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