BEST CHILDREN'S BOOKSTORE - 2004
A children's bookstore that names itself after Maurice Sendak's most famous hubbub is obligated to maintain a certain degree of rebellion. Maybe that's why this Linden Hills mainstay allows so many of its resident wild things to strut and scratch and tell their own stories. From the Manx cats who have loved the overstuffed armchairs to the point of no repair; to Elvis, the bantam that plays hide and seek with aggressive toddlers, the animals at Wild Rumpus offer more opportunities for grabbing and petting than the Minnesota Zoo. The book selection is equally free-roaming. Alongside the standard Caldecott Medal winners, shelves are crammed with titles that will fit in any nook of the imagination--from poetry to world folk literature to mysteries and other spooky stuff. The staff works hard to make Wild Rumpus feel more like a community center than a place of commerce by hosting special events, such as a toddler story-hour and guest appearances by larger members of the animal kingdom. The staffers are also bona fide kid-lit geeks: We thought we'd stumped them when we requested a fifth-birthday gift for a spunky redheaded girl. Minutes later, a copy of Harriet Lerner's Franny B. Kranny, There's A Bird in Your Hair! emerged from a pile of options. It was, of course, a hit.