For a long time, the kids had no idea what Robbi and I do for a living. They know we’re “working” because we shut the door to the studio and tell them to amuse themselves in the living room. But for all they know “working” means eating pretzels and watching Netflix. Alden learned Robbi was an illustrator from one of the kids at her school. Once Kato found out that I am a writer, he naturally assumed that I was responsible for the words in all the books in the world.
These complicated concepts seem to have finally distilled into a collective understanding that Robbi and I make books together (some small subset of all the books in the world) and that we sell them in an attempt to make money.
Once all these dimensions clicked into one pleasing package, the kids realized that they had a golden opportunity to walk in our footsteps—and to reap the (imagined) riches that might result.
And so they took out their markers and made a banner.
They took out their scissors and folded single sheets of paper to make small books. (As explained in the tutorial in the back of recent Bobbledy title I Looked Out the Window And).
They took out their pens and wrote stories, to which they added drawings.
Instantly recognizing the shortcomings of their parents’ far-too-focused-on-books-alone strategy, they conned their mother into ordering a big bag of lollipops online, that their store might offer sweet treats to complement the reading process.
They dumped the staples from our staple bin and placed their various titles just so.
They convinced their father to lug their art table down to the corner of Queen Street and High. They set up shop. They beamed enthusiastically at the passers by.
And almost instantly, commerce happened.
People stopped to buy finished books and blank books or to have a hands-on tutorial on how to make their own book.
There were ample opportunities for real-time math lessons as they were forced to make change.
The list of available books contained such winning titles as: That’s Not Cool, Sometimes Dogs Eat Macaroni and Cheese, and Kitty Cat the Acrobat.
About twenty minutes after the shop had opened for business, the inventory was depleted. Kato gladhanded customers while Robbi and Alden raced inside to make more books.
It was a rather successful first day. I’m pretty sure the kids made more than Robbi and I did at our first day selling our wares at a book show.
But then again, we didn’t have the benefit of setting up next to Chestertown’s most popular bakery. Nor are we nearly as blessed with those elusive intangibles that help drive sales—youthful enthusiasm, earnest wonder, and…lollipops.