Tis the season of friends and relations, when “What’s good for a three year old?” may mean “I don’t know anything about the child I’m shopping for.”
How’s a bookseller to help? I ask about the parents. Personal interests, musical tastes, favorite vacation activities: clues to family lifestyle. Because these book-buyers are shopping for a family gift, and books they’ll choose must match parental values.
I sometimes find this process of working with friends and relations unnerving: books I suspect the child would enjoy may be ruled out by parental history and character. Mom hates abstract art. Dad is allergic to dogs. A prior spouse was an architect, so no books about buildings.
But I’m a professional, and these are puzzles I can help customers solve while, with luck, ensuring final choices are books that will satisfy parents and also be cherished by that three year old on whose behalf we are shopping.
What are some of your favorite can’t-miss family gift recommendations?