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Only problem may be a bit of inconvenience- her hours, I believe, are M-F
she is only at the store maybe one or two days a week, leaving a younger
staff the store. But I have found her so helpful and the store so nice that
an effort to call ahead to see when Cynthia is there and go then.
My favorite toy store for years has been the Hearthsong Store. It started in Petaluma and now has stores in Berkeley, Sacramento, and other cities (along with a catalog). The one in Berkeley is in the 4th street shopping area, around the corner from Sur la Table. It is a *** lot *** more crowded with things than it used to be, and my kids are teenagers now, but I still go there occasionally. Recently I purchased plain wax globe candles, candle decorating wax, and a little book of instructions and examples, to give to a sunday school class. The tiny cloth witch on top of the pumpkin in my office is from Hearthsong. They have some interesting wooden toys for babys. The after-holiday sales are always great. With a Preferred Membership, you can get discounts even on the already-discounted items. Upstairs in the Berkeley store is a small but well-chosen book section that includes books for very young children. My youngest daughter and I liked to shop there for birthday party gifts and then get lunch at Betty's across the street. Invariably we would see someone we knew, which was always part of the fun.
HearthSong on 4th Street is a great toy store where playing with stuff is
part of the fun of shopping there. I highly recommend not going on the
weekend, too busy and parking can be a nightmare. The prices are more high
end there but they usually have some great bargains in their sale section.
They have a good selection of toys (crafts, handmade/wooden toys and
European imports) for the preschool set and the staff is usually friendly
Another very nice, but very small, store is La Pena's store in Berkeley. Not a toy store, per se, but it has great (many inexpensive) musical instruments, books, tapes, CDs for kids and adults.
My favorite toy store wasn't even mentioned - Rockridge Kids on College Ave. They have a large selection and the staff are especially knowledgeable AND very nice!
More on toys stores--I'd like to second the recommendation of Rockridge Kids. I have found them to be very helpful and knowledgeable, and they have a good selection of both toys and child-care items. They gave me great advice when I was buying car-seats.
are there any good big toy stores in the Oakland/Berkeley area BESIDES Toys 'r' Us? I loathe TRU because of a hideous experience I had there three Christmases ago... I made a vow never to darken their cash register with my money again, but every time I ask my friends where they got a particular toy for their baby, the answer is Toys R Us. I have a seven month old baby. Also, I prefer not to buy from catalogs or on-line because of all the packing material that ends up having to be dealt with, discarded etc. any help wld be gratefully appreciated.
Sweet Dreams on College Avenue in the Elmwood is also good and I've found their service to be friendly. Their selection of children's books and young children's toys is especially good.
In response to the inquiry regarding where to buy lullabies - I only have two words: Mail Order! If you're not already on their mailing list, you might want to try:
Junkie stuff for class gift bags: Oriental Trading Company, Inc.: 1-800-228-2269
Toys: (everything from Brio's to Teletubbies)
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