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Goodnight Moon tucked us in. Nancy Drew kept us on our toes. Are You There God? It?s Me Margaret assured us we weren?t alone. And Harry Potter revived our sense of wonder--regardless of how old (cough) we were when we read it.

And who better than the New York Public Library to remind us of just how life-changing a little old thing like a book can be? ?The ABC of It: Why Children?s Books Matter? does just that.

Among the 250 items on view, weave through displays of rare editions and touching artifacts. One minute you?ll glance over Nathaniel Hawthorne?s annotated family copy of Mother Goose and Alice Liddell?s copy of Alice in Wonderland (she was Lewis Carroll?s muse), and then next, you?ll be in awe of the actual stuffed animals that inspired Winnie-the-Pooh.

But as cool as the ?stuff? is, the most enlightening part is connecting the dots throughout history and seeing how the societal idea of childhood has evolved. That, and there?s a huge furry wall.

New York Public Library, Fifth Ave. and 42nd St.; 917-275-6975 or nypl.org

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