How Martha Saved Her Parents from Green Beans at The Red Balloon Bookshop

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IMG_0805We got the family out to The Red Balloon Bookshop this weekend to see David LaRochelle and Mark Fearing with their new book, How Martha Saved Her Parents from Green Beans.  This is a feat for us these days. Someone always decides the nap they didn’t want two hours ago is now necessary right when we need to leave; or we have a diaper blow out; or we are just subjected to a general break down. However, the stars aligned on Sunday and we got out and got to The Red Balloon only a little late for the start of the reading.


The Book

I would highly recommend reading this book to your kids or, if you’re really lucky, having your kids read it to you. You can see the trailer here.

What would you do if a band of evil green beans kidnapped your parents?  That’s the question Martha is faced with after she refuses to eat her green beans and they attack.  That’s about as much as I can tell you without giving away the whole book.


The Outing


Child-sized displays

We really adore The Red Balloon Bookshop. Almost everything is at child height.  They sell the type of books and toys that are fun for both parents and kids.  It’s fun to play I-spy with our favorite book characters along the top row of bookshelves.  When you need a break from the crowd the bargain book basement is cool and uncrowded.


A sketch of an evil green bean by Mark Fearing

David LaRochelle is one of our favorite authors. He wrote one of my favorite books, The Best Pet of All, so this was kind of a treat for me, too.  Mark Fearing did a great job of illustrating this book.  He really brings out the story with his illustrations.




The Real Parent Review:

Old People

The surprisingly older crowd at this reading did not really appreciate my vocal and active children.

I would recommend this outing for school age kids or one really well behaved tot.  This recommendation probably depends on the author and the event.  In this case, David LaRochelle is from the area and there were a lot of grandparent-aged “friends of the author” at this event.  It’s amazing how many people in line knew him personally. 

Judging from the looks I got, I don’t think the other patrons found my kids as cute and precocious as I do.  The small store gets crowded during events and it is hard to reign in two at a time. Since almost everything in this store is at child height, it sometimes felt like they were tag teaming their tour of terror.

While waiting for our book to get autographed, I had to step out of line with the little ones and let my second-grader wait by herself.  When I tried to step back in so she wouldn’t have to talk to adults by herself, some knitting vigilante accused me of cutting in line (seriously, she was knitting in line and very concerned about the potential of me and two toddlers not waiting our turn).  Rather than start a rumble, I just stepped back.  Mr. LaRochelle and Mr. Fearing were not at all scary and she did just fine on her own.  So it all turned out good.

David LaRochelle autographing our book.

The Not-Very-Scary David LaRochelle autographing our book.

Mark Fearing autographing our book.

The Not-Very-Scary Mark Fearing autographing our book.


When we got home, we ate meatloaf with green beans, but we all survived without incident.


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About the author

Joy Peters

Joy Peters - co-creator and writer for

Besides Family Fun Twin Cities, I spend my 9 to 5 at a day job pursuing my weird passion for calendars and organizing things as a legal secretary. When I get home I spend my time with my four kids, 10, 6, 4 and 1. My amazing husband is both a full-time musician and full-time stay-at-home dad. Together we run a small radio empire — SiaNet Radio — playing, promoting and enjoying the wide variety of local music and art in the Twin Cities. I juggle all this while writing about exploring the Twin Cities with kids. I couldn’t be happier.

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