Let’s face it, these days there aren’t very many brick-and-mortar bookstores - let alone ones that focus on children. Our buying habits have changed over the years, leaving independent bookshops with a not-so-happy ending. Some shops have managed to make it, though.
One of our favorites is Monkey See, Monkey Do in Clarence. The adorable book store has quite a story to tell. Kim Krug and her mom, Kathleen Skoog, opened shop in 2009. If you ask them how they’ve made it this long, they’ll tell you they’ve survived on grit and determination. They are committed to their mission of helping children find a love of reading. They also receive quite a bit of support from the community.
The store is very cozy. The hardwood floors, intricate lighting and monkey decor make you feel comfortable right away. There’s a reading nook, with little chairs for little readers. At Monkey See, Monkey Do they like to bring life to the books they offer.
They have craft hours, story time events and many other activities kids and parents will love – many of them free. In 2015, the shop started a new chapter with the addition of princess parties. The parties are such a huge hit that they sell out quickly.
We decided to check out a party. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. We walked in to tables set with beautiful china, it was a real tea party. Talk about a fairy tale. Pretty soon, there were 15 little girls, all dressed as Rapunzel, ready for fun. It was adorable.
Then, the moment they’d all been waiting for happened with the arrival of Rapunzel. She was very sweet. She read a few stories, talked to the girls, asking them their name and age. She answered questions and took it all very seriously. Then, it was tea time.
Pink lemonade tea filled their pretty cups. The girls ate strawberries and scones as Rapunzel walked around, talking to each little princess and even giving out autographs. My sweet Emma was over-the-moon happy and can't wait to go again.
The event lasted about an hour, then all were welcome to peruse the store. We bought a book and made our way out. It was a lovely time. The parties are held a few times a month, but again, they do sell out.
From the moment you walk into the tiny Clarence shop, you can feel the joy and happiness all of the books can offer.
It is clear that Kim and Kathleen love what they do and surely they agree with Dr. Seuss, who famously wrote, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
Location: 9060 Main St., Clarence
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 3 .m. Saturday.
Princess Parties: ages 3 and up, $15. The next party is "Jasmine's Springtime" on May 21. A full list can be found on the store's website.