When a shop has a name like "I Love Books" it's not hard to guess what's inside. Books... bookstore... got it.
But what if it was called something like "I Love Books, funky gifts, and toys I haven't seen since I was a kid?"
Well then, you might just want to take a closer look.
I Love Books, located at the Four Corners in Delmar, is a bookstore with a twist. Owner Melissa Steen, who has been at this location for 18 years, has a penchant for nostalgia and the eclectic. Besides being filled with books, the aisles of the converted shop are pleasantly stuffed with odd toys, pretty stationery, jewelry, and hard to find gifts with a retro flair.
The store is separated into two halves with the "grown up"" section up front. But what is really impressive about this place is the children's section located in the back of the store. The selection consists of award-winning and hard-to-find picture books, series books, and popular favorites mixed in with every kind of educational game, toy, or gadget you can think of. And it's not the run-of-the-mill variety. There are lots of quality and educational brands like Alex, Klutz, Oppenheim Award winners, Schylling, along with weird stuff you will remember from your childhood.
A few things that caught my eye:
- Shrinky Dinks - I haven't seen these things since I was double velcro-ing my Reebok high tops.
- Action Figures galore - And not the GI Joe Variety. Think Bigfoot Action Figures, Librarian Action Figure, Beethoven Action Figure.
- Astronaut Ice Cream - Not just for Science Museum gift shops anymore.
- The Fashion Plates game - Does anyone else remember this? I spent hours in my room as a kid pretending I was a fashion designer (and this was way before Project Runway).
There are also sections for science, magic, infants, arts and crafts -- even bathtime -- and at the very back you can find a few shelves of toys etc. marked 50 percent off.
According to the salesperson I spoke with, the store is "birthday central" on Saturday mornings with parents and kids doing last minute shopping for parties later on in the day. (Bonus: they have free gift wrapping.)
The shop is really conducive to browsing. It's the kind of place that you can find a gift for the person who has everything, or even for the person you don't know well at all. I mean, who wouldn't get a kick out of receiving a yodeling pickle or a collection of fake mustaches?
OK, don't answer that... but you get the picture.
I must admit I have driven by this place a bunch of times before stopping in. It's nothing flashy on the outside, but don't let that deter you. It's worth a visit.
You know what they say: you can't judge a bookstore by its cover.
Dawn is the author of Small-bany, a great blog about stuff to do for kids and parents.
I Love Books
380 Delaware Ave
Delmar, NY 12054
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