By Charly SHELTON
Once Upon A Time, the nation’s oldest children’s bookstore, celebrated its 50th anniversary Sunday at the Harvest Market in Montrose. To mark the occasion, store owner Maureen Palacios and the whole OUAT staff came out to take over the west end of the market near Wickham Way where they had a large booth, special sales, free cake and more.
Children and book lovers of all ages filtered in and out of the booth throughout the morning to peruse the selection of books and free promotional materials from publishers, despite the sweltering temperatures in the 90s. As the day progressed, several celebratory cakes were cut and pieces passed out to well-wishers and friends. At 1 p.m., a crowd of children and parents assembled for story time by renowned children’s book author, David Shannon.
“I see some writers in here right now,” Palacios said, addressing the crowd. “And there is a very famous writer, a very famous illustrator, who we’ve had in our store a number of times and we always laugh. We laugh very hard because he’s funny and he writes and illustrates some very funny, funny books.”
Shannon is known for the “Duck on a Bike” children’s book that he wrote and illustrated in 2002, as well as for “A Bad Case of the Stripes” published in 1998 and the wildly popular “David” series of books, published since 1998. Shannon is now promoting his new book, “Duck on a Tractor,” the sequel to “Duck on a Bike.”
“We are launching the publication of my new book, ‘Duck on a Tractor,’ so I’m here with Once Upon a Time. They’re celebrating their 50th anniversary and we’re old pals, so we’ve got all kinds of things to celebrate today,” Shannon said.
Shannon held a story time for the assembled audience, reading his new book, and then everyone lined up to get their copy signed.
“It went swimmingly in the heat. And everyone was excited to see David. It was such a fun event. David wowed them,” Palacios said. “They kept coming; people left and then they came back because it was too hot, so he was there until 3:30 signing. There were way more [people]than I had anticipated or thought given the weather.”
Shannon enjoyed the event, as he has always enjoyed coming to OUAT. He has done several signings and events at the shop over the years for the “David” books and others as they are released.
“I’ve been stopping by here a long time, I don’t live too far away. They are my favorite independent bookstore,” Shannon said. “It has always been great here. Maureen is terrific about getting people to come out and listen to a story. And they run a very tight ship, but it’s also a very goofy ship.”