The Mural at TidePool Bookshop
In 2020, when TidePool Bookshop opened, we comissioned Margaret McCandless to paint our entrance mural (and other smaller vignettes throughout the store). Many of you have stopped as you walked in, to enter this magical world. Did you know there are references to stories throughout? Scroll down to see the list of books!
In Margaret's words:
Nature comes first, for stories you'll find in the main mural at TidePool Bookshop.
Wild details include birds in trees, hidden treasures, diving terns, breaking waves, a lost key, a spider web, a bear, and a dragon reading a book while flying. All are book and poem references I've painted in the mural. Being outdoors, in images, gave me ways to represent climbing atop a giant's head, travelling in a time machine, or hunting a snark.
Outdoor scenery is great fun to paint. It's also what came to mind first when Jo and Huck suggested Jack Prelutsky's poem "I Met a Dragon Face to Face" as the starting place for the TidePool Bookshop mural. I was delighted! You can read the Dragon poem while you stand at the main mural in the Bookshop. Perhaps you will even find the pictures for each item in the poem. It's all there. Well, the Snark is represented only by footprints in the sand, and Hunting of Snarks is implied by tools on the dock; but that's how it is with Snarks. I hope that you'll find the prints and tools.
I met a dragon face to face
the year when I was ten,
I took a trip to outer space,
I braved a pirate's den,
I wrestled with a wicked troll,
and fought a great white shark,
I trailed a rabbit down a hole,
I hunted for a snark.
I stowed aboard a submarine,
I opened magic doors,
I traveled in a time machine,
and searched for dinosaurs,
I climbed atop a giant's head,
I found a pot of gold,
I did all this in books I read
when I was ten years old.
Once I had all the poem's parts depicted as I wished to, I painted images representing many children's books that I love. You can find the pet seagull from Island Boy; a waterfall from PaddletotheSea; the red boat in Where the Wild Things Are; loons from June the Loon; lupines from Miss Rumphius; characters from Reddy Fox and Sammy Jay; a boot in the grass from The Borrowers Afield; one lantern from Green Knowe and another from Johnny Tremain. There are many more booklinks painted there for you.
Just ask Jo or Huck for the list of images with book titles, if you enjoy a scavenger hunt. I've made one list linked to picture books and a separate list linked to chapter books. Have you read them all? Do you have a favorite book that you wish I would represent on the mural? Let me know.
It was really fun to bring the mural around the corner, painting the oak tree, owl, fox, indigo buntings, and a turtle among book-inspired Nature scenes there. You can see some of the mural when you walk in the front door.
Remember to check the paintings in the Mouse Hole and above the picturebook shelves. These, too, are places where the outdoors belongs in the bookstore. From time to time, I will be adding to those murals. Already, you might find a ladybug, dragonfly, flock of geese, or cluster of chickadees. I wonder what else you will notice.
Enjoyment of reading depends upon our ability to imagine beyond the page. Having outdoor images at the bookstore feels profoundly right. We're here to enrich our thinking, to read and to take our thoughts beyond wherever we happen to be. With the natural world details I've painted on the bookstore walls, I am hoping to help inspire the reading and the imaginations of children and adults.
With the books at hand, as Jack Prelutsky's poem says, you can travel, wrestle, climb, open, hunt, be brave, and open magic doors. See below for all the books referred to in the mural. Come on in for a scavenger hunt!