Scribbles, Doodles and Squiggles:
A Really Giant Coloring and Doodling Book
by Taro Gomi
Chronicle Books, 2006 and 2007
$19.99 each, ages 3-99.
Gomi has single-handedly re-energized the coloring book format with three engaging books that will inspire readers' imaginations for trips to come.
Inside each book, children not only color pictures (which are fun and quirky), but draw their own details from whimsical prompts.
On one page, doodlers are asked to put shoes on a giraffe; on another, draw what they think is springing out of a Jack-in-the-Box.
Be sure to bring along colored pencils and a book for each child. (Even good sharers may have trouble sharing this one.)
The Most Amazing Thumb Doodles Book in the History of the Civilized World
by the editors of Klutz, 2008
$14.95, ages 8 and up
That's a lot of hype for thumb prints, but this is one cute doodle book.
Artists get 16 scenes to make their own, from a rock face for finger climbers to scale to a boxing ring for thumb wrestlers to duke it out.
On the left side of every spread are step-by-step instructions for making characters they'd likely see in the scene. For instance, in a castle scene, there's a how-to for a fire-breathing finger dragon, a noble prince and his teary-eyed princess.
There are also handy tips to prevent smudges and to clean up inky finger tips, and to the side of the book are squares of ink in red, blue, green and purple, as well as a black pen for adding details.
Rosie Flo's Coloring Books
by Roz Streeten
Chronicle Books, 2009
$8.99, ages 8 and up
Outlines of delicate dresses and ornate costumes fill the pages of these clever coloring books.
Each outfit is spaced so that doodlers can draw in their own doll heads, legs and arms, then color in the outfits with pretty little details.
In one coloring book, doodlers color in floral-inspired dresses for a garden party. In another, they adorn outfits modeled after animals, including a spiderweb gown and peacock skirt.
Other books in the series include kitchen attire resembling cakes and pastries, and stickers to color in and add to fashions.
The 15 Greatest Board Games in the World
by the editors of Klutz, 2008
$24.95, ages 7 and up
Readers literally play this book, choosing among 15 games selected as the best from around the world.
Every game has it's own beautifully designed board, as well as playing pieces and dice stored in slide-out tray on the cover.
There's Hoppers, a close cousin of Chinese Checkers in which players hop the board trying to get to the opposite corner first, and Surround, in which players cover manholes in a cityscape to surround their opponent.
Each game was chosen for its ease of playing and wide appeal for hours of laptop fun.
Rubber Neckers: High Flying Fun for the Airport and Plane, and Everyone's Favorite Travel Game
by Matthew Lore, illustrated by Robert Zimmerman
Chronicle Books, 2007 and 1999
$12.95, ages 4-12
Both of these clever card games will have your travelers on super alert, as they search for objects down the plane aisle or outside the car window.
And parents will love that each is contained in a sturdy box that's small enough to fit in the palm of their child's hand.
One Rubber Neckers is geared for air travel, and contains 70 cards to keep them happy during layovers and up in the air. Kids might be asked to search the plane isles for someone wearing a baseball cap or to politely ask another passenger to wave.
The other is designed for car rides and includes 68 cards that get kids looking out the window to find objects zipping passed or on the roadside.
Every time a player succeeds in their challenge, they get points and in the end, players tally up the numbers to see who wins.
Not only fun for your kids, the games will have passengers around them chuckling too.