When Carol Chittenden wanted to mark the 15th birthday of Eight Cousins Children's Bookstore, the store she founded in 1986 with her mother, Betty E. Borg, in Falmouth, Mass., she decided on a bench. Not just any bench, mind you, but a bronze Alphabet Throne that uses every letter, from "B," which is made from buttons, to "T," which bears the treads of dozens of toy truck tires.

"I wanted to do something more enduring than tote bags or baseball caps," said Chittenden, who works on a city-wide committee to encourage public art. "It took about two years, so it's really to celebrate our 15th to 20th anniversary." Customer Sarah Peters designed the five-foot-tall bench, which was installed next to the store's entrance last month, when the store turned 17.