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Shopping for children on Berkeley's College Avenue.

College is for children! College Avenue, that is in the Elmwood section of south Berkeley and the Rockridge section of north Oakland. In response to what sociologists might call the mushrooming moppet movement, a 1/2 -mile stretch of this north-south thoroughfare has sprouted a remarkably high concentration of stores for parents and children. At some, you can even resell outgrown items.

This is the place to launch your quest for that inexpensive car seat you'll need for the newborn, and those educational maps, mineralogy kits, or the colorful turtleneck you want for your seven-year-old.

Parking can be difficult. To shop the northern part of College, try the lot just south of Russell, behind the shops on the west side of the street. If you're shopping in the southern section on weekends, try the parking lot at the Rockridge BART station. Otherwise, side streets are your only hope in either area.

One warning: the Big Game is in Berkeley this year, on November 19. This shopping area is 1 1/2 miles from the stadium; from 11 to dusk that day, all street parking will probably be usurped by Blues and Reds.

Elmwood area

1. Teddy's Little Closet: 2901-A College, (415) 549-9177; 10 to 6 Mondays through Saturdays, noon to 5 Sundays. Specializing in clothing for newborns through fiveyear-olds, this tiny store actually does resemble a well-organized, jam-packed, amazingly varied walk-in closet. Selection ranges from jump suits to socks, and something is always on sale.

2. Sweet Dreams Toys: 2921 College, 548-8697; 10 to 6 Mondays through Saturdays, noon to 5 Sundays. Owned by the same people who own Teddy's Little Closet and the Sweet Dreams candy store both neighbors-this shop specializes in toys, games, and books for toddlers to teen-agers. It has an especially good selection of classic board games, such as Monopoly and Parcheesi, as well as such new inventions as Magna-Doodle.

3. Young Stuff.- 2646-8 Ashby (at College), 644-0214; 10:30 to 5 Mondays through Saturdays. This store is organized according to activities, including bath and water play, cooking and baking, arts and crafts, and school supplies (we found an especially wide selection of colorful plastic lunch boxes). An intriguing row of little doctor's outfits (take two gummi bears and call me in the morning?) also caught our eye. Rockridge area

4. Michael Olaf.- 5817 College, 655-7100; 10 to 5:30 Mondays through Saturdays. Named for the owners' son, this store is known for its broad range of Montessorimethod teaching tools and other educational toys for infants to 12-year-olds. You'll find dexterity toys and puzzles for the toddler; and vocabulary builders, dissection kits, and fossil collections for the older child. The international flags and solar system posters look like good candidates for bedroom walls.

5. VBC Children's Clothing.- 5902 College, 652-5548; 10 to 6 Mondays through Saturdays, 2 to 5 Sundays. In a pastel, contemporary, dollhouse-like building at the corner of Chabot Road, this store carries American-, European-, and Japanese-made clothing for children up to preteen.

6. Baby World: 5854 College, 655-2950; 10 to 5 Mondays through Saturdays, noon to 5 Sundays. This small store carries used toys and equipment for infants to seven-year-olds. For good used merchandise, it pays 40 percent of its selling price in cash, or 60 percent in trade.

7. O'Toole's.- 5638 College, 428-1009; 9:30 to 6 Mondays through Saturdays, 11 to 5 Sundays. This full-to-bursting store specializes in used clothing, toys, equipment, and books for children. It's Oz for the bargain-hunter. Here you'll find, at considerable savings, an ever-changing parade of the many items that parents need-car seats, strollers, cribs, and more. Like Baby World, it pays 40 percent of its selling price in cash, 60 percent in trade.

8. Such A Business.- 5533 College, 6556641; 10 to 6 Mondays through Wednesdays, 10 to 8:30 Thursdays, 10 to 6 Fridays and Saturdays, noon to 5 Sundays. The original outlet of what's now a fastgrowing chain of children's stores, Such A Business carries a very large selection of merchandise ranging from cribs to clothing. The top-of-the-line stroller available secondhand just down the street at O'Toole's probably started out right here. The chain's biggest branch has just opened in Emeryville, near the Powell Street exit of Interstate 80.

If you begin to tire and need some refreshment, you're in luck; the avenue contains even more eateries than children's shops. Here are two at the south end: Opposite O'Toole's is the recently opened Market Hall. It's a contemporary version of an old European idea: beautifully displayed produce, fish, cheese, bread, and pate in separate shops; a cafe; and a restaurant all under one roof.

Opposite Such A Business is The Rockridge Cafe, famous for hamburgers. Its thick, creamy chocolate milkshakes are especially restorative.
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Title Annotation:California
Article Type:directory
Date:Nov 1, 1988
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