chapter  2
30 Pages

These Are the Books That Lived in the House That Ben Built

By entering The Children’s Book Business with a walkabout through the neighborhood of Ben Tabart’s Juvenile Library, then stopping to peek through to its display windows, and crossing the threshold to examine the décor, I was making tangible its material presence as an upmarket shopping destination. Ben’s corner of New Bond Street and Grafton still survives and thrives as one of the most exclusive and fashionable retail locations in London, though its bookshop incarnation has long since been buried under layers of increasingly bright and expensive merchandise of other kinds. The problem of tracing the books that lived in the shop on that corner in Ben’s time, however, presents another kind of survival story.