Wednesday 8 July 2015

Welcome to wonderland

Crossing a busy, slightly grey, street, it's impossible to imagine what's hidden behind the small shop front of Chicken and Frog Books. Sure the shop front looks friendly enough – but as I said last week in my overall write up for Independent Bookshops Week – opening the door takes you to wonderland.

Starting with a hello, it took a matter of seconds for me to feel at home in this children's bookshop as Natasha (aka Mrs Chicken) welcomed me in and struck up a conversation.

Blue-haired and wearing a cheerful red dress, she was every bit as brilliant as her surroundings, which were a mass of colour and books and stuff, all of it dedicated to catching the attention of little (and slightly less little) people.

From the Lego minifig collections on the top of one set of bookcases to chickens along the till, with Ghostbusters, pictures, random displays and a delightful collection of gifts from children – all of the latter being proudly introduced during the course of our later conversation – this bookshop is simply alive with colour.

Not forgetting the books, which practically cry out to be read by young visitors as they curl up on the sofa at the back.

As a not so young visitor I was still in heaven, enjoying every detail and thinking how great it would be to curl up on said sofa with a book or two and enjoy my surroundings. And I did get to enjoy that sofa for a little while, as Natasha picked out recommendations and invited me to sit and take my time selecting the book was for me. Her enthusiasm meant it wasn't easy choosing just one from the brilliant selection picked out for me, so the invitation to sit and read was a winner. Selecting The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M Valente, it was time to introduce myself properly and ask more about the shop.

At just a couple of years, Chicken and Frog has grown up with its customers, something that made me even more impressed as we talked about all the goings on. This includes a 'classroom' tucked away at the back of the shop for book events and children's parties, and a whole raft of other activities for youngsters.

I wish I'd been lucky enough to grow up alongside a bookshop.

Chicken and Frog Bookshop
7 Security House, Ongar Road,
Brentwood, Essex, CM15 9AT
Tel: 01277 230068


  1. That bookshop is amazing. Sadly my nearest book store is 30 mins away in a car and its not even an independent :(

    Amanda @

    1. It really is amazing!
      I feel your pain at the distance from a bookshop, but remember any bookshop is better than the internet!


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