Storybook Worlds Made Real

Essays on the Places Inspired by Children’s Narratives


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About the Book

Memorable children’s narratives immerse readers in imaginary worlds that bring them into the story. Some of these places have been constructed in the real world—like Pinocchio’s Tuscany or Anne of Green Gables’ Prince Edward Island—where visitors relive their favorite childhood tales. Theme parks like Walt Disney World and Harry Potter World use technology to engineer enchanting environments that reconnect visitors with beloved fictional settings and characters in new ways. This collection of new essays explores the imagined places we loved as kids, with a focus on the meaning of setting and its power to shape the way we view the world.

About the Author(s)

Kathy Merlock Jackson, a professor of media and communication at Virginia Wesleyan University, teaches courses in media studies and children’s culture. She is the author or editor of thirteen books and former editor of The Journal of American Culture. She has served as past president of both the American Culture Association and the Popular Culture Association.

Mark I. West is the former chair of the English department at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He has written or edited nineteen books on children’s literature and culture and is a former president of the Children’s Literature Association.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Kathy Merlock Jackson and Mark I. West

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 292
Bibliographic Info: 18 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2022
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7418-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4585-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments x
Kathy Merlock Jackson and Mark I. West 1
Tivoli Gardens and Hans Christian Andersen: A Tale of Confluence
Mark I. West 5
Fairy Tales, German Heritage, and a Vision of Roadside America: See Rock City
Kathy Merlock Jackson 11
Places Embracing Beloved Characters
Visiting Pinocchio in Tuscany
Lucy Rollin 29
For Anne Fans Only: Romanticism and Narrative Simulacra in Cavendish’s Avonlea
Sue Matheson 34
Fantasy Worlds of Animals
­Winnie-the-Pooh: Resisting Commodification of a Beloved Childhood Narrative
Terri Toles Patkin 53
Beatrix Potter World, Hill Top Farm, and a Legacy of Conservation
Sarah Minslow 71
Paths for Girls’ Journeys
Somewhere on Top of a Mountain: A Real Journey to Oz
Dina Schiff Massachi 87
Worldly Wonderlands: ­Alice-Inspired Places Across the Globe
Francesca Arnavas 101
Dramatic Playlands
Playing in Astrid Lindgren’s World: Developing Empathy Through Dramatic Play
Mark I. West 119
Magic Keys and Musical Mushrooms: Storylands and Early Dramatic Play
Carissa Baker 125
Wacky Worlds
Oh, the Places You’ll Know! Universal’s Seuss Landing and Surrealism Made Real
Carl F. Miller 149
The Hidden Child: Considering the Adult Visitor at Moominworld and the Roald Dahl Museum
Anna Cohn Orchard 157
Magical Theme Parks
Peter Pan, Snow White, and Toad: Disneyland’s First Dark Rides
Suzanne Rahn 171
“—yer a wizard”: Immersion and Agency in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Susan Larkin and Travis B. Malone 186
American Girl Toylands
Unique, Yet United: Empowering Individuality and Sisterhood at American Girl Place and American Girl Live
Haley Flanders Anderson 203
Revisionist History: How American Girl Place Revolutionized and Abandoned Immersive Storytelling in Shopping
Emily Sullivan 222
Sites for Educating and Remembering
Places That Inspire: Figment, Shamu, and the Thin Line Between Education and Advertising
Andrew J. Friedenthal 237
Martin’s Park: A Disaster Narrative in a Children’s Space
Amy Lantinga 251
A Bibliography of Childhood Narratives and the Places They Inspire
Camille McCutcheon 271
About the Contributors 275
Index 279

Book Reviews & Awards

“Beautifully highlights the life breathed into some of our most beloved tales, through the world of amusement parks and tourist attractions.”—Children’s Literature Association Quarterly