Excelsior on the Lookout for Evil Green Beans

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Successful green bean seekers were awarded mustaches in Excelsior.

The community of Excelsior, Minnesota, is united in the hunt for green beans of the dastardly kind in a fun promotion created by Excelsior Bay Books. The focus of the event is How Martha Saved Her Parents From Green Beans, by David LaRochelle, illustrated by Mark Fearing (Dial), and more than 100 kids have come out for the search.

Martha is one of our favorites,” said Ellie Temple, who co-owns Excelsior Bay Books with Ann Nye. “It seemed to fit really well” into the store’s plans for a community-wide event.

Temple and Nye worked with their Random House rep, who was very enthusiastic about the idea, Temple said, and the store received co-op for hosting the hunt. Kids are tasked with finding six-inch clay “evil green beans” hidden in 28 participating local businesses. Those who find at least 20 green beans are entered into a raffle to win a signed copy of the book and are awarded fake mustaches similar to the ones worn by the LaRochelle’s green beans, who, according to Temple, are “pretty dastardly.”

“It’s been a really cooperative effort,” she said. “The merchants love it, because it brings parents into stores –– sometimes for the first time. It’s something for the kids to do during the summer, and we’ve sold so many copies of Martha. It’s been a win-win.”

David LaRochelle kicked off the event on July 15 with an appearance on Excelsior Bay’s Storytime Trolley, which is hosted by the bookstore once a month during the summer. The author read aloud from his books during the trolley’s journey around town and signed books for riders as well as for the store’s raffle.

The hunt will come to a close on August 20, and Excelsior will hold a green bean party in the store on August 22, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m., which coincides with the town’s weekly farmer’s market. Attendees will play games and make crafts, and have the opportunity to win prizes that were donated by many of the local businesses that participated in the event.

“Everything has worked out beautifully,” said Temple. “It’s been a really positive thing.”