One awesome thing that happened on the last day of class, thanks to the amazing generosity of our independent bookstores, was an impromptu field trip to University Book Store! Semi-impromptu—I cleared it with the store/children's book buyer weeks ahead of time (I was afraid the UW summer school might say no (insert large-eyed emoticon here.))
Lauren, Kitri and Caitlin of the children's book department greeted the class with coffee and tea and GIGANTOR cookies. They had three tables full of books and spent a good half hour telling us about their favorites, the books that were selling like hotcakes, and titles they are excited about for fall.
BIG SELLERS/UBS FAVORITES: HUMOR
It's no yoke! Funny books always do well.
MONKEY WITH A TOOL BELT by Chris Monroe
(and the follow up, MONKEY WITH A TOOL BELT AND THE NOISY PROBLEM) both Carolrhoda 2007, 2009
Melanie Watt's SCAREDY SQUIRREL, Kids Can Press 2006 (lotsa other Scaredy Squirrel books now, too.)
HATTIE THE BAD by Jane Devlin, illustrated by Joe Berger, Dial 2010
BARK, GEORGE by Jules Feiffer, HarperCollins 1999
UBS loves all of the above titles because they are great for story time, appeal to different age ranges, are easy to sell by just opening up the book to certain pages (Monkey's tool belt illustration*, Hattie's underpants moment,) and are laugh out loud funny. Lauren, Kitri, and Caitlin appreciate that while the art in all of them is stellar, so is the text, and that's what makes them fall in love with a picture book enough to handsell it, equal parts stellarness (if that's a word.)
Can you guess what two other picture book genres sell well and are University Book Store favorites?
*Besides, who can resist a monkey named Chico Bon Bon?