You might think that once you've seen one bookshop, you've seen them all. I mean, they all sell books right? And they can only sell books that have been published, so you're going to find mostly the same books in each shop, right? It all sounds logical, but it is actually far from the truth.
There is something about small independent specialist bookshops that make them so much more magical that your mass market high street stores. If you go into Waterstones you'll find all the best sellers, new releases, and practically any book that you are looking for, but with the specialist shops, it is the books you are not looking for that make the trip worthwhile.
When I was walking through Wimbledon Village the other day, I came across a small bookshop I have never seen before. The window display stopped me in my tracks; it was was filled pretty picture books that I could not resist taking a closer look at.
When I walked inside, it was immediately obvious that Wimbledon Books & Music specialised in children's books. There were mobile planes hanging from the ceiling, soft toys on the shelves, and a reading area where little tots can sit on poufs and look through the books.
The display table on the right had tons of picture books that made me wish I was a toddler again. There was one about a baby monster called Grendel, who loves chocolate so much that he wishes the entire world was made of it - and then everything starts to melt. Another, called The Black Rabbit is one that I could imagine myself reading as a child. It is about a little rabbit who is nervous about a big black rabbit that appears to be following him, but it turns out to be his shadow. There was also one book I saw that made me very nostalgic. Does anyone else remember Mrs Pepperpot?
As well picture books, the shop also sold the classics. Granted, you can find classics such as The Jungle Book anywhere, but what made these books so special was the quality. Rather than being a simple paperback, or even just a hardback, these were cloth-bound like traditional books used to be made. 101 Dalmations by Dodie Smith was cloth-bound along the spine, then had a cute illustration on the front cover. Next to it was Ballet Shoes, which was entirely bound in pink cloth and finished with a ribbon tied to the front and back. These are not just books to read then send to the charity shop, they're ones you are going to want to hand down through the generations.
If you are looking for something a bit more interactive, then there are plenty of activity books, most of which are by Usborne, but there was also Where's Wally?, and a spoof spin-off, Where's The Doctor? from Doctor Who.
Although it it mainly a children's bookshop, they do sell a small range of adult fiction too. You can also find reference books, travel guides, and historical books on the Wimbledon area, plus leather bound notebooks and cards. If you have any children who love books as much as Roald Dahl's Matilda, then it is well worth a trip to Wimbledon Village.