+
Most Shared

Ever wish you could live inside your favorite book? You can at this incredible new place.

There's nothing like sharing a book with your kid — except maybe jumping inside one.

Have you ever wanted to just crawl inside your favorite book and stay there for a while?

Probably the best thing about books is the way they create entire worlds inside our minds. All it takes is a flat piece of paper (or maybe a screen) full of images and words and the limitations of the real world suddenly disappear, thrusting you into a new, expansive universe full of endless possibility.

At least, until you come crashing back down to reality. Lame.


But what if you could physically step inside that delightful and dazzling domain? And what if you could bring your friends with you to share in that otherworldly experience?

All images courtesy of The Rabbit hOle, used with permission.

Welcome to the Rabbit hOle! It's not a metaphor — it's a real-life place where you can celebrate children's literature up close.

Soon to be located in Kansas City (which gives a whole new meaning to "We're not in Kansas anymore" since it's actually Missouri), the Rabbit hOle aims to be the world's first "ExploraStorium" — a fun, fresh fusion of bookstore, discovery museum, playground, creative workshop, and interactive theater performance, all in one fantastical location.

(And yes, that capitalization of "Rabbit hOle" is intentionally stylized.)

The goal is to create a national center for the children's book, where retail, workshops, immersive experiences, and special events all coexist in a multi-level building that, well, literally feels like you're walking through a children's book.

An artist's rendering of the Rabbit hOle, which is still in its early planning stages.

"Building experiences around books in a place like the Rabbit hOle reinforces the culture of literature that nourishes the act of reading. That's as simple as it gets," said co-founder Pete Cowdin.

"There are no places where kids can celebrate the culture of books — no places that affirm and inform the activity of reading, libraries notwithstanding. Until we remedy this, we’ll always be struggling with chronic literacy problems among young people."

For more than 20 years before launching this ambitious endeavor, Cowdin and his partner, Debbie Pettid, ran the cherished Kansas City bookstore Reading Reptile. The store was brimming with 3D pop-up displays and life-size papier-mâché cutouts of beloved children's book characters like Captain Underpants, Mike Mulligan, and more. They even took these immersive aspects on tour with them, setting up temporary installations in libraries, community centers, and other storefronts.

But it still wasn't enough to fit their grandest visions.

The Reading Reptile "was forever and always a retail concern, limited by market forces and tethered to commodity culture," Cowdin said. "We had to build something outside of that space."

Enter: the Rabbit hOle.

The "Captain Underpants Pop-Up Pop-Up!" is one of the many magnificent living book installations that Cowdin and Pettid have created over the years — and an omen of what's to come at the Rabbit hOle.

"What's so brilliant about the Rabbit hOle is that it takes this private exchange, this magical forest, and carries it one step further, making it real," said author Brian Selznick.

Selznick is perhaps best known for creating "The Invention of Hugo Cabret," which inspired the award-winning film "Hugo." So he knows a thing or two about immersive experiences.

He's just one of many big-name authors and publishers getting behind the project, including Kate DiCamillo ("Flora and Ulysses"), Jon Scieszka ("The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales"), Linda Sue Park ("A Single Shard"), and even Daniel Handler, aka Lemony Snicket.

Selznick went on to say, "There's been a lot of excitement in the movie industry regarding 3D movies, but the Rabbit hOle offers us something unique in the literary world: a 3D reading experience."

The interactive aspects of the Rabbit hOle aren't just fun and games. Well OK, they are. But that's exactly why they're great — for everyone, regardless of their age.

"Simply walking into the Rabbit hOle will make age seem irrelevant," Cowdin said. "It’s always been our intention that the Rabbit hOle be a place where kids AND adults come together around books, that the adventure is a shared adventure."

Award-winning author and board member Linda Sue Park added: "I'm thinking of it as multigenerational — as an experience for people of all ages to share. Books connect people through time and across space, and as a museum of the book, the Rabbit hOle will do the same."

That's the best thing about a place like the Rabbit hOle: It reminds us of the value of play.

The simple act of engaging in purposeless fun has been proven to help children and adults alike develop and sharpen problem-solving skills, creativity, relationship building, and so much more. It has a positive impact on the mind as well as the body — and in a modern world where everyone is always on the go, we could all use a good excuse to stop and have some fun.

Opening Day of the Rabbit hOle's first immersive gallery, featuring "The Incredible Painting of Felix Clousseau."

If all goes according to plan, the Rabbit hOle's ExploraStorium will launch in 2019. In the meantime, here's another way to visualize the magic:

Family

Professional tidier Marie Kondo says she's 'kind of given up' after having three kids

Hearing Kondo say, 'My home is messy,' is sparking joy for moms everywhere.

Marie Kondo playing with her daughters.

Marie Kondo's book, "The Life-Changing Art of Tidying Up," has repeatedly made huge waves around the world since it came out in 2010. From eliminating anything that didn't "spark joy" from your house to folding clothes into tiny rectangles and storing them vertically, the KonMari method of maintaining an organized home hit the mark for millions of people. The success of her book even led to two Netflix series.

It also sparked backlash from parents who insisted that keeping a tidy home with children was not so simple. It's one thing to get rid of an old sweater that no longer brings you joy. It's entirely another to toss an old, empty cereal box that sparks zero joy for you, but that your 2-year-old is inexplicably attached to.

To be fair, Kondo never forced her way into anyone's home and made them organize it her way. But also to be fair, she didn't have kids when she wrote her best-selling book on keeping a tidy home. The reality is that keeping a home organized and tidy with children living in it is a whole other ballgame, as Kondo has discovered now that she has three kids of her own.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

13-year-old ventriloquist sings incredible, sassy version of 'You Don't Own Me' on 'AGT'

Ana-Maria Mărgean only started her hobby in 2020 and is already wowing audiences on "America's Got Talent."

America's Got Talent/Youtube

Ana-Maria Mărgean singing "You Don't Own Me" on "America's Got Talent"

It’s not every day a ventriloquist act is so jaw-dropping that it has to be seen to be believed. But when it does happen, it’s usually on “America’s Got Talent.”

Ana-Maria Mărgean was only 11 years old when she first took to the stage on “Romania’s Got Talent” to show off her ventriloquism skills, an act inspired by videos of fellow ventriloquist and “America’s Got Talent” Season 2 champion Terry Fator.

Using puppets built for her by her parents, the young performer tirelessly spent her quarantine time in 2020 learning how to bring them to life, which led to her receiving a Golden Buzzer and eventually winning the entire series in Romania.

Mărgean is now 13 and a competitor on this season of “America’s Got Talent: All-Stars,” hoping to be crowned the winner and perform her own show in Vegas, just like her hero Fator.

Keep ReadingShow less
All illustrations are provided by Soosh and used with permission.

I have plenty of space.

This article originally appeared on 04.09.16


It's hard to truly describe the amazing bond between dads and their daughters.

Being a dad is an amazing job no matter the gender of the tiny humans we're raising. But there's something unique about the bond between fathers and daughters.

Most dads know what it's like to struggle with braiding hair, but we also know that bonding time provides immense value to our daughters. In fact, studies have shown that women with actively involved fathers are more confident and more successful in school and business.

Keep ReadingShow less
Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

A person of color uses a crosswalk.

This article originally appeared on 11.01.17


You missed a study that illuminates the very real dangers of literally "walking while black."

In addition to rogue police officers targeting people of color on the street, a study from Portland State University found that drivers are less likely to stop for black pedestrians.

The study, a follow-up from one conducted in 2014, administered tests using identically dressed black and white volunteers attempting to cross the same intersection. The 2014 study revealed black male pedestrians waited 32% longer than white male pedestrians for cars to stop. The 2017 research expanded on these tests to include black and white women and marked versus unmarked crosswalks.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

6 lessons in making life choices based on the wisdom of Warren Buffett

These are the six factors Warren Buffett says he considers when he's making big business decisions.

Warren Buffett speaking at the 2015 Select USA Investment Summit.

True
TD Ameritrade

This article originally appeared on

Warren Buffett isn't just rich. He's known for being ethical, straightforward, and wise. And also generous. Not just with his money but with his ideas.

Buffett straight up spelled out how he makes decisions on how to invest in and acquire businesses in a public letter sent to his shareholders. To be clear: His instincts and insights are what have made him such a rich man. And that's what he's sharing so openly with the world.

These are the six factors Warren Buffett says he considers when he's making big business decisions.

Maybe they could help the rest of us think through some tough decisions in our own lives? Let's see.

Keep ReadingShow less
Nature

Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave that’s been closed for 70 years

You can only access the cave from the basement of the home and it’s open for business.

This Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave.

Have you ever seen something in a movie or online and thought, "That's totally fake," only to find out it's absolutely a real thing? That's sort of how this house in Pennsylvania comes across. It just seems too fantastical to be real, and yet somehow it actually exists.

The home sits between Greencastle and Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, and houses a pretty unique public secret. There's a cave in the basement. Not a man cave or a basement that makes you feel like you're in a cave, but an actual cave that you can't get to unless you go through the house.

Turns out the cave was discovered in the 1830s on the land of John Coffey, according to Uncovering PA, but the story of how it was found is unclear. People would climb down into the cave to explore occasionally until the land was leased about 100 years later and a small structure was built over the cave opening.

Keep ReadingShow less