Monthly Archives: October 2013

Rescued Treasures

Elizabeth Bluemle - October 31, 2013

cranberry books“Out of print” is one of the saddest phrases I know. Every year, I compile a list of Rescued Treasures heralding the return of beloved books that had been sent to pasture. I am always on the hunt for these, and turn to publishers like Purple House Press, who are responsible for some of my all-time favorite reprints, such as Miss Suzy by Miriam Young and Arnold Lobel, Old Black Witch by Wende and Harry Devlin, and The Brothers Lionheart by Astrid Lindgren.
This year, Purple House is bringing back The Marvelous Inventions of Alvin Fernald by Clifford Hicks in paperback, The Giraffe That Walked to Paris by Nancy Milton and Roger Roth, and two more popular books by the Devlins, A Cranberry Halloween and A Cranberry Christmas.
(Side note: speaking of Halloween, I have to say I really miss the Georgie books by Robert Bright. A couple of them came back into print in the late 90s, but are back OP again.)
Harper is celebrating the 75th anniversary of Gertrude Stein’s The World Is Round (illustrated by Clement Hurd) with a facsimile edition of the original — meaning that it features the original blue and white line art on rosy pink paper. Ahhhh, lovely. I discovered this picture book in college and was taken by its distinctively Steinian repetitions and convolutions. Thacher Hurd has written an introduction for the new edition.
As blogged about early this year, Random House, much to my delight, is re-issuing the Ruth Chew everyday magic books, beginning with What the Witch Left and No Such Thing as a Witch. Wahoo!! I love these books, and so do young readers.
I know there have been many more delights reissued this year. Publishers, feel free to add yours in the Comments section! Let us celebrate your reissues.
P.S. It’s a sad truth that often, reissues just don’t have the kind of sales and marketing budgets allocated to new titles, so all too often, they fade back OP again because the teachers and librarians and nostalgic parents who might have snapped them up don’t ever know they were available again. I wish there were a better way to get the word out! If anyone has a brilliant idea, let us know.

A Great Bookstore Video

Josie Leavitt - October 29, 2013

Ever since my first trade show in 1996, Carol Chittenden has been a mentor. I have learned so much from her book wisdom, her kindness and her intelligence. I often marvel at her seemingly boundless energy and fount of creativity. Just when I think she can do no more, I get a video in the mail created by her staff, featuring none other than Carol as Charlotte from Charlotte’s Web, a perfect literary match, celebrating books.
The staff at Eight Cousins clearly love their jobs and what a great staff they seem to be. So: crank up the volume and get inspired and enjoy. Now, if I could just figure out how to get as much done as well as Carol in a day, I’d be set.

A Very Odd Reading Weekend

Elizabeth Bluemle - October 28, 2013

Each year, as many of you know, the Flying Pig publishes a 16-page full-color catalog (which we inaccurately refer to as “the newsletter,” even though it’s rare we disseminate actual store news in its pages). We feature around 125 books, which strive to comprise a mix of the best of the best books published this year, staff favorites to recommend to children and adults. As I get closer and closer to the newsletter deadline and try to cram more and more books in so I don’t miss something spectacular, my reading mix becomes increasingly strange. More on that in a bit.
In addition to choosing only the best of what we’ve read this year, we also want a range of genres and styles. It would be easy for the middle grade picks to be overrun by fantasy and high-concept wackitude, the kinds of books that grab attention away from quieter solid titles about everyday adventures, friendship, animals, etc., books that are less flashy but might have an equal or greater lasting impact on young readers’ minds and hearts. (I myself am a big fan of fantasy and wackitude, so I have to beware of not overloading my selections in those areas. Also, I do know that fantasy and wackitude can also be powerful and meaningful. But you know what I’m getting at.)
We also want to include small press titles, quirky finds, and books that lie outside my own personal interests but are treasures for other kinds of readers. I want to make sure there’s a healthy balance between fiction and nonfiction, since some customers read almost solely one or the other. Happily, having a staff of booksellers also reading and recommending books for the newsletter makes for a lot of diversity. We range from 17 to 70, both male and female. Not too shabby. We could be more diverse (this is Vermont, after all), but we try to cover our bases thoughtfully.
All of which brings me to today. While this morning and afternoon’s reading hasn’t included any nonfiction or quirky small press offerings, it has been decidedly … unusual. So far, I have read the following: Prisoner B-3087 by Alan Gratz, Fortunately, the Milk, by Neil Gaiman, and Lockwood & Co.: The Screaming Staircase, by Jonathan Stroud. I think it’s safe to say that never have I had a stranger muddle of emotions after a day’s reading.
Prisoner B-3087 is really powerful stuff, the somewhat fictionalized true story of Yanek Gruener, a Jewish boy in Poland who spends years under the worst of the Nazi regime, first in the Warsaw Ghetto and then in multiple successive work and death camps. He loses nearly all of his family, and all of his friends. He survives because, as his Uncle Moshe urges him, “We cannot let these monsters tear us from the pages of the world.” The book does an admirable job of holding up the horrors of the Holocaust to a clear, un-sugarcoated light without tipping into the kind of gruesome detail that tends to flip such unimaginable terror almost into unbelievability, the kind of experience we, as 21st-century privileged and relatively safe Americans, just cannot absorb as having been possible. Does that make sense? It is a feat to describe something so utterly alien and horrible, tragic and enraging, into a picture that we can even take in. It is unbearable to live in Yanek’s skin, and yet Alan Gratz makes it possible, allowing us to glimpse what made this boy a survivor, a combination of pure luck—there were so many close brushes with death—intelligence, resourcefulness, character, and sheer determination. For the real-life Yanek Gruener (who goes by “Jack” in America) to have survived, fallen in love with his wife, Ruth, also a survivor, have come to the U.S. and raised a family, to spend their lives working and traveling to speak of these experiences is a testament to courage and generosity of spirit. There are so many powerful books about this time in history, and Prisoner B-3087 is another fine addition.
I will say that, while intended for readers ages 10-14, I can’t think of too many 10- and 11-year-olds I’d unhesitatingly hand this book to, as good as it is. There are other introductions to the horrors of the Holocaust that provide a less steep ramp into the everyday unimaginable nightmares and terrors people endured. And yet, at some point, we all must face this past and its many lessons and questions. For those ready to handle it, Prisoner B-3087 is an unforgettable book.
It was hard to shift gears to another book after that. It felt disrespectful to leave Yanek’s world so quickly, without the proper time for the grief and reflection such a story deserves. But the newsletter deadline calls, and great stacks of books await, and so next I found myself with The Screaming Staircase in hand. I could not have read something realistic and wrenching after Prisoner B-3087, so a middle-grade novel about ghostbusters in old-fashionedy London seemed perfect. There’s a lot of death in this one, as well, though, which made me ponder once again how casual and normalized death has become in children’s books, especially adventure and fantasy. Not just off-screen references to death, but live-action descriptions of violent ends and decaying corpses and other things that would have given me nightmares as a kid, but which today’s youth (with sensitive exceptions, of course) seem largely inured to.

But that’s just a teeny part of the delightful, suspenseful world of The Screaming Staircase. Why is old-time London so eternally cozy to American readers? Stroud, who showed his irresistible character-creating chops in the Bartimaeus books, has done it again with Lucy and Lockwood and George, three young ghost-fighting agents who each bring their special psychic or other gifts to the practice (Lucy can Hear, Lockwood can See, and George, well, George researches and prepares and does most of the worrying). Stroud also excels at crackling dialogue and wry humor. And pacing! He knows how to fling a good cliffhanger our way, and moves back and forth in time, keeping the story propelled briskly forward while also deftly painting in the background details of plot and character backstory. Fans of Philip Pullman’s Sally Lockhart mysteries are likely to enjoy The Screaming Staircase, which skews just a tad younger (um, and has ghosts). The story is pure protoplasmic adventurous fun, a mix of spectral spookiness and dashing recklessness, high stakes building to a truly creepy climax.
I must say it was a strange experience to leave the very real kind of dark evil in Prisoner B-3087 only to encounter supernatural evils (brought on by old murders and other dark deeds) in my next read. And then it was on to a much sillier realm created by Neil Gaiman.
Fortunately, the Milk (see book cover at top of post) is an example of perfectly executed, exalted wackitude. Basically, a British dad goes out for milk for his tea and his children’s breakfast while Mum is out of town. The kids wait a looong time for his return, and when he gets back, he has a wild tale to explain his delay, one involving time travel and pirates and space aliens and “wumpires” and exploding volcanos and a volcano god and piranhas and a hot-air-balloon-flying professorial stegosaurus and galactic police officer T. Rexes and gems and all manner of appealing staples out of children’s adventure stories, all turned on their heads in one way or another with a wink and a nod to readers. Oh, that Neil Gaiman! He made me smile all the way through with this book’s antics and wordplay and the fact that the entire crazy adventure is resolved by spoofing its own genre. Brilliant!
I shudder to think how these stories will intertwine in my dreams tonight, but I don’t regret a single word.

Level One Lament

Josie Leavitt - October 25, 2013

The other day I was helping a grandmother select early readers for her granddaughter. She said specifically that she wanted “…Level One books.” I walked over to our spinner full of the early readers and pulled out several level one books from the following publishers: Penguin, Harper, Simon Spotlight, and Scholastic, and found a vast difference between each publisher’s definition of what a level one book.
As the grandma looked at each book I couldn’t help but see the differences, some enormous, between the books. For the first time in a long time (I’m ashamed to admit) I really looked at these and found there is absolutely no consistency with what a level one book is supposed to be. Some were what I would expect: bold, easy to describe pictures with a limited number of words on the page. Each publisher describes what a level one clearly on the back of the book with a range of reading abilities required. Perhaps it’s just me, but I think most of my customer think level one books are for kids who are just learning how to read; these are the easiest books to read. The customer started rejecting book after book because they were too hard.
I’m not sure when we moved from the very simple: “The cat sat on the mat.” of the Bob books. Here are random sentences from four different level one books that highlight the range of language and sentence structure in these books. “Have fun with your balloon,” from Hippo and Rabbit: Brave Like and then,” Let’s go home!” from Clem and Clara Take a Ride to, “Trucks in pink,” from Trucktown. And then finally, this sentence from Fancy Day in Room 1-A: “Lionel makes the points on his crown look like bloody shark teeth.”
I think the differences between these sentences is fairly obvious. It’s clear the sentence from the level one Fancy Nancy book is not only the most complex, but the scariest. As someone who struggled learning how to read, some of these books would have been far too hard for me. Which leads to the inevitable discussion of consistency among the publishers. It’s probably too much to ask that the publishers all have the same sentence structure in each leveled reader.
So, I’ve decided that my job as a bookseller is to know how each publisher treats each leveled reader. Now I know Harper level ones are far more advanced than others’ level ones. This is making me rethink how we shelve the I Can Read spinner. Rather than going alphabetically within each level, I think it makes more sense to shelve by publisher. But then it’s hard for customers to find books, although I have noticed that most parents seem to know which publishers are good for their kids.
Booksellers, how does your store treat the leveled readers?

Attack of the Kindergartners!

Elizabeth Bluemle - October 24, 2013

Every year, the Shelburne Community School kindergartners visit local businesses on foot, walking from their school down the long Harbor Road to town, settling in and asking questions about what it’s like to work in Shelburne. It’s a big outing for them, and we are honored to be one of their stops. This week, three kindergarten classes visited the Flying Pig for half an hour, taking turns between us, the town’s Pierson Library and their own school library. It was a whole day of celebrating books for the SCS Treehouse team.
After introducing myself and telling the children a little bit about the bookstore, it was reading time. With Halloween so close at hand, I couldn’t resist starting off all three groups with Ammi-Joan Paquette and Adam Record’s charming new GHOST IN THE HOUSE. It’s a really fun read-aloud with some great language, rhyme that invites prediction by young listeners, sound effects for sharing, and an amusing surprise ending. About the sound effects: I was gratified and amused that all three groups could carry off — at my request, and because of other customers in the store — a “very quiet shriek.” It was one of the cutest sounds I’ve ever heard, 20 five-year-olds at a time barely whisper-shrieking, “Eeeeeeee!” together.

After Ghost in the House, each group received a slightly different mix of stories, depending on what mood I picked up from the children. One group was hungry for lots of Halloween, so they got a poem each from Adam Rex’s FRANKENSTEIN MAKES A SANDWICH and HALLOWILLOWEEN: NEFARIOUS SILLINESS FROM CALEF BROWN, as well as Ross MacDonald’s quirky and amusing HENRY’S HAND. I loved watching their faces as I read that one. I was trying to gauge any five-year-old anxiety about a monster whose parts detach and whose hand runs away from home, but they were a smiling and receptive little audience. For two of the groups, I read David Shannon’s GOOD BOY, FERGUS! Totally shameless crowd-pleaser, that book, one that reduces kids to peals of giggles.

Because I am a children’s book author in addition to being a bookstore owner, and teachers like for me to share that experience with children, I also read each group one of my books. I love sharing my books with kids (though it’s harder to blog about because they are my own books, which feels immodest to talk about, so I will keep it brief!). Two of the Treehouse classes heard MY FATHER THE DOG and were adorable recognizing things dads and dogs have in common. The third group heard HOW DO YOU WOKKA-WOKKA?, which was great because they are working on rhyme and rhythm in class and kept the beat as I read with finger snapping and claps.
I used the connection of Halloween with bats as an excuse to read Ari Berk and Loren Long’s lovely NIGHTSONG to two of the groups, who were enthralled by the little bat’s solo adventure into the night world. They seemed wrapped in the book’s lyrical language and the warm mother-child connection that provides a safe and loving background to freedom and exploration and adventure. I had an interesting experience with this story. When I pulled it out for the second group, one little boy said, “I don’t like that book!” I said, “Have you heard it before?” He replied, “We have it at home and I’ve heard it again and again, and I don’t like it.” I said, “I hope you don’t mind if I read it. Why don’t you listen to it one more time and see if it strikes you differently this time?” I read the book, and this group, like the last, seemed to really love it. I asked the little boy, “Did you like it any better this time?” And to my everlasting relief, and gratitude for his open willingness to change his mind, he nodded strongly and said, “Yes. It was a different version.” I will never know if he had initially confused Nightsong with another book he hadn’t liked, or if the reading had just connected with him differently from before. It doesn’t matter. It was a happy outcome either way.
As each group left, the little ones waved their goodbyes, calling out all kinds of informational tidbits they felt were important for me to hold on to: their names, their dogs’ names, which of their dogs had died, when they had been or were coming back to the bookstore. James, the teacher of the last group, the ones who had kept the beat to Wokka, said that they would wokka all the way back to school. Later that day, Josie called me from her cell phone to say that she had seen James’s group  heading back down Harbor Road. “They looked so happy and lively!” she said. I asked, “Were they dancing around a little?”  “Yes!” she said. I had to smile.
I’m not sure if all the children know much better today than yesterday what the exact difference is between a bookstore and a library, but I do know that they brighten, perk up, lean in, and fully engage with stories and poems that make them laugh, think, imagine, and wonder. And that’s plenty of worthwhile goodness for a kindergarten outing.

A Large Family from Far Away

Josie Leavitt - October 22, 2013

IMG_2593Last week I popped by the store for an hour on my day off to get a few things done. I walked in and there was a large family happily browsing. The first thing I noticed was that the four kids, ranging in age from 3 to almost 14, were not only amazingly well-behaved, they loved books. Each child was happily ensconced in the right section and the mom was browsing the adult section.
The mom asked if I owned the store and I said yes and she smiled broadly and then said excitedly, “We came from Montreal just to come to your store.” Who doesn’t love to hear that a family drove over two hours just to shop at my store? They made a day of it and met another family from Albany at the bookstore after lunch. As if Montreal weren’t far enough away, it turns out they’re from Singapore and looked us up there! I shared with her that I had been to Singapore so we chatted about the city and her life.
Angie Ng is the mother of this happy brood. I remarked at how much her kids loved books. Turns out Angie ran an online children’s bookstore in Singapore before relocating to Montreal. She marveled at our children’s selection, especially our picture books. She wanted books by Vermont authors, so I was more than happy to show her the books Elizabeth had written as well as others in the talented pool of Vermont authors and illustrators.
In the exchange with this charming family I was reminded of the universality of books. No matter where you go books can bring people together. All the way from Singapore, this family had intended to come to my store in Vermont. I happily filled their tote bag with books and smiled all day.

Book Love from Far and Near

Elizabeth Bluemle - October 21, 2013

Like most indie bookstores, I suspect, the Flying Pig gets a lot of love from out-of-state visitors who no longer have bookstores in their own towns. Fall foliage brings throngs of tourists to the area, and we have the great joy of basking in their appreciation of the shop. They see everything about our selection and displays so freshly, it gives us new eyes, too. I also love tracking the book requests we get from out-of-towners that differ from the usual fare, things like woodworking and animal husbandry, auto repair manuals and books of mandala patterns.
Our local customers appreciate us, too, but we’ve been a constant for 17 years now, so they don’t wax rhapsodic every time they walk in the door. When they do, it’s extra special. On Saturday, two local sixth-grade girls came in. Their families started coming to the store when we moved to Shelburne, and the kids (let’s call them Julia and Izzy) are the kind of joyful best friends who remind us how it was to be that young ourselves. They must have spent nearly two hours at the store, wandering around the various sections, comparing books they’d read and wanted to read, looking at comics and puzzles and coin purses and games, chatting together all the while and occasionally coming to the counter to engage us in their conversations. Their ease and familiarity with the bookstore made me so happy. They didn’t buy any books that day; we were simply a favored destination, a neighborhood home away from home.
Just before they left, Izzy turned to David and me and said, “You know, books aren’t my whole world when I’m out in my real life. But when I’m here, it feels as though they are.”

Great Fall Events

Josie Leavitt - October 18, 2013

We had two really wonderful events this fall. Each reminded me how lucky we are to have such talented authors and illustrators share themselves with us and our community.
The first visit was Phillip and Erin Stead, the team behind the Caldecott winner, A Sick Day for crowd at steadAmos McGee. We rented Shelburne Town Hall to accommodate the 100+ school kids who came to the morning story hour. We smartly sent home order forms for all the kids. We learned something, too, that might just sound elementary, but giving the teachers a set of books to share increases book sales. And, by getting the order form back in a timely way, we had a chance to add a few more of the most popular title: Creamed Tuna Fish & Peas on Toast. Who knew? It’s a lovely book, just not that we were necessarily expecting to be such a hit with the second-graders.
erinwithartThe room was packed and then Erin and Phillip read. Erin is quite shy but held her own quite nicely with the kids. Philip told the crowd about his wife’s shyness and asked them, “If you’re really shy, close your eyes and raise your hands.” This loveliness set the tone for a great visit. Phillip and Erin each explained how they worked. The kids were leaning in during this. Erin’s description of using woodcuts and only eight colors for A Sick Day for Amos McGee was just fascinating. And all the kids could relate to Phillip’s use of collage in Hello, My Name Is Ruby. 
I love how these two handled kids’ questions. When asked how long it took to finish a book, and a little girl’s hand shot up and shouted, “Ten hours!” Neither of them laughed out loud, as the rest of the adults did. They seemed to know that ten hours feels like a lifetime to kids. 

Erin clearly has had practice at signing lines. The stamps were a great idea and help speed the line of over 100 kids along. Very smart for line management as well as for protecting herself from overuse injuries.
Dayna Lorentz came back in September to present No Easy Way Out, the sequel to No Safety in Numbers. What I love about events with Dayna are the cupcakes and the insight into the complex mind of a writer. Dayna spent a lot of time explaining how she crafts the books.
Writing mystery/thrillers is a complex work. Dayna explained that the books work on the IMG_2552tension between the expected and the unexpected. Each book builds from one to the next. She created elaborate mind maps for all the characters, major and minor, represented by a different color Post-it. She had to keep track of lots of details and this helped her to remember all the things that had already happened with the characters and the government. She shared that she trashed the entire first draft. The whole thing! And then she started over.
IMG_2541I loved these three coming to the store and sharing so honestly about aspects of their craft that often remain unspoken. A little peek into the studio or office is always a treat that’s almost as good as cupcakes.

A Quick Tour in Photos

Elizabeth Bluemle - October 17, 2013

Before we get started, big congratulations to the National Book Award finalists in young people’s literature, announced yesterday! Kudos to Kathi Appelt (The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp – Atheneum); Cynthia Kadohata (The Thing About Luck – Atheneum); Tom McNeal (Far Far Away – Knopf); Meg Rosoff (Picture Me Gone – Putnam); and Gene Luen Yang (Boxers and Saints – First Second). The winners of the National Book Award will be announced on November 20. Wonderful, worthy books, all!
And now, on to NEIBA. I blogged a little about it here and here, and have just a little more to share with you. It’s hard to celebrate all the best things about a trade show without risking boring one’s readers who weren’t there, so I thought I’d give you a blog post in photos and captions for easy skimming. From breakfast speakers to bonfires, the New England Independent Booksellers Association show in Rhode Island was a blast. Okay, there weren’t bonfires; I just wanted some alliteration. How about boots? Illustrator Melissa Sweet sported a great pair of cowboy boots. Yes, that’s it: From breakfast to boots, it was a great show!
Author breakfasts are a highlight of the show. On the children’s side, Robert Sabuda, David Wiesner, Maggie Stiefvater, and DJ MacHale wowed, amused, informed, and inspired listeners. They were all so absorbing I took no photos. Speakers at the adult breakfast were also terrific; shown below is the luminous Ishmael Beah, whose talk wove life and literature and storytelling into a bright tapestry.

Ishmael Beah. Photo © John Madere (courtesy Macmillan website, where photo links)

2013-10-06 11.46.32
I know, I know. Food photos are gauche. But I had to highlight this crazy exception to the usual trade show author event breakfast (normally, stale rolls and coffee). Assuming the usual, I’d had breakfast at my hotel first. Mistake! Above is a bookseller pal’s NEIBA brunch — a veritable feast I didn’t get to eat because I gambled wrong. Sob!
Abrams hosted a lovely dinner celebrating Ross MacDonald’s Henry’s Hand, a charming picture book whose artwork pulls me in strongly. Love the palette, love the quirkiness, which puts me in mind of the green pants story in The Lorax. I got to finally meet the marvelous, boot-wearing illustrator Melissa Sweet that evening, as well as catch up with the amazing Peter Reynolds, whose bright spirit and art bring out the awkward fangirl in me. Apologies to Peter, congratulations to Ross, a delighted hello to Melissa, and thanks to Abrams!
illustrators dinner

(l. to r., MacDonald, Reynolds, Sweet, and yours truly.)

It’s always a pleasure to catch up with indie pals. Suzanna Hermans is the fantastic, young, energetic, ridiculously gifted bookseller (from Oblong Books) who just became NEIBA President! Woot!
Suzanna and Eliz
Encountered some new items at the show. Here are a couple of titles I definitely wasn’t expecting to see. Cannot carry these for fear of them ending up mis-shelved in board books; break out in cold sweat at that scenario. Ends with me run out of town on a rail.
Little Penis books
Continuing my swag-impaired record, here I ogle the FABULOUS tote bag from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt that bookseller Kenny Brechner is taunting me with. No, he didn’t taunt. But he could have!
Kenny and Swag
The very best thing about NEIBA, of course, is the wonderful people in this field. On the show floor, I was so happy to run into fellow Vermonter, friend, and writer of beautiful, powerful novels, Jo Knowles, signing her newest, Living with Jackie Chan.
Jo Knowles
It was a great three days, reinvigorating and helpful. Next up: Winter Institute, if I get off the waiting list. Fingers crossed!

Great Halloween Mailing

Josie Leavitt - October 16, 2013

Every day we get promotional mailings. They range from postcards to posters and of course books, but every once in a while we get awesome mailings. The best things to get in the mail are books you actually want that are surrounded by food, preferably chocolate and ideally all of it is delivered with a sense of humor.
Last week, Kids Can Press hit a grand slam home run with their mailing for the new Scaredy IMG_2583Squirrel book, Scaredy Squirrel Prepares for Halloween. First off, it was a great reminder to reorder the book, which is classic Scaredy Squirrel. The book is full of great information about how to safely get ready for a holiday that can be a real challenge for a fearful squirrel. The promo kit arrived in a large box, which is always a good sign that there could be something really great in there. Booksellers are a simple lot who often don’t eat lunch until four, so anything with sugar tends to be very well received.

Imagine how happy I was when I opened the box and discovered this trick or treat jack o’lantern filled with a copy of the book and lots of candy! I took out all the candy and started reading the tags that were attached to them and couldn’t stop laughing. The tag on the sour candy says: Pros: Awakens taste buds. Cons: Causes silly faces. The illustrations on the tags are adorable and we all had IMG_2586a good time with this. I did wonder why the toilet paper was included (it was for a mummy costume). There was just so much packed in the pail. Sour candy, dental floss, jelly candy, sugar-free gum, and more!

Oh, and because Kids Can Press is based in Toronto, all the candy was Canadian. I’ve always wanted to have Smarties, and now I have – thanks to a squirrel with caution on his mind!