Happy 4th of July!

Cynthia Compton -- July 3rd, 2019

Our patriotically themed story times in the last week have been crowded and busy, as the temperatures have (finally) reached the 90’s here in the Midwest, and the cool air-conditioned bookstore beckons parents with preschoolers after a few sunburned days at the neighborhood pool. The very process of packing up several kids under the age of five for a day of water fun is exhausting to even think about: find all the bathing suits (bring an extra, because accidents happen), swim diapers, floaties and pool noodles, a basket of diving toys, towels for drying and towels for draping over chairs to create shade, and even towels to make a path over hot pavement to the edge of the water…. sun hats and sunscreen, aloe and flip flops, sunglasses and goggles, and SNACKS, so very many snacks, and money to buy the snacks that are sold at the pool, which just look better than anything you brought….. well, it makes a trip to the bookstore look like a mini vacation, doesn’t it? So we oblige with lots of morning events, including Paint-a-Story, Stories and Snacks, Stories & Play, Silly Songs & Stories—you get the idea. If we can fill the store BEFORE nap time with little people and their adults, then the afternoons are free to entertain the big kids and restore order to the train table while the staff polishes off the leftover mini muffins and cinnamon rolls. It’s a zero-waste, zillion-carbs solution to summer break scheduling in the bookstore.

I thought I would share a few of the conversations we exchanged with our young customers at story time, as we discussed Independence Day and the family celebrations planned this week:

On Parades, from John, age 4:

“We will go to the ‘pade and get candy. It is very loud. There are firetrucks but no fires really, just guys and they throw candy! I get lots of candy, but I can’t go get it because it’s the street so I have to be with my Dad. But he gets the candy and gives it all to me.” 

and from Megan, age 7:

“I get to be in the parade this year with my gymnastics coach. And she lets us cartwheel and stuff, and we get BIG bags of candy to throw. And I will walk the whole way. My sister goes in the Girl Scout part, but she rides her bike, so she doesn’t get as much candy, and she doesn’t get to wear glitter on her face.  But she’s 10, and her friends sleep over the night of the day before, you know? And they let me come downstairs when they are there.”

On Fireworks, from Harry, age 5:


and from his brother, Max, age 8:

“He was asleep anyway. We got to get glow sticks and run all around the park, and my mom said to just be back before it got dark but we didn’t, and we had glow sticks and we went by the guys that were shooting the stuff off and we were RIGHT THERE.”

and from Paul, age 3:

“BOOM!” (note: we are not really sure if Paul was commenting about fireworks, or if he was just repeating a part of the story from our very expressive read aloud. Either way, it seemed relevant.)

On Carmelfest, our local Independence Day celebration, from Natalie and Katrina, ages 8 and 9:

“We get to ride the rides, and the bouncey houses, and when we get tired my Grandpa is at the fire station because he sort of works there, and he sits in his chair and gives us money. And we get a lemon shake-up, and my mom has a bunch of snacks. It’s the best day because we wear our bathing suits and you can get in the fountain and no one yells at you or anything.”

and from Harry, age 5:

“There are RIDES???”

and from Peter, age 7:

“I like when the big music plays.”  The orchestra? With the fireworks?  “Yes, the music. And there’s a man in the front that is the boss. And he makes everybody listen.”  The conductor? The person who directs the musicians?  “I guess. He has a stick, and he waves it, and the fireworks start and it’s all PART OF THE MUSIC.”

and from Paul (age 3):


On favorite foods of the 4th:

From Maria, age 6:

“We have corn. And things on the cooker thing that is burning hot, but that’s mostly vegetables and I just like corn. And OH! There’s watermelon, and you get to spit the seeds and it’s really funny when my dad does it.” 

From Peter (age 7):

“Hot dogs are pretty good but that green stuff is not.” Pickle relish? “I don’t know. I like hot dogs with ketchup and a bun.”

Paul (3):

“Bun!”   “Boom!”

Here’s to a glorious 4th, with all the sales you can ring up beforehand, a day off to enjoy your family and friends, and a few minutes to celebrate all the joys of independence. And in the word(s) of our friend Paul, may your summer simply….










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About Cynthia Compton

Cynthia is the mom of 4 kids, a rescuer of English Bulldogs, and the owner of 4 Kids Books & Toys in Zionsville, Indiana. The 2600 sq. ft. childrens store was founded in 2003, and hosts daily story times and events, birthday parties, book clubs and a large summer reading program. She just completed her term on the board of the American Specialty Toy Retailers Assn, is a past president of the Great Lakes Bookseller Association, and her store was honored with the Pannell Award in 2013.

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