Thursday 4 December 2014

Over the half moon

It's absolutely bucketing it down, and within seconds of breaking cover and entering the street I'm soaked, the growing bundle of books in the bag on my shoulder is beginning to weigh on me and I've not had any lunch. Essentially, I'm wet, tired and hungry. Then I spot a bright blue and white shop front peaking out of the grey.

Just the sight of Tales on Moon Lane is enough to brighten a rainy day, but entering the bookshop firmly puts your smile back in place.

Despite the lack of sunlight through the large, welcoming windows it was still a bright and airy shop, with splashes of colour from pictures, toys and lots of lovely books. All of which helped to brighten my mood even further as I recovered from the downpour that had intruded on my Books are my bag bookshop crawl. It is hard not to be impressed by the delights surrounding visitors to this wonderful children's bookshop.

Parents and children chose books together, with friendly booksellers on hand to answer any questions and generally be helpful. Recognising a book blogger from their Twitter photo I said hello and had a chat with a couple of those booksellers before continuing on my exploration, enjoying my surroundings and wishing there'd been a place like this available when I was a child.

During my browsing another bookseller, who I'd missed during the introductions, came over to speak to me. Jen introduced herself as having recently joined Tales on Moon Lane after a previous life in the children's department of a different bookshop. We immediately got stuck into conversation about our surroundings, bookshops and – of course – books.

It seemed a little mean when I asked her for a recommendation so early into her time at the shop, but Jen didn't bat an eyelid, immediately walking over to a shelf in the smaller, back part of the shop and picking up Holly Goldberg Sloan's Counting by 7s.

Over the past year or so, and for many before, I've had my fair number of recommendations from booksellers. All of them good: reasoned and well explained and enough to capture my attention and help me decide if a novel's for me. This was something different. Jen's whole face lit up as she introduced the book, but it was her words that mattered. The balance of praise and emotion, mixed in with a little about the story without influencing my approach to the book meant that when she asked if I'd like a different suggestion I had to be careful not to shout 'no' too loudly as I tried to snatch the book from her hands.

Never before have I been so keen to read a recommendation. And now I have read it I can confirm Counting by 7s is every bit as beautiful and enjoyable as Jen suggested it would be.

So why don't you find out what all the fuss is about? Head down to Half Moon Lane to meet the booksellers and hear their thoughtful bookish recommendations and I'm sure you'll be as impressed as I am.

Tales on Moon Lane
25 Half Moon Lane, Herne Hill, London, SE24 9JU
Tel: 020 7274 5759.

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