A Girl's Guide to Total Beauty
by Nikki Goldstein
$12.99 (pbk),176 pages, Ages: 9 and up.
In this fun, feel-good guide, girls learn to make the best of what nature gave them and celebrate their unique look.
Topics include: discovering your beauty type, keeping your skin fit, making the most of your features with makeup and pampering yourself.
This is a great pick-me-up for girls who want to be happy with who they are and not feel pressured to look like an impossible ideal.
If you like this, check out GirlForce, the first book in the series, and stop by www.girlforce.com.
Big Fat Little Lit
edited by Art Spiegelman and Francoise Mouly
Picture Puffin Books, 2006
$14.99, ages 9-12, 144 pages.
This amazing collection of 36 comic stories and games culled by Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Spiegelman and his wife Mouly will have your traveler with their nose in the book until there's no more book to read.
Celebrity artists, from Maurice Sendak to William Joyce and David Macaulay, bring their singular wit and talents to the page.
Among my favorite strips, Olivia creator Ian Falconer's "Pretty Ugly," about an ogre girl who makes the scariest face ever, that of a human girl, but can't undo it.
Doctors can't figure out how to cure poor Anna the ogre and her grandmother consoles her, saying "Real beauty is on the inside, Sugar." But Anna's no wilting flower.
While hiding away in a shed, Anna thinks about what grandmother said and realizes that all she has to do to be "pretty ugly" again is to reach inside her mouth and pull her face inside out.
As Anna beams with her exposed brain, eye sockets and nasal openings, her dad exclaims, "Ain't she adorable?"
Encyclopedia of Immaturity, Volume 1 and 2
the editors of Klutz, 2007 and 2009
$19.95, ages 9-12, 412 pages (Vol 1), 200 pages (Vol 2).
OK, this series was also on my 2009 Holiday Book Guide, but it's such a hit with my 11-year-old son that I'd feel remiss not suggesting it for summer traveling.
Packed with pranks, silly challenges and hysterical things to contemplate, it's every tween boy's dream of what a book should be.
This is a book that dares to be outrageous and will have your fellows reading back to you hilarious how-tos, like how to keep the plane seat next to you empty or make duct tape underwear.
There's lots of stuff to entertain them when they're stuck in the seats of a car or plane, like "Backseat Rituals."
Our boys immediately latched onto one called, "Trucker Honk." Every time they see an 18-wheeler, they look at the driver, pump their arm and wait for a honk back.
They also love the "back rub stories" -- one sibling shifts his back to the other, and the other tells him a story from the book and traces pictures on his back that go with the story.
Parents, consider skimming through the book before the trip and stashing a few crafts supplies in your carry-on, like duct tape, a plastic spoon and a black marker.