We are big Sheree Fitch fans in my house. When Kait was around 4, we bought Mabel Murple for her and she instantly fell in love. So much so that we had to read it to her every day for a good solid month, and then about once a week or so for the next year. This book has since become a favourite of her younger sister (now age 5). We also own There Were Monkeys in My Kitchen, which has caused many laughs for both girls. And I plan on ordering Everybody’s Different on Everybody Street for my youngest for Christmas (shush—please don’t tell her!).
So, when I heard that Sheree had opened up her own bookstore in River John, NS, I knew I had to go. When I heard that this bookstore was modelled after the Mabel Murple character, I started making a plan for it to actually happen.
Being as the store is in River John and we live in PEI, well, that makes logistics a tad complicated, and so it ended up that it took us two years to get there (not, like, two solid years of actual travelling…we aren’t that far away!…but the planning and the “when should we go” type chats, kind of thing). Knowing that we were flying in and out of Halifax for our trip to St. John’s, NL, I began to turn those “when should we gos” into “let’s make this happen,” and when I found out that the day we were flying back to Halifax would be the last day for the 2018 season for the shop? Well, our journey was set.
Sheree has created such a haven for children here, with all the bright colours, the animals hanging around (horses, donkeys, sheep, cats, dogs…), and there’s even a little building dedicated to Mabel herself, showing her bedroom in all its purple glory.
The store itself is in an old barn and is just beautiful. Books galore but displayed in such a friendly, accessible way. This place makes you want to read, and oh my heart, isn’t that a lovely message to instill in children?
There’s a little nook where littles can curl up with a book, and the decorations throughout are full of whimsy, magic, and fun. It all adds up to the message of
books + reading = joy.
It’s that word—joy—that was on my mind as I stood in line for Sheree to sign some of her books for me and my children.
Note: Sheree sells books by all kinds of authors in her store, not just her own, and she’s super encouraging and promoting to all authors. But if you do wish to buy one of her books, she will happily sign it for you. She also makes sure that any book of hers that you’ve chosen is appropriate for the age of the intended reader because she cares.
But back to the joy. We purchased two of Sheree’s books—one for me, her first adult book called Kiss the joy as it flies; one for my youngest, Pocket Rocks—and a Susan Juby book (The Truth Commission) for my ten year old. Sheree chatted with Dani (age 5) about rocks and books, making my child feel so important. As she was signing my book for me, I introduced myself (since I had been chatting with her over Twitter). She knew immediately who I was, noting that she had copies of The Secret of Bowring Park for sale in her shop.
She also got really excited, announcing to everyone who was still in her store (with only 30 min to go before end of the season) that there was an “Author in the House” and asked me to sign the copies she had in her shop. I was a tad embarrassed given how many books Sheree has written compared to me, but I felt the warmth and the sentiment was appreciated.
Click here to read more about the wonderful Mabel Murple Book Shoppe & Dreamery.
Have you ever travelled to visit a bookstore? Which one?