Skip to Content

Top Children’s Book Worlds You’d Love to Explore in Person

A new museum dedicated to children’s literature has brought to life beloved tales such as “Caps for Sale,” “Blueberries for Sal,” and “Goodnight Moon.” Which book worlds have left a lasting impression on you?

Reflecting on your childhood favorites, did you ever wish to immerse yourself in the enchanting realms they portrayed? Perhaps you found yourself sketching illustrations, mapping out story settings, or even creating shoe-box dioramas inspired by these cherished books.

The Rabbit Hole, a novel museum situated in Kansas City, Mo., resonates with individuals who share these sentiments. In a piece for the New York Times Book Review, Elizabeth Egan recounts her visit to this extraordinary museum, where the main floor showcases 40 life-size dioramas inspired by popular children’s books, meticulously arranged in a space akin to two hockey rinks, reminiscent of an Ikea showroom.

Egan’s article commences with a vivid description of a bustling Saturday morning at a former tin can factory in North Kansas City, where the air reverberates with the laughter and curiosity of young visitors engaged in a myriad of activities, including reading. Contrary to the notion of a silent pursuit, the scene is alive with the energy of exploration and learning, particularly reminiscent of a lively first-grade classroom.

The Rabbit Hole, a labor of love a decade in the making, is the brainchild of Pete Cowdin and Deb Pettid, former bookstore proprietors with a shared passion for art and storytelling. Their unwavering dedication has transformed the industrial space into a whimsical realm mirroring the landscapes of treasured picture books.

Distinct from conventional children’s attractions, the Rabbit Hole eschews touch screens, ball pits, and ostentatious displays in favor of authentic and immersive experiences. Visitors are welcomed into a world free from contrived elements, with an admission fee of $16 for individuals over 2 years old.

To truly grasp the essence of Egan’s narrative, exploring the accompanying images is essential. For instance, can you discern the children’s book depicted in the diorama below without reading the caption? In this scene inspired by “Goodnight Moon,” guests are transported to the great green room, where the ticking clock and a phone offering a recording of the illustrator’s son reciting the beloved bedtime story create a captivating ambiance.