My local bookshop, the Big Green Bookshop in Wood Green, is really nice. I feel a special connection to them because not only did they host events to launch my books but the owners, Tim and Simon, have met my parents and my parents-in-law and been nice to them all. They know my daughter’s name and have even kept an eye on her in the buggy while I dashed across the road to Sainsbury’s. In Yiddish, they are what one might call mishpucha, part of the wider family.
Not only are they nice people – and you can see just how nice by looking at their blog here and here – but they run a singing and storytime session for kids three times a week on a donate what you fancy basis. With tea and coffee. In fact my friend When You Are That Woman wrote about how nice they are ages ago here.
But one of the reasons I am particularly full of love for them at the moment is they quite happily take suggestions for kids’ songs. So at the Big Green Bookshop the wheels on the bus still go round and round but the nannies on occasion snog, the dads knit, and the mums think deep thoughts. No ageism or sexism on us thank you very much. I’ve not yet suggested the verses we sing in the car, where the teens scratch their arses and the tramps drink special brew, but I’m sure they’d allow it. What’s more, when a child in the shop suggests an elephant for Old MacDonald’s Farm, an elephant it is. E-I-E-I-O.
Their willingness to adapt lyrics has made me examine the words myself. I remember reading in Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes that nowhere in Humpty Dumpty is there any suggestion that Humpty is an egg. Similarly, I have realised that there is no reason to suspect that Old Macdonald is a man. I’ve not yet suggested to Simon and Tim that the lyrics should occasionally be “And on that farm she had an elephant” but the reason I love them so much is that I know they’d be receptive.
Their website where you can order books: http://www.biggreenbookshop.com/