Dive Into the Rabbit Hole of This New Children’s Book Museum

The Rabbit hOle is a perfect place for kids to visit to explore their favorite books in new and big ways. Dive into the rabbit hole to learn more!

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Two kids are excited to read.

North Kansas, Missouri, is home to “The Rabbit hOle,” a museum full of children’s books and exhibits about the books hoping to bring attention to the magic of children’s literature. The capital “O” isn’t a typo but a reference to the large rabbit hole visitors walk through. Inside are colorful exhibits, depicting characters and scenes from children’s books with the actual books next to each exhibit, along with a few lesser-known books.

Exploring the Rabbit hOle

After traversing through a dimly lit rabbit hole with its winding turns, visitors are met with a vibrant storybook exhibit. Parents don’t have to tell their kids not to touch. Almost every exhibit has things meant to be climbed on or tunneled through, while others are behind glass as viewing pieces. Some books are upscaled to a lifelike size, such as the kitchen in Blueberries for Sal. The artists have said there is no “right” or “wrong” way to interact with the exhibits. If someone wants to nap with Curious George, they can go right ahead and do that!

Little girl reading books.
IMAGE VIA CANVA

Digging a hOle

This magical children’s museum was created by Pete and Deb Pettit, who previously ran a local bookstore called Reading Reptile. Over eight years, the couple has raised more than $15 million to create the unique museum. Only the first floor of the 150,000-square-foot building is open, with over 40 exhibits about children’s books. A future expansion idea for The Rabbit hOle is a café with storybook-referenced food. Expect to see Strega Nona pasta and bread and jam from Bread and Jam for Frances. Other expansion ideas include a story lab that hosts writing classes and a print shop that shows the bookbinding process.

Kids on a bench reading different books.
IMAGE VIA CANVA

Two dozen artists are on staff to create and repair the exhibits as needed. The artists are challenged by creatively shifting two-dimensional art into lifelike creations. Every children’s book in the museum has a different artist and art style which causes replication to be difficult. Stories with illustrations like The Stinky Cheese Man differ wildly from the drawings of The Fire Cat, which means the artists can’t use the same structure for every exhibit.

The Rabbit hOle allows kids to experience books in ways they didn’t think possible. Visualizing, touching, and even climbing on creations from books allows kids to form a deep connection with the stories. Part of the charm of reading children’s books with kids is the memory formed in that moment. The museum does not feature touch screens or extreme distractions to encourage reading and creating cherished memories. Check it out the next time you’re in Missouri!


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