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Doing Hollywood one better

Jackson Bell

It was Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan who convinced Colin and Caroline

Stewart to leave their careers and start their dream business.

The Burbank couple, inspired by the movie “You’ve Got Mail,”


starring Hanks and Ryan, on June 1 opened Storytime Books & Parties,

a children’s bookstore.

Colin Stewart previously worked as a computer consultant in the

entertainment industry while his wife was a manager for an insurance



Caroline Stewart adored the mom-and-pop children’s bookstore owned

by Ryan in the movie, and convinced her husband to model their

store’s uniqueness after the screen version -- but with a twist.

"[Our store focuses] on being more educational and not so

cookie-cutter,” Colin Stewart said. “And Caroline works closely with

what parents want, so all the parties we do are unique.”

Caroline said the idea for the store -- which includes a backroom


for parties and activities -- came from what she sees as a dearth of

children’s fun in Burbank.

“We would always go to different birthday parties with our

daughter, and we always went to the same place again and again,” she

said. “Parents always seemed unhappy because they didn’t have enough


Starting at $250 per party -- the themes of which are suggested by

the owners but can be decided on by parents -- the store can


accommodate 30 children and their parents. The store carries more

than 600 titles, ranging from children’s classics to teen fiction and

includes a section dedicated to parenting. Story readings and classes

are also offered throughout the week.

“It’s great for kids to be able to have stories read to them and

to be able to mingle with other children,” said Anita Bitts, a

Glendale resident who took her 18-month-old granddaughter, Suzy, to a

story reading on Monday. “It’s better than being at home all