of the Year
BY CLAIRE KIRCH
Wild Rumpus, which is marking its 25th anniversary in September, has yet another cause for celebration: the Minneapolis bookstore is PW’s Bookstore of the Year. It is the first children’s bookstore to win the award since PW launched the program almost a quarter-century ago. It is
also the first bookstore of the year to have a municipal pet store license, undergo
animal control inspections, and have an employee dedicated to animal care.
PW’s 2015 Rep of the Year, Jenny Sheridan of HarperCollins, nominated
Wild Rumpus, describing it as a “unique, charming, and magical place that
specializes in children’s books” and is “one of the best in the nation,” a destina-
tion in its community and a favorite stop for authors on tour. Authors are even
more effusive in praising Wild Rumpus. Kate DiCamillo describes a visit to
Wild Rumpus as “like walking into a story” and entering “a world of animals
and books and possibilities.” Soman Chainani calls Wild Rumpus his favorite
bookstore, declaring, “It’s an entire universe: once you go in, you feel like you
are walking through a portal into Narnia.”
It’s not surprising that visitors would compare Wild Rumpus to a storybook come
to life: its layout was inspired by Anne Mazer’s Salamander Room, a tale about a boy
whose bedroom gradually transforms into the outdoors. As one enters the 2,000-square-
foot retail space—either through the standard-sized door or a child-sized purple
door—there are shelves of books and table displays, much like any other bookstore.
After one passes the sales counter in the solar-powered space, however, the plaster on
the 18-foot ceiling splits open to reveal a mural that resembles a body of water (or,
some say, the sky), complete with a birchbark canoe. Plants creep up the brick back
wall and along the large windows.
“The idea is that books open up the world,” says Collette Morgan, the store’s
cofounder and head buyer.
Let the Wild Rumpus Start
A menagerie of more than a dozen animals plus fish in an aquarium live in the store.
Three cats and a chicken roam about freely. A tarantula lives in an enclosure near the
cash register. More small animals—a ferret, cockatiel, doves, chinchillas—dwell
Join the Aldens on a secret
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Learn more about this exciting
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Anniversary of The Boxcar Children
with Albert Whitman & Company