When I was a kid the big city department store was a place of wonder. So much stuff! So many new and interesting things to be explored! What could be more intriguing than roaming unattended around the many, many floors of the high style department store? Living in one, perhaps?
In Vincent X. Kirsch's Natalie & Naughtily the eponymous twin girls live on the top floor of the fictitious big city department store, Nopps. One day Natalie and Naughtily decide to help out at the store. On each floor familiar department store goods and services are given whimsical twists. Would you like to sample Mischief #5? Try out the new-and-improved-automatic-flying-rainbow-making-umbrella? If so, Natalie and Naughtily can help you. Or maybe not... the customer service line grows longer and longer and the two girls "help out".
The story is fun; maybe not outstanding, but not every book can be, right? I thought, from the title, that the story would focus on the differences between the two girls. It was mentioned in the first few pages, but then pushed aside during the journey up to the top of the store. I was reminded a bit of Eloise, although of course Eloise is in a hotel -- but the idea of mischievous girls roaming around in a splendid big city high rise business, in which they also happen to live. Like Eloise, it's an unusual living arrangement, which looks so enticing to us outsiders. And also like Eloise there are no parents present, but they chat it up with the department store personnel (who have great descriptive names like Mr. Iceberger and Mr. Spygoggle.).
What really makes this book enjoyable are the wonderfully detailed illustrations. The portray just how fantastical department stores might look to children. Most of the illustrations are inside the store, but there are several which clearly set the action within the big city. Adventure inside and out! One of my favorites was a picture of the two girls standing in the park with the the city buildings behind them. It's reminiscent of Central Park, of course.
I'm not big on shopping, but a trip to Nopps would be a delight.
Check out the Amazon page, which has 4 two page spreads to view.
The official website has fun tidbits about secret facts and hidden games in the book.
Visit the author's blog. (He was just at Books of Wonder, and I missed it!)
Don't miss the fun Facebook page that the twins keep! (If my link doesn't work, you can find a link here)
Big Kid says: I like the toy department the best.