The fourth day of The Classical Preschool focuses on Exploration. We decided to take a break from our regular schedule, and explore the book fair called the Big Bad Wolf (BBW).
BBW has been known to hold insanely discounted book sales in other parts of Asia. So upon hearing that they were coming to Manila for the first time, I was ecstatic. We didn’t make it for preview day even though I won tickets. So we braved the long drive from the North, and headed for the World Trade Center in Pasay City. The fair is open 24 hours a day until the 25th of February.
Go for Children’s Reference Books
A big section of the book sale featured children’s books. There was a vast selection of picture books, reference books, and activity books. You could easily get lost in the aisles. We got there almost 10:30 AM on opening day, and there were a lot of people already.
The Young Adult (YA) section was the most crowded part of the fair. I didn’t even bother checking out the titles. My husband and I brought our preschooler and toddler, so it wasn’t exactly a smooth shopping day—it never is, I suppose. Big crowds aren’t usually fun for small children.
I spotted a lot of beautiful picture books. But there were also a lot of twaddle in the mix. I tried to prevent myself from looking too much so I won’t get tempted to add them to my cart. I went to BBW for the Reference Books since we already have enough picture books that could last us a few years. I also tried to apply what I wrote about choosing books for children.
To be honest, I didn’t have the time and energy to look around the whole place. I centered around the children’s books area. To give you a rough estimate, here are the price range for the different children’s books:
- Activity Books: PHP100 to PHP 150
- Picture/Board Books: PHP160 to PHP350
- Reference Books: PHP290 to PHP 450
- Book Sets: PHP1300 and up
I thought I could score cheap book sets, but I didn’t. They weren’t as affordable as I would have liked. For example, the Mr. Men Collection and Little Miss Collection were priced at PHP 4850 and P3900, respectively. A Classic Case of Dr. Seuss with 20 books was priced at P3900. The more affordable option is The Peter Rabbit Library at P1350. Even so, you could get the preloved editions for way less. Another good find though is The Crayon Box Collection big lap book set priced at P780. Again, cheaper options can be found at second-hand book shops. My biggest target was the Thomas The Tank Engine Classic Library. But it was priced at P5800, so I had to let it go.
Our Big Bad Wolf Book Haul
I ended up with ten books, which are mostly Reference titles.
If I could dig in a little more, I would. But it isn’t advisable when you have small children with you. My top three finds are definitely the following: Usborne Big Picture Atlas (Php 370), Where Did They Go? (PHP 270-290) and The Family Storybook Treasury with CD (P275). I could hoard these books, and hand them out as gifts. They are surely value for money, except for the Spotting Book which is what I would call an aesthetic piece.
5 Tips for Parents
It is certainly best to shop alone, if that is possible for you. Young children could easily get bored when you’re on the hunt for good finds.
Have a List
The book display and the sheer size of the fair can get overwhelming. Having a list of books you want to look out for is particularly helpful so you won’t get lost in your purchases. You could easily spend thousands of pesos in a book sale like the Big Bad Wolf.
Set a Budget
Be sure to set a budget. But don’t be afraid to explore a few investment pieces if you can afford it.
Take your Time
I missed a few good books upon seeing other people’s purchases. Having the luxury of time could only be possible if you are shopping alone, or have someone with you who could watch the kids for a while. It could take more than a day to see each and every title if you take your time. But I’m sure it will be worth it.
Bring a Reusable Bag
They do provide plastic bags in the venue. But help lessen waste by bringing your own reusable bags. The BBW organizers did say to bring luggage bags for your purchases.