Nostalgia for childhood is powerful and transporting. When we see a beloved toy or book from our childhood, the happiness it evokes can take you right back to that place of innocence and joy. That feeling is what brought Devin McDonald and Jenny Stevenson to take over Berkeley institution Mr. Mopp’s toy store two years ago. McDonald grew up in the neighborhood, and when he heard that the shop was in danger of closing, he convinced Stevenson to visit the space with him.
To The Rescue
“While we were standing out on the sidewalk, we had multiple encounters with people who would come up to us, with tears in their eyes, and say, ‘Did you know that this place is closing?'” recounts McDonald. That open display of neighborhood loyalty ultimately convinced them to buy the business and keep the shop alive. In the two years since, they’ve won multiple accolades for their shop (including Best Toy Store of our own Red Tricycle Readers’ Choice Totally Awesome awards…two years in a row!), with a broad selection and price range of quality kids’ toys. With few licensed “movie” toys, there are plenty of items that are destined to become heirlooms.
The Next Chapter
Now McDonald and Stevens are thrilled to introduce East Bay families to their latest venture: Mr. Mopp’s Children’s Bookstore. Located a couple of doors down from the toy store, this narrow but inviting space, with its vibrant green ceiling and cozy reading nooks, resembles a comfortable study. Unlike the book selection that used to take up a small area at the toy shop, this collection will feature volumes of beloved children’s books. In addition to classics like Harold and the Purple Crayon (a personal fave of McDonald’s), there will be newer titles from authors like Mo Willems and Jon Klassen. The shop will host signings (a thrill anyone with a signed copy of The Giving Tree knows well). And visitors can expect the same excellent quality of service received at the toy store: McDonald says he was overwhelmed with how highly qualified most of the job candidates were.
Already a Bestseller
McDonald and Stevenson were thrilled by the response from the public to their recent grand opening celebration, and are excited to settle into the new digs. Bring the family down to Mr. Mopp’s, your kiddo’s new favorite bookstore, and be a part of Berkeley history in the making.
Mr. Mopp’s Children’s Bookstore
1417A Martin Luther King Jr. Way,
Have you visited Mr. Mopps? Tell us below!
— Sarah Bossenbroek