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08/29/2002 - Updated 01:43 PM ET

10 great places to take a storybook vacation

Don't let school start without rewarding your kids for reading during this long, hot summer. Now is a great time, before teacher asks what they did on vacation, to visit a storybook destination that they recently read about. Authors of Storybook Travels (Three Rivers Press, $14), Colleen Dunn Bates and Susan LaTempa took their own children on 30 such trips to the settings of favorite literary tales. Susan LaTempa tells USA TODAY's Kathy McCabe about memorable visits.

The Plaza Hotel is a must for fans of Eloise. F.A.O. Schwarz across the street has a selection of Eloise toys.

London, England

"In London, you can go on a shopping trip as Harry Potter did (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling) and buy potions and wands at Davenport's on Charing Cross Road." The British Tourist Authority offers a map that points out sites across England that were used in the movie version of the book. 800-462-2748; www.visitbritain.com.

Collodi, Italy

Author Carlo Lorenzini, creator of The Adventures of Pinocchio, used the pen name Carlo Collodi to honor his native village in Tuscany, now home to Parco di Pinocchio (Pinocchio Park). "Our kids loved the puppet show and the playground garden, which is filled with sculptures from the book. It's a wonderful place to visit because it is not a high-tech theme park." 011-39-0572-429342; www.pinocchio.it.

Taos, New Mexico

Pay a visit to a living history museum, La Hacienda de los Martinez, near the village where Miguel (And Now Miguel by Joseph Krumgold) and his shepherding family lived in the 1950s. The museum offers an introduction to the Spanish sheep-shearing tradition of the region. "The annual wool festival in October has sheep-shearing demonstrations, contests and activities for kids." 505-758-1000; www.taosmuseums.org.


"The classic picture book Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey depicts a duck family in Boston Public Garden. Today, Mrs. Mallard and her little ones are commemorated in bronze statues at the park. Following the duck family's walk is a satisfying afternoon excursion with toddlers." 888-SEE-BOSTON; www.bostonusa.com.

New York City

"Whether you stay overnight or just ride the elevators up and down a few times, a visit to The Plaza hotel is a visit to the stomping grounds of Kay Thompson's Eloise." Try afternoon tea at the Palm Court, where hot chocolate is poured from silver pitchers. Cross the street to mega toy store F.A.O. Schwarz for a selection of Eloise toys. 212-759-3000.

Prince Edward Island, Canada

"There are so many Anne of Green Gables (by L.M. Montgomery) books that it's possible to roam all over PEI and do the things that Anne did. You can visit the Green Gables house, go on a buggy ride and pick strawberries. Even a trip to the horse track is something that Anne did in one of the books. It's a very rural island where the farms are still the way they were during Anne's time." 888-PEI-PLAY; www.peiplay.com.

De Smet, South Dakota

"The Ingalls Homestead (Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder) in De Smet was created just a few years ago when 19th-century buildings, including a farmhouse and schoolhouses, were moved to the original homestead site. There is a sod dugout, a covered wagon and a barn with a hayloft. Everything is hands-on and open to be explored." 800-776-3594; www.liwms.com.

Graubunden, Switzerland

In honor of Heidi by Johanna Spyri, "in the hills above the town of Maienfeld, a small museum called Heidihaus has been furnished from the attics of local residents. Kids can try on Grandpa's clothes, lie in the beds, write on the slates, pretend to make cheese, look in the cupboard, and sit on the wooden privy." 011-41-81-330-1912; www.graubuenden.ch.

Hamelin, Germany

Throughout the summer, local actors perform a weekly retelling of The Pied Piper of Hamelin, by Robert Browning, "with children parading around in rat costumes. Hamelin has a finely preserved medieval town center, which makes it the perfect place for children to learn about this fascinating time in history." www.hameln.de/touristinfo.

Near Sawrey, England

"Beatrix Potter's tiny farmhouse (called Hill Top) was the real-life setting for books such as The Tale of Jemima Puddleduck, based on one of Potter's own ducks. The porch, with a pink climbing rose, is just like the one written about in The Tale of Tom Kitten. For the smallest children, just a walk in the pasture allows them to encounter real-life Peter Rabbits and Tom Kittens." 011-44-15394-36269.