Your children will engage with books in new ways as beloved characters leap out of the gigantic pages partitioning the Magic House’s traveling exhibit hall. The books featured in the event are diverse, appealing to both girls and boys, and include the following:
• Anansi and the Talking Melon
• Beauty and the Beast
• The Elves and the Shoemaker
• Jack and the Beanstalk
• Lon Po Po
The giant books present a colorful scene from each fairy tale, and an excerpt from each story is printed in several languages. The displays explain how each tale is interpreted by other cultures. For example, visitors learn how Cinderella is told to French children and that Lon Po Po is really a Chinese version of Little Red Riding Hood.
But mostly, young visitors are drawn to the activities associated with each book as parents read the tales.
Props and hands-on activities keep the busiest of children engaged. Some favorite activities include sweeping Cinderella’s fireplace, climbing Jack’s beanstalk and helping elves make a pair of shoes. Kids can also dress up as fairy tale characters, and smaller children will enjoy crawling through a mole tunnel to visit Thumbelina.
Older children can pull up a toadstool to a computer screen and construct their own fairy tale. The simple program asks children to select one of three choices for each part of the tale and then prints out a custom fairy tale for the child to take home. Results are often funny, such as a tale about a fairy godmother who rescues a giant with a fishing pole.
There are no attendants in this part of the Magic House, so visitors are left to explore the self-explanatory fairy tale activities on their own. The exhibit is most appreciated by children ages 2-8.
This traveling exhibit was put together by the Magic House with help from the St. Louis Public Library. It will be open until April 4. "Once Upon a Tale" is included with general admission to the Magic House, which is $8.50 per person over 1 years old. Parking is free.
The Magic House
516 S. Kirkwood Road
St. Louis, MO 63122
Freelance writer Denise Bertacchi is a St. Louis native and full time mom with two boys, ages 11 and 2. She's enjoying showing her toddler all the fun things to do in St. Louis that his big brother has outgrown. During their adventures, she's taking plenty of photos for scrapbooks and blog posts. Bertacchi writes regularly for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Missouri Life and other print or online publications.From the calendar