But Kevin wasn’t all that interested in ice cream - it was too cold, and not biscuity enough. He wondered what exciting biscuits would be waiting for him at Halfway Up The Stairs in Greystones?
When he landed outside the shop he found that it wasn’t half way up any stairs at all, it was just on a street, like a normal shop. To his surprise, his friend Cardigan Faun was there, along with all his family. “I’m certainly meeting a lot of people from back home in Bumbleford on this International Bookshop Tour,” said Kevin.
“That’s because this picture of a bookshop was painted by Sarah McIntyre, and we’re the people she likes drawing best,” explained Cardigan Faun.
“Who?” said Kevin. “And what do you mean, picture?”
“This is a picture we’re in,” said Cardigan Faun. “It’s a very nice one, too. It was done in watercolour.”
It was all getting a bit meta for Kevin. “You’ll be telling me next I’m just a picture of a flying pony,” he said. “But I am not, I am an actual real live flying pony, and also a roly-poly one, which is the Best Sort. Anyway, I’m mainly here for the biscuits I mean books.”
Luckily, just at that moment, the picture of a door popped open and a picture of Mrs Cardigan Faun came out to welcome him with a nice big plate of biscuits.
“Are those just a picture of biscuits?” asked Kevin, suspiciously.
“No, they’re real enough!” laughed Mrs Cardigan Faun. “And when you’ve eaten them, come inside and meet Trish Hennessy - she’ll answer all your booky questions.”
Kevin: What is the best thing about being a bookseller?
Trish: Getting the right books into the hands of children
Kevin: What’s one way you’ve tackled a problem that your bookshop has faced during the pandemic?
Trish:Teaming up with Sarah Webb, we have hosted monthly Children’s Books Salons, bringing authors & illustrators (including Philip Reeve & Sarah McIntyre!) and children’s books experts together in conversations held on Zoom, to an adult audience of children’s book lovers. We also have brought our personal touch to online transactions by providing a personal recommendation service, and handwriting cards for all postal transactions.
Kevin: What are three books you absolutely love hand-selling to customers?
Trish: Diary of Pig series by Emer Stamp; Boot by Shane Hegarty & Ben Mantle; Here we Are by Oliver Jeffers (and of course The Roly Poly Flying Pony books, and we love Grumpycorn too!!)
Kevin: Who is your favourite children’s book illustrator? (Other than Reeve & McIntyre…)
Trish: Oliver Jeffers
Kevin: What is your favourite biscuit?
Trish: Plain chocolate digestives. Would you…
Kevin: Ooh! Don’t mind if I do… (TWO HUNDRED PLAIN DIGESTIVES LATER) Do you have a shop pet?
No. I do have a lab called Simba but he’s a bit nuts so I wouldn’t trust him for a second in the bookshop!
Kevin: What is the best way for people to buy books from you if they can’t visit the shop in person?
Trish: Visit halfwayupthestairs.ie!
You can follow Halfway Up The Stairs on Twitter - @HalfwayUpBooks - Instagram - halfwayupthestairsbookshop - and on Facebook.
And follow Kevin's tour at #ReeveAndMcIntyreBigUpBookshops!