Woods in the Books


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A wood­en, blue aero­plane hangs from the ceil­ing above the door, rock­ing gen­tly to the tune of a warm after­noon breeze. The plane spins lazi­ly, reveal­ing a line of words in neat­ly paint­ed script; “Woods in the Books”.

Woods in the Books

Woods in the Books

A cheer­ful hand-drawn sign stands out­side, intro­duc­ing Woods in the Books as a pic­ture book shop. We walked into the cosy space, and our eyes imme­di­ate­ly wan­dered to the ceil­ing and walls. Like chil­dren, we were drawn to the mobiles hang­ing from the sky. Toys, planes, pages from books. Then next, fairy tale murals that called out to me like the wardrobe from Nar­nia, del­i­cate paint­ings that dragged from mem­o­ry my Enid Bly­ton child­hood; an ele­phant in a top hat, a tur­tle in a suit.

Woods in the Books

Woods in the Books

Woods in the Books

Hav­ing been a vora­cious­ly hun­gry read­er as a child (most par­ents would be hap­py that their kids even read, but my moth­er had to put a quo­ta on the num­ber of books I was allowed to buy/borrow/rent in a week), to be sud­den­ly sur­round­ed by so many invit­ing­ly col­or­ful cov­ers that were but an intro­duc­tion to greater adven­tures in the pages with­in, sent a tin­gle down my half-for­got­ten book­worm spine.

Woods in the Books

When I was a kid, every book pre­sent­ed to me a new world and a new adven­ture, adven­tures that would live in my mind long after the book had been read, closed and put back on a shelf or returned to a library. These adven­tures would accom­pa­ny me in the lazy after­noons, alone at home, when home­work was still a fair­ly for­eign con­cept, when a child was still allowed to dream, and had not yet been told that not every­thing that one could imag­ine would come true. I was one of those kids who talked to my toys, treat­ed them well, and apol­o­gized when­ev­er I’d dropped them (prob­a­bly a result of one too many Enid Bly­ton sto­ries).

Woods in the Books

Of course, like most of us, I grew up. The friends I made in the adven­tures of my imag­i­na­tion, I slow­ly for­got. My talk­ing dog com­pan­ion, the mag­ic far-away tree, the brown bear with his coat-tail, mon­o­cle and fine wood­en cane, the gol­li­wogs I’d always dreamt of own­ing but that most Sin­ga­pore­ans had no con­cept of. ‘Real’ life as we knew it punc­tu­at­ed my sens­es and over­took the care­free, dreamy days that used to con­sti­tute my exis­tence.

Woods in the Books

Woods in the Books

Look­ing at the murals and art­work by Mike Foo (moof), co-own­er of Woods in the Books, that dec­o­rat­ed the store, it was like return­ing to a sim­pler time in my child­hood where noth­ing was impos­si­ble as long as you remem­bered how to dream.

Quot­ing Shan­non Ong (co-own­er) who was quot­ing a cus­tomer; “Peo­ple grow up too fast and may not know what they have lost. I’ve redis­cov­ered that fun and won­der at your shop.” Con­cise­ly true, these were also the sen­ti­ments that were stirred with­in me. If I could re-imag­ine myself as a 5 year old once more, this place would have been heav­en.

Woods in the Books is more than a shop for just chil­dren. As Shan­non puts it, there are many sim­ple truths in the sto­ries of chil­dren that a com­plex adult has for­got­ten. We are taught so many valu­able life lessons as chil­dren, but some­where on the jour­ney of life, some expe­ri­ences make us hard and cause us to for­get how sim­ple it could be to be hap­py.

Woods in the Books

Woods in the Books

Woods in the Books
(Own­ers Shan­non Ong, Mike Foo, and the big boss, Mr Scot­ti.)

Sit­u­at­ed in the dis­tinct­ly art­sy Ang Siang Hill/Club Street area, Woods in the Books was born a year and a half ago, with Mike Foo and Shan­non Ong at the helm. One a graph­ic designer/illustrator, the oth­er a for­mer events orga­niz­er, the pair tell their sto­ry of bring­ing their respec­tives pas­sions togeth­er to to cre­ate some­thing they believed in and want­ed to nur­ture. Tak­ing a path that most of us aren’t brave enough to tread, they start­ed this book­shop sim­ply know­ing that they want­ed to make it hap­pen before they could give them­selves a chance to regret not doing it. While they admit that they went brave­ly into the busi­ness with­out look­ing back, they cau­tioned that it is not for every­one. Shan­non added that, ‘Although (they) have made a bold deci­sion, at the end of the day, (they) still need to fine tune the lit­tle things to make it work.’

Woods in the Books

Woods in the Books

Drop by Woods in the Books to refresh your­self and be re-inspired by the sim­ple yet poignant philoso­phies behind these pic­ture books, check out Mike Foo’s amaz­ing­ly enchant­i­ng and beau­ti­ful draw­ings, and say hel­lo to Mr Scot­ti, the actu­al head hon­cho behind the oper­a­tions.

Woods in the Books


More pic­tures on our Flickr album here.

Woods in the Books
58 Club Street, Sin­ga­pore 069433
Open­ing hours: Mon–Sat: 11am – 9pm / Sun: 12nn – 6pm
Tel: 62229980


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