I went to Kansas City on an exploration of possibilities, triggered by a conversation I had the last time I was there. At that time, I met up with one-half of the dynamic duo who created what was reputed to be the best children’s bookstore in the Midwest, if not the country, and possibly the world. The Reading Reptile, which Pete Cowdin and Deb Pettid started more than twenty-five years ago, was a hub for creative engagement in the world of children’s literature — for both readers and authors, who would appear there on a regular basis. The bookstore closed more than a year ago, and the founders are pursuing a new vision: It’s a big one.
Their idea is to create a fully immersive museum dedicated to literature for young people — and by fully immersive, they mean a life-size, walk-through of the book itself. Their organization, The Rabbit Hole, is hoping to have a building soon in which to build their dream: the world’s first Explor-a-storium — and a national center for the children’s book.