Kid-wonder kicks into overdrive upon entering this ultra-cozy bookshop. Long, skinny bindings of picture books beckon, from Richard Scarry classics to Patricia Polacco's politically relevant titles. You've got your Beverly Cleary, your Roald Dahl, your J.K. Rowling, but there's also a "grown-up" bestsellers shelf. "Most of my customers are toddlers," says owner Jennifer Green, "but a surprising number of adults come in here, too. A lot of people stick around to play." And who could resist the various vending machines (moustaches! babies!), plush food toys and shadow puppets that pepper the place? In the back corner, leading to the secluded outdoor patio, is the "secret book room," featuring more toys and puzzles as well as discounted book sets for teachers. Green Bean's freshness may be attributed to its own toddler age of one year; the inventiveness is all thanks to Green, who was an elementary-school teacher for 10 years before opening it. She enlists her Doberman-Dalmatian mix, Sebastian, to help run the store, proving that Green Bean really is for every age and species. 

Buy this: Dick and Jane and Vampires ($9.99).