R is for Rocket, S is for Sparky (and Scooter!)

rocket sparky scooter

If you hang around Parnassus Books enough, you certainly know Ann’s dog Sparky, and you may even have spotted his doppelgänger, Scooter. Although Scooter lives in Michigan, he often visits when his owner — a cruise ship magician (yes, really) — is traveling. These two can barely contain their excitement about New York Times bestselling author Tad Hills visiting Parnassus this Thursday, October 15, to celebrate his latest book, R is for Rocket. They LOVE Rocket. In hopes of recruiting their fictional friend and third lookalike to join the shop dog workforce, they decided to teach him a few things. After all, if Rocket can learn to read, surely he can learn to work in a bookstore?

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First, Sparky explained, shop dogs must offer friendly greetings to everyone they see in the store.

Rocket tried, but this stony-faced visitor wouldn’t engage.

It’s important to keep the shelves and displays looking neat, even if that means climbing to great heights.

“You’re sure about this?” Rocket wondered.
“Nice selection,” thought Rocket.

Do everything you can to distract customers from cat-related merchandise.

“HEY EVERYBODY, LOOK AT ROCKET, NOT AT CATS,” Sparky said. “CATS DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT CALENDARS,” Scooter added. “How long should I stay up here?” Rocket asked.

Remember, it’s the little things that make a difference. Offer to spiff up every purchase with free gift-wrap.

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When in doubt, add more stickers.

The register can be tricky to master, but if you shadow an experienced bookseller (like Bill), you’ll learn the ropes pretty fast.

Concentrate, Rocket. Concentrate.

Scan every book, and take note of the customer’s choices. Get to know what people like, so you can make recommendations for next time.

This tiny book by Maile Meloy has a picture of a rat on the cover. It’s dark and spooky and definitely for grownups.

Remember to offer everyone a Sparky postcard.

Or is it a Rocket postcard? They do look an awful lot alike . . .

Rocket worked very hard. Then Belle whispered something in his ear.

belle and rocket
“You know we get five breaks a day, right?”

Oh, yes! Take lots of breaks for snacks and back-scratches and sitting.

And don’t forget to air out your ears.

 * * *

Meet Tad Hills, creator of the bestselling books How Rocket Learned to Read and Rocket Writes a Story, as he presents his new book, R is for Rocket. This adorable alphabet book features Rocket along with all his storybook friends, even Goose from the beloved Duck & Goose books! Hills will sign books at Parnassus on Thursday, October 15, at 6:30 p.m. (Young fans are welcome to attend in their pajamas and count it as their bedtime story!)

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Can’t make it to the event? Order ahead, and we’ll have your books signed for you! Just write “SIGNED” in the notes section at checkout:

How Rocket Learned to Read

Rocket Writes a Story 

R Is for Rocket: An ABC Book 

Duck & Goose