‘The I Wonder Bookstore’ Celebrates, Pokes Fun at Books

Books Entertainment Reviews

In the category of books that seem to be for children but aren’t quick reads, The I Wonder Bookstore arrives in bookstores today.

Today, like any other day, customers will come to the I Wonder Bookstore looking for special books of all kinds.

Telling a fanciful story of a bookstore that sells only books about books (and of the purveyor of said books), each little book section begins with a customer coming in looking for a specific type of book. They begin with, “I wonder…” and then go on to describe what they are looking for. The bookseller then brings forward a few candidates. The story then describes each of the candidates, with cute illustrated scenes, words, lists, and all kinds of descriptions. The customer chooses one of the options, and then leaves, satisfied.

The table of contents of The I Wonder Bookstore itself is quite clever, being arranged like a bookstore shelf. The sections of the book are arranged by topic, each with a few sub-sections named on book spines (see image). You, the reader, can refer back to this page when you’re looking for (fictional) books about specific types of books.

Customers come into the store looking for any nature of books about books, from realistic ones—such as books about libraries or books about how to make books—to more unusual fare—such as books on underwater libraries and “How to Grow a Tree That Writes Books.” Each of the offered books is profiled in detail. Then, as soon as the customer selects their book and leaves, another one arrives. The bookstore owner never has a chance to rest or to get any bookstore-related work done in between customers, but he (almost) always finds the right book for the customer.

The story ends with a clever joke that I won’t spoil for you. But you’ll laugh. Or at least crack a knowing smile.

The I Wonder Bookstore has a cute theme that makes you think about the nature of books. It’s perfect to savor yourself, or to read with a child who can help you pick out all the little details, and contemplate what some of the books would be like. You’ll likely read it and re-read it and re-read it, noticing new details each time. Ask your kids which are their favorites. I recommend this lighthearted read to the young and young at heart.

The I Wonder Bookstore comes out today from Chronicle Books.

Note: I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

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