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Christmas Gift to Myself – a Holiday Countdown of Some of my Favorite Independent Retailers and the Cool Stuff they Sell!

December 1st – Specialty Retailer Holiday Countdown, Day 1



A Whale of A Tale is a Whale of a store.

4199 Campus Drive, Suite A, Irvine, CA  (949) 854-8288

For those who don’t know, I spent 2 1/2 of some of my favorite years running a couple of independent children’s bookstores.  It about broke my heart when they closed – not only because of what I had personally invested in them, but because they were a huge asset to the community.  I know this because three years later I still have people tell me how much they miss them.  And to that, I say, lucky for you A Whale of a Tale is still here!

Kudos to Alex, the owner of the store, who knows her stock, her customers, and the business.  She also knows how to work with the publishers to bring some of the hottest names in the children’s publishing industry to our own backyard. (You may get hot and bothered by Brad Pitt but for me, it is all about the likes of Rick Riordan, Mo Willems, Marla Frazee– Alex even had J.K Rowling to the store!)

This is what you can’t get on Amazon – “Hi, what can I get for my 16-year-old who recently loved …?” And two minutes later I have a stack of books in my arms from which to choose – she shares with me some of the author’s previous works, the genre, and some comparisons.  And I leave with books I am excited to give and more excited to borrow.  What else do I get?  The satisfaction of knowing that I am supporting a business that gives back to local schools and charities in the area (A Whale of Tale’s participation in The Junior League of Orange County’s Christmas Company is always one of the highlights of the event – this year she provided not 1 but 2 teas with both author and illustrator of the beloved Fancy Nancy series, Jane O’Connor and Robin Preiss Glasser), and keeps Orange County on the map in the literary world.  A Whale of a Tale also supports other small businesses by stocking items that are not sold in mass retailers.  One of my favorites?

The Peaceable Kingdom, Good Night Moon Blocks

Packaged as a great gift in a magnetically closed box, these paper covered cardboard blocks are the perfect 1st block set for your child who loves to stack but isn’t ready for the hard wood yet.  Of course each block features illustrations from this classic picture book.  And because they are cardboard instead of wood, they won’t break the bank if you are shipping it to your lucky niece or nephew.


About connoisseur of kid stuff

mom of 1, soon to be 2 teenage daughters. wife to vegetarian artist husband. writer. reader. entrepreneur. passion for children's products and book industries, of which I have been a part in multiple capacities over the last fourteen years.

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