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BEST CHILDREN'S BOOKSTORE Minneapolis 1998 -

There's a miniature door-within-a-door at the front entrance of Wild Rumpus, a portal for children that immediately establishes the priorities of this charming Linden Hills book nook. Inside, cats lounge on the overstuffed furniture while parakeets and doves coo in their cages. Papier-mâché bats and fake cobwebs hang from the ceiling of the child-sized house at the back of the room, where a plastic-covered hole in the floor lets you see where the cats eat, down in the basement. As in all good children's bookstores, the reading fare spans the spectrum from basic picture books to science texts for adolescents and is helpfully organized by age and subject matter. What gives Rumpus the edge is its creative, mostly successful attempt to provide a setting that fascinates children as they wander around: They own this place, and that sense of empowerment gets associated with choosing and reading books.

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