Saturday, September 30, 2006

Children's Books Display - Part 22

Nearly as important as the permanent interior display, was putting one together for the store's window. The window display needed to get people into the store. It also needed to not only announce that changes had been made to the children's section, but needed to physically reflect those changes as well.

Even at the beginning of construction on the main display, I thought about the window display. I sketched out rough ideas in order to decide what I'd need to populate the space. As mentioned earlier, I didn't want to build a bunch of additional characters who only had a one month use, so I tried to use characters meant to go into the permanent display, but whose initial absence there wouldn't impact the effect of the permanent store display.

Eventually I decided that four characters would be plenty, accompanied by some interesting effects and carefully selected books.


Here's a forward view through one of the windows, featuring the monkey. The monkey is the only character I created with the double duty of being in both displays in mind. Here it hangs by its tail. In the display it will be seated on a stump.

The boy and monster were made exclusively for the display. Details about each can be read in earlier posts. The word balloons are simple paper constructions hung by fishing line. The "floating" books are fake, assembled in much the same manner as the prop books constructed for the main store display. They are essentially rectangles of cardboard covered with white paper, which color photocopies of selected book covers glued to either side. They are suspended from the ceiling by fishing line so that they slowly spin alternating covers.

The books I selected were all carefully selected by me, and for the most part were all classics. I was also sure to only use books that the store carried, though the cover art might differ. I was tempted to choose only out of print books that were favorites of mine as a child, but thought customer queries could be frustrating for both the customers and the staff. Besides, as a signal of upgrades to the children's section, I thought it would be better to actually make people excited about books they could take home right away.

The fish is something I made about a year and a half ago for a friend of mine. He was generous enough to lend it back to me for the duration of the window display, saving me from creating something else that would use that vast expanse of empty wall.

This was fortuitous. About six months ago I found a large amount of cloth in a thrift store, that I couldn't pass up. The cloth featured large images from a number of fairy tales such as "Little Red Riding Hood," "Rapunzel" and others. I had no idea what I was going to do with it, but loved the design of the images. I still have no idea what I'm going to do with it, but in the meantime, it made the perfect backdrop for this adjacent window. Against the cloth I placed three selections of myths and folktales aimed at children.

Like the hanging books, the real books chosen for the window display were carefully selected by me. I tried to pick a good cross selection, leaning more towards outstanding illustration, as well as old chestnuts. This picture was taken just a couple hours ago, and as you can see there are gaps. This is a regular occurrence, meaning that I chose pretty well. The green box housed an open copy of the fantastic new Maurice Sendak pop-up book, "Mommy" (more about this book in an upcoming post). The store's sold every copy already.

One of the pleasant surprises has been the reaction to the window by an audience I hadn't considered so much when putting it together. The goal was to get parents and kids into the store, and kids to want to return. Pleasantly surprising is seeing older customers, leaving the store with their copies of Noam Chomsky, stopping outside and stating "I remember that book," as their faces light up with pleasure.

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