Five great children's bookstores

Take your kids to any of these spots for a little learning and lots of fun

LONG BEACH
Once Upon a Story. The fairy castle decor provides a magical setting for story times featuring costumed characters. Fine children's literature, plus a few shelves for good grown-up books. Open daily; story time 10:30 a.m. Thu. 3740 E. 4th St.; 562/433-6856.

LOS ANGELES
Children's Book World. Most of the 80,000 titles are for kids, but you'll also find books for parents and teachers. The store hosts a Children's Book Recycling Center too. Open daily; story time 10:30 a.m. almost every Sat. 10580 W. Pico Blvd.; 310/559-2665.

MONTROSE
Once Upon A Time Bookstore. A cozy family shop where classics are displayed along with puppets and gift items. Kids can enjoy story times or curl up on the couch to read and to pet the resident cat. Open daily; story time 10:30 a.m. Tue. 2284 Honolulu Ave.; 818/248-9668.

STUDIO CITY
Storyopolis. A sprawling, friendly meeting place for Valley kids, accented with bubble gum-colored tot-size furnishings and beanbag chairs. There's artwork by children's illustrators in the gallery. Open daily; story time 11 a.m. Mon-Fri, 3 p.m. Thu. 12348 Ventura Blvd.; 818/509-5600.

VENTURA
Adventures for Kids. Specialties at the top-notch store include custom-packed travel bags, writing workshops, parent/child book clubs, and a terrific newsletter. Open daily; story time 10:30 a.m. Tue, 3 p.m. Sat. 3457 Telegraph Rd.; 805/650-9688. ―Susan Van Allen

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