He followed the smell all the way to the Cadbury’s Chocolate Factory. Nearby, clustered around its triangular village green, was Bournville, and there under a wavy roof was the Bookshop on the Green.
But to Kevin’s disgust, it was full of unicorns!
Kevin hated unicorns, they were so full of themselves, always posing under waterfalls with their rainbow manes and glittery hooves. They would probably have eaten all the biscuits too, he thought, as two friendly squirrels guided him down to land on the bookshop roof. That would be just the sort of thing unicorns would do - they had No Consideration For Others.
Luckily, his friend Daisy was waiting for him, and she did have Consideration For Others. She had so much of it that she had saved Kevin some biscuits, which she brought out on a plate to welcome him. That was the sort of welcome Kevin liked best, and while he was eating it Daisy said,
“Don’t worry about all the unicorns everywhere, it’s always like this here. When you’ve finished all those biscuits you can come inside and I’ll introduce you to bookseller Sarah Mullen, she’s ace. Oh, you HAVE finished all those biscuits - that was quick!”
They went inside the shop. A jellyfish who was sitting in her bowl on the bench outside nudged the grumpy unicorn who was sitting next to her.
“Hey, Grumpycorn, it looks as if that roly poly flying pony is doing a tour of bookshops. Maybe you could do that too! It’s a very good look for a horse-based mythical animal.”
“It sounds AWFUL,” said the unicorn. “And DON’T CALL ME GRUMPYCORN!”
Kevin: What is the best thing about being a bookseller?
Sarah: Recommending books to customers and seeing their faces light up when you match them with the perfect volume. And discussing favourite books which leads to discovering new authors I may never have otherwise read.
Kevin: What’s one way you’ve tackled a problem that your bookshop has faced during the pandemic?
Sarah: All team members had children to home-educate so when lockdown happened, we couldn't facilitate a click and collect service. But we stayed in touch with our customers via social media and newsletters, shared recommendations, promoted our online platforms and made brilliant seasonal window displays - so our customers were there and eager to return when we finally reopened in April.
Kevin: What are three books you absolutely love hand-selling to customers?
Sarah: Two Brothers and a Chocolate Factory by Juliet Clare Bell and beautifully illustrated by Jess Mikhail - I commissioned this preschooler book about the Cadbury Brothers 6 years ago and it fills me with pride every time a copy's sold. The Salt Path by Raynor Winn. American Dirt by Jeanne Cummins (brilliant for hooking in new adult readers as it grabs your attention from the start). But it's a very difficult choice as there are so many books l love hand-selling!
Kevin: Who is your favourite children’s book illustrator? (Other than Reeve & McIntyre…)
Sarah: We do love Nick Sharratt - he's the Patron of the children's book festival we run, Bournville BookFest - and his instantly-recognisable illustrations really do encourage children to pick up books and try new stories. Sarah McIntyre’s cover for the "Pugs of the Frozen North" has a similarly magnetic effect!
Kevin: Oo, can I be part of Bournville Bookfest? That sounds fun!
Sarah: You can, indeed! In fact, we already have a booking for Saturday, 11 September listed on the website. And a Grumpycorn event, too!
Kevin: Fabulous! I'm sure there will be lots of chocolate biscuits... and hopefully not too many unicorns. Another question, do you have a shop pet?
Sarah: What a great idea! We need one :)
Kevin: What is your favourite biscuit?
Sarah: Custard cream.
Kevin: Mine too! (Dives headlong into the Bookshop on the Green’s biscuit cupboard.)
Kevin (muffled): Nom nom nom. What is the best way for people to buy books from you if they can’t visit the shop in person?
Sarah: Our orderline is: firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you scroll down to the bottom of our event page, you can buy all four of the books about you!
Kevin: Wait, what... are there books about me?
Visit Bookshop on the Green's website at the Bournville Hub and you can follow them on Instagram - thebookshoponthegreen , Twitter - @BookshopotGreen - and on Facebook. And follow Kevin's ongoing tour at #ReeveAndMcIntyreBigUpBookshops!