all the local delivery drivers, couriers, postal staff and even the local taxi and bus drivers. Plus other independent retailers in the same area as we've become our own little gang of warriors of support to each other.
Kevin: What are three books you absolutely love hand-selling to customers?
Jenni: The Moon Spun Round: W B Yeats for Children; The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery and Matilda by Roald Dahl
Kevin: Who is your favourite children’s book illustrator?
Jenni: Oliver Jeffers and Tony Ross - having met both of them also.
Kevin: What is your favourite biscuit?
Jenni: Has to be a Lotus Biscoff as I also enclose these as a little gift with book orders online and for local collections during the various lockdowns. Also included is either a coffee or cappuccino sachet.
Kevin: Hmmm. You wouldn’t happen to have any other biscuits at all? That you might have accidentally hidden?
Jenni: No. None at all. I absolutely have NOT buried a selection tin of teatime favourites in the back garden.
Kevin: Do you have a shop pet?
Jenni: I do, but not of the living-breathing kind. I was gifted a life-size cuddly toy Scooby Doo from a customer nearly 6 years ago and he has become the shop's mascot & 'resident guard dog' and sits in the children's book area. Children adore him (but are missing hugging him since last Feb 2020). He dresses up as a cat for Hallowe'en, as a reindeer at Christmas & wears the odd tie or hat on other occasions. I also have three papier maché life-size penguins who also dress up!
Kevin: Thank you! What is the best way for people to buy books from you if they can’t visit the shop in person?
Jenni: Folks can purchase directly by email to email@example.com or via the website where request is sent by email from www.littleacornsbookstore.co.uk On Social Media via Facebook, also via bookshop.org as an affiliate bookshop.
Follow Kevin's tour at #ReeveAndMcIntyreBigUpBookshops