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The Missing Bookshop

The Missing Bookshop

Katie Clapham
Stripes Publishing
ISBN: 9781788950428

Milly loves her local bookshop. She never misses a story time and loves to bring her pocket money to spend on books. The owner of this little independent bookshop is the wonderful Mrs Minty, there isn't much about books that she doesn't know. Sometimes Milly likes to set Mrs Minty a book challenge, can she think of a book with bears, or pirates; or a book with ponies or aliens? Mrs Minty knows every book in her store and will order anything she doesn't have on the shelves. She shares her passion for literature with Milly and Milly thrives on it.

Because Milly spends so much time in the bookshop, she begins to notice little things. She sees that Mrs Minty is getting older and that the shop is looking tired and worn. The shelves are still full of wonderful books but nevertheless, Milly is worried. After talking with her mother, Milly is concerned that the shop and Mrs Minty may need to be replaced or even worse, the shop may be closed. Milly could never let this happen. She is determined to help in some way, maybe Mrs Minty could take her on as an assistant?

When the unthinkable happens and Milly finds the bookshop closed, she fears the worst. However, she still maintains her feeling that the bookshop is irreplaceable. Milly is desperately worried about Mrs Minty and her shop and after weeks of thinking about what to do, she finally comes up with a plan - an advert for someone to help run the bookshop! A beautiful painting of Minty's bookshop placed on the boarded up windows would show everyone just how wonderful the shop is.

To Milly's surprise her painting is soon joined by many other works of art, all celebrating the bookshop and the incredible Mrs Minty. It seems as though many people in the community feel exactly the same way about the bookshop as Milly does.

Miraculously, Milly's advert works but not in the way she expected. Minty's bookshop finally reopens, with a surprising new owner, one that shares an extraordinary connection to the bookshop. Milly couldn't be happier, the loss of the bookshop would have left a huge hole in her life. Mrs Minty had shared so many stories with her over the years and the return of the bookshop means many more stories for years to come.

The author of this heart-warming story, Katie Clapham, is herself the owner of an independent bookstore. This book is a homage to booksellers who dedicate their lives to sharing stories, making sure the right books find their way to the right owners. Drawing on her own experiences, Katie was able to create a story that celebrates the special relationship between a bookshop and the community it serves.

This story is part of the Stripes' Colour Fiction Range and as such, is filled with beautiful colour illustrations. Kirsti Beautyman, the illustrator, wonderfully captures the spirit of Minty's bookshop; the relationship between Milly and her mother and the incredible Mrs Minty. Her illustrations, not only make this a wonderful book to read, but a joy to look at. This debut novel is the perfect book to celebrate Independent Bookshop Week.

96 pages / Ages 6+ / Reviewed by Emily Beale, librarian


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