Duck into the sprawling Scholastic Store in Soho—to take in one of the many free readings, craft events, and author signings—and be prepared to stop in your tracks. It’s had quite a face-lift. By far the most useful change is the section breakdown by age and interest (birth to 2 includes board books, 3 to 5 houses pop-ups, and so on), plus there are areas devoted to arts and crafts, science, and a big Spanish-language selection. The grand reopening takes place on November 29, with hot apple cider and gingerbread cookies all day long. As you sip and munch, check out the new location of Clifford’s house and a giant Magic School Bus big enough to host story hour. Scholastic characters will eye you as you browse (Ella the Elephant, Ike LaRue, and the ubiquitous Harry Potter, among others). After your shorter companions tire of exploring, everyone can curl up on the new eleven-foot-tall orange dinosaur (from the How Do Dinosaurs series). “The tail is soft and cushy, and you can sit on it. We have parents and caregivers reading to kids all of the time,” says Hope Van Winkle, director of retail. She swears the staff doesn’t mind families who set up camp. “We’re absolutely encouraging that! It has always been an experiential store.” Apparently no matter how, um, exuberant kids can be about new objects, she rarely sees damage. “Our customers are pretty respectful of the merchandise. We don’t have things torn apart and trashed,” she says, laughing. Welcome news for parents desperately in search of indoor child-friendly space as the mercury plummets.
11/29, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Scholastic Store, 557 Broadway, nr. Prince St. (212-343-6166 or shop.scholastic.com); free.