How do you measure your love of books? Is it the number of books on your Kindle? The ferociousness with which you read the next installment of your favorite series? The immense library you have cultivated in your house you know you will never get through? If any of these sound like you (I’m the last one), you will want to check out The I Wonder Bookstore, Shinsuke Yoshitake’s love letter to books and booksellers.
Part children’s book, part graphic novel, The I Wonder Bookstore by Shinsuke Yoshitake is a wonderous romp through a set of fantastical vignettes threaded together by customers visiting an anonymous bookseller who has an encyclopedic knowledge of his shop. The special thing about the I Wonder Bookstore is not only the dedicated bookseller, but that all of the books in the shop are book-related. Some of the sections featured in this store are Book-Related Jobs, Book Accessories, Famous Book-Related Places and Libraries & Bookstores.
It is when the bookseller starts describing his wares of each section that we are treated to the best aspects of the book: the imagination. One notable example is a book accessory called The Cover Transformer which looks like a toaster but will change the words and the pictures of the cover of a book you are embarrassed to own, to a cover that looks and sounds much more erudite. Another fun vignette is in Book Related Jobs, where there is a description of a Psychic Reading History Detective who finds criminals by analyzing their reading history.
The I Wonder Bookstore is great to read aloud to young kids (possibly over a few nights since it is 103 pages). They will laugh at the fun and ridiculous situations, like the possibility of wrapping a book in eel or panko, in addition to the typical paper bag or gift wrap. It’s also perfect for adults who are passionate about the written word and have an active imagination. The illustrations are fun and engaging; colors used are simple, but lovely. Yoshitake has a wonderful organic style that draws the reader in and is perfect for the whimsical tone of the book. I highly recommend the hardcover version—it is beautiful and satisfying to hold in your hands. I’m sure that after reading The I Wonder Bookstore, you will want to zip over to your local independent bookstore and ask them for a recommendation.