Once again, Magic Tree Bookstore’s display windows (141 N. Oak Park Ave.) have blossomed with pithy quotes. This time, they represent favorite first lines from their vast treasury of books (not just for kids). Owner Beth Albrecht and staff chose their top openings and kindly shared them with us, so we’re sharing them with you. 

If you have a favorite first line from a book, please share it with us (ktrainor@wjinc.com). Here’s one of mine:

There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.

C.S. Lewis

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Here’s what you’ll find on the windows at Magic Tree:

The best day of my life happened when I was 5 and almost died at Disney World.

Libba Bray 

Going Bovine

There must be a list on the internet of what to buy when you’re running away, but my phone is typically dead, like I swear it just passes out whenever things get stressful.

Annabel Pitcher 

Silence is Goldfish

The moon blew up without warning and for no apparent reason.

Neal Stephenson 


Aliens are stupid.

Rick Yancey 

The 5th Wave

The strange woman standing on Hope’s Main Street was so ordinary it was almost scandalous.

Katarina Bivald 

The Readers of Broken
Wheel Recommend

So in order to understand everything that happened, you have to start with the premise that high school sucks.

Jesse Andrews 

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Once upon a time, in a distant land, there was a beautiful princess named Harriet Hamsterbone, who, as her name indicated, was a hamster.

Ursula Vernon 

Harriet the Invincible

The moose head was fixed to the wall, the microphone in its mouth was broken, but the camera in its left eye was working just fine, and as far as the moose head could see, this was just another Friday night in the Lumbar Lodge!

Brock Clarke 

The Happiest People in the World

No one had ever told Jessica Church how to rescue a girl who was enchanted.

Maureen Doyle McQuerry 

Time Out of Time: The Telling Stone

The desert was empty, as though a great drain had sucked the world underground.

James Kennedy 

The Order of Odd-Fish

The year I turned 12, I learned how to lie.

Lauren Wolk 

Wolf Hollow

“You frighten me,” the gypsy said. “Never have I seen my crystal ball so filled with darkness.”

Alan Bradley 

The Red Herring Without Mustard

Fin crouched behind a rack of bootleg flavors, trying hard to ignore the taste of rat fur and broccoli juice seeping from the grungy bottles.

Carrie Ryan and John Parke Davis 

The Map to Everywhere

So here’s the file that almost killed me, Director.

Amie Kaufman 


My mother is an elephant and my father is an old man with one arm.

Eric Dinerstein 

What Elephants Know

The first time I tried my hand at magic, I grew roses out of my nose.

Liesl Shurtliff 


If I had one wish I’d ask for a headphone jack in my head.

Mike Grosso 

I Am Drums

When Billy was born he was nearly lost.

William Joyce 

Ollie’s Odyssey

Everybody wants to own the end of the world.

Don DeLillo 

Zero K

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.

Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith 

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Wanda knew there was something odd about her family, and it wasn’t her older sister.

Richard Fairgray 

My Grandpa is a Dinosaur

I’m not the sort of person who can see into the future, but I do know that sometime in the long life you have ahead of you, there will be a day when a bird will poop on you.

Sue Salvi 

Someday a Bird Will Poop On You

This story begins in the super happy magic forest, where everybody enjoys picnics, fun and dancing all year round.

Matty Long 

Super Happy Magic Forest

See them in their golden hour, a flood of girls high on the ecstasy of the final bell, tumbling onto the city bus, all gawky limbs and Wonderbra cleavage, chewed nails picking at eruptive zits, lips nibbling and eyes scrunching in a doomed attempt not to cry.

Robin Wasserman 

Girls on Fire

Waking one Monday, Holly had a dark suspicion that the day would not end favorably.

Matthew Swanson 

Ten Thousand Stories

You wouldn’t know by looking at it, but inside this house there’s the greatest hero of our age.

Jason Kirschner 

Mr. Particular

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