Friday, June 4, 2010

Great Books for Summer Travel!

Planes, trains and cars, oh my!

All that time sitting and kids can go bonkers (and make their parents tense in the process).

If you're like me, before every trip starts you slip out of the house in search of the perfect activities to tote along and surprise them with.

My criteria?

1. They've got to grab their attention from the get-go -- elicit a squeal when I pull them out, or from the older guys, an approving, "Hey cool, Mom."

2. They need to be interesting enough to keep the kids from asking "Are we there yet?" before we're even close to our destination (or at least until the fasten seat belt sign is turned off).

3. They must be fairly compact, easily fitting into my kids' hands or laps, and sliding into a shoulder bag.

And lastly, wouldn't it be great if they fed their brains too -- spurred their creativity or got them thinking in a new way?

Nothing quite fits the bill like a few great books: they transport kids away from a ho-hum moment and help them forget all of the annoying things their siblings were doing just minutes before.

So, to help your travel time slip by (and keep peace in the backseat), I've pulled together my top book picks for summer traveling.

Each of the books was selected for it's clever premise, ease of reading and/or how quickly it jettisons readers into an adventure (or their imagination.)

Activity Books for Kids on the Go

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.

Books to Calm a Frazzled Traveler

The Quiet Book

by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Renata Liwska

Houghton Mifflin

$12.95, ages 4-8, 32 pages

This enchanting book visits some of the ways animals like be quiet and will inspire your little one to find his calm time too.

On one page a little bunny does stretches before anyone else wakes up. On another, a porcupine perched on a stool in a birthday hat makes a wish with all of his might.

In my favorite, two best friends, a bear and rabbit, chase waves on a beach together, contented in the silence of their play.

Liwska's illustrations are as soft and sweet as well-loved toys. What a wonderful way to segue into a little impromptu quiet time.

Over the Rainbow

illustrated by Eric Puybaret, with the voice of Judy Collins

Imagine Publishing, Inc., 2010

$17.95, ages 4-8, 26 pages

As a storm clears, a rainbow pours out of a cloud into a girl's window, beckoning her to crawl up its path to a magical place in the sky in this breathtaking adaptation of Arlen and E.Y. Harburg's song, "Over the Rainbow."

The girl, dressed in a soft-white night gown, sees a woman joyfully leaping off a cloud shaped like an outstretched hand, then follows her lead to play among the planets and moon, and soar with long-necked birds.

Readers will think they're already dreaming when they open the book and turn on the CD of Grammy Award-winner Collins' singing the classic song. Bring along a portable CD player and watch little faces grow serene.

My Circus

written and illustrated by Xavier Deneux

Bloomsbury, 2010

$9.99, ages baby and up, 18 pages

In this whimsical board book, readers are invited into the big top to see magical sights, from a clown blowing droplets of water from a horn onto a daisy to acrobats balancing on wobble boards.

Just 6 inches square, the book is printed mainly in red, black and white, with simple, graphic images that tie one circus act to the next through cut-out windows. (An acrobat's striped shorts on one page later becomes part of the belly of a zebra jumping through a hoop on another.)

This little gem is just the thing to make your toddler forget he's been belted into a car seat longer than he likes.

Picture Books to Read Over & Over

Hattie the Bad

by Jane Devlin, pictures by Joe Berger

Dial Books, 2010

$16.99, ages 3-5, 32 pages

Hattie, an assertive little girl with freckles on her nose and pigtails that stick out sideways, thinks it's more fun pulling pranks than being good.

But when parents refuse to let their children play with her, Hattie decides the only way to get her friends back is to be the best child ever.

The only problem is that Hattie is now so good, all of her friends think she's one-upping them.

How will she ever get kids to play with her again?

This delightful book celebrates the harmless fun of a little mischief, and the importance of being true to yourself.

The Pirate Cruncher!,

written and illustrated by Jonny Duddle

Templar Books, 2010

$15.99, ages 4-8, 38 pages

A dastardly pirate leads his ragtag crew in search of an island of treasure, only to discover that he's made a beastly mistake in this rollicking good story by a talented debut author-illustrator.

Captain Purplebeard is so smitten with the prospect of treasure that he ignores an old fiddler's warning that the island can perform a vanishing act and no one who has stepped ashore has ever returned.

Duddle's illustrations, so packed with detail, humor and action, will keep eyes lingering on the page long after the words are read.

Palazzo Inverso

written and illustrated by D. B. Johnson

Houghton Mifflin, 2010

$17, age 4-8, 32 pages

In this masterpiece inspired by the Dutch artist M.C. Escher, a mischievous apprentice confuses workers into building a palace upside down.

Mauk, the apprentice, loves to draw but his master, the architect, only lets him sharpen pencils, until one day Mauk gets a wild hare to turn the architectural plans around, causing builders to raise the palace in reverse.

The mistake is fortuitous, allowing Mauk to flee from adults by running on the ceiling, as readers turn the book around and read in reverse to try to find a way out.

But will the adults ever see the beauty of a palace turned on its head?

How to Clean Your Room in 10 Easy Steps

by Jennifer LaRue Huget, illustrated by Edward Koren

Schwartz & Wade, 2010

$16.99, ages 4-8, 40 pages.

A precocious girl undoes everything that's neat and tidy in her room, then shoves things into hiding places and pawns off stuff to her sister in this hysterical how-to for cleaning a room from a child's point of view.

Perfectly suited to Koren's squiggly style, the story will have readers in stitches over what she gets away with and laughing at her excuses for making more of a mess.

If you love the illustrations and humor, you'll also delight in the hysterical Thelonius Monster's Sky-High Fly-Pie, illustrated by Koren and written by Judy Sierra.

I'm the Best

written and illustrated by Lucy Cousins

Candlewick Press, 2010

$14.99, ages 3-5, 32 pages.

A goofy lovable dog in rainbow checkered shorts declares he's the best at everything in this exuberant tale about the dangers of boasting and the importance of being humble.

Dog tries to outdo his friends Ladybug, Mole, Goose and Donkey, only to have his friends show him that it's no fun to feel small.

Never meaning to be mean, Dog realizes he's been a show-off and apologizes to his friends, who save the day, telling Dog he is the best at being their best friend.

Cousin's paintings are so happy and energetic, you find yourself glued to the page, lost in her hypnotic splatters of color.

Stories With a Touch of Magic

The Boy Who Climbed Into the Moon

by David Almond, illustrated by Polly Dunbar

Candlewick Press, 2010

$15.99, ages 9-12, 123 pages.

A lonely boy living in the basement of an apartment building decides to climb to the top story and touch the sky, and along the way meets happy people with strange ideas who encourage him to test out his theory that the moon is not the moon but a big hole in the sky.

Quirky and wonderful, this story will inspire readers to follow their dreams, no matter how crazy they seem, and find a place where they belong.

If you love this, don't miss Almond's brilliant tribute to the human spirit, My Dad's a Birdman, also illustrated by Dunbar, about a girl who helps her grieving father fly like a bird.


by Kathleen Van Cleve

Dial Books for Young Readers, 2010

$16.99, ages 9-12, 368 pages.

Eleven-year-old Polly Peabody lives on a magical farm where rhubarb tastes like chocolate, tourists ride a giant umbrella her family built and every Monday at 1 p.m. it rains.

But then one Monday, it doesn't rain, and in a week's time, the plants are shriveling up, brother Freddy is sick and Aunt Edith is trying to convince her father to sell the farm.

Polly has always had special powers to talk to plants and bugs, but can she get it to rain before it's too late?

A whimsical fantasy about a shy girl who learns to face her biggest fears and help those she loves.

Magic Below Stairs

by Caroline Stevermer

Dial Books for Young Readers, 2010

$16.99, ages 9-12, 208 pages.

When 11-year-old Frederick gets his chance to leave the orphanage and work as a footboy for a wealthy wizard, he can't believe his good fortune.

But little does he know that a mischievous hobgoblin who helped him out of a scrape at the orphanage has tagged along with him.

Once the wizard finds out about the trouble-making brownie Billy Bly, he bans all magical creatures from his manor, but Billy Bly is a stubborn little fellow and it's a good thing too with all the trouble brewing.

Full of charm and adventure, this is a perfect start for a young fantasy reader.

The Night Fairy

by Laura Amy Schlitz

Candlewick Press, 2010

$16.99, ages 9-12, 128 pages.

A night fairy named Flory gets stranded on a cherry tree after a bat pup accidentally bites her wings then tries to get other creatures to carry her around in this beautifully written book about what it means to be a friend.

Newbery winner Schlitz's short tale will delight any girl who's ever lain on her back, looking up into a tree and imagined what it would be like to be small enough to leap from branch to branch in a petal dress.

The Dreamer

by Pam Munoz Ryan, illustrated by Peter Sis

Scholastic Press, 2010

$17.99, ages 9-12, 364 pages.

A timid Chilean boy named Neftali daydreams about magical adventures and longs to speak freely about what he thinks, but fears that he will disappoint his domineering father in this breathtaking retelling of poet Pablo Neruda's childhood.

Neftali imagines poetry all around him, and with the encouragement of his stepmother and uncle, is able to rise above his father's reproach.

This lovely, poetic story envelops you and leaves you feeling more aware and available to the world around you, as well as more aware of the injustices that shaped the life of the Noble Peace Prize-winning poet.

Fast Reads for the Road

The Deadlies: Felix Takes the Stage

by Kathryn Lasky, illustrated by Stephen Gilpin

Scholastic Press, 2010

$15.99, ages 9-12, 142 pages.

Felix, a recluse spider, knows better than to show himself to humans, but one day his dream of riding the conductor's baton in the philharmonic hall gets the better of him and all havoc erupts.

At the sight of Felix on his baton, the conductor collapses in fright, causing Felix to fall and lose a leg. His mother worries exterminators are on their way and whisks the kids away from their hideout.

But why, asks Felix, must they always run away and will his dream of being an artist ever come true?

In this first book in a fun new series, Lasky transforms one of the most feared spiders into a creature to cheer for, though at the end, cautions readers to steer clear of them in real-life.

Whistle Bright Magic: A Nutfolk Tale

by Barb Bentler Ullman

Katherine Tegen Books, 2010

$16.99, ages 9-12, 224 pages

Twenty years after the debut of The Fairies of Nutfolk Wood, a grownup Willa returns from the big city to Plunkit with daughter Zelly, and though Willa can no longer see the fairies, Zelly meets the last remaining fairy child living in the wood, Ronald Whistle Bright.

But what can Zelly do to stop developers threatening to destroy the fairy village of Nutfolk Wood and will she ever reconnect with the father she hasn't seen since her parents separated?

Pair this engaging sequel with the first book for the trip there and back.

Benjamin Pratt & the Keepers School: We the Children, Book 1

by Andrew Clements, pictures by Adam Stower

Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2010

$14.99, ages 7-10, 143 pages.

Benjamin Pratt isn't happy about plans to flatten his harbor-side school and erect an amusement park in its place, but he never thought he'd fight it. After all, what's the use in challenging the inevitable?

But then a janitor slips Benjamin a coin inscribed with secret orders to defend the school against attack, and suddenly Benjamin and his friend Jill are uncovering things the developer never wanted anyone to know.

From the author of Frindle comes an exciting new series that will have kids riveted to the last page. Stower's blue and black ink illustrations makes this book feel like a classic passed down from parents to kids.

Lawn Boy Returns, Book 2

by Gary Paulsen

Wendy Lamb Books, 2010

$12.99, ages 9-12, 112 pages.

In this hilarious sequel to the 2007 Lawn Boy, a 12-year-old boy who made millions mowing lawns with his late grandad's old sit-down mower and investing in stock is now getting a taste for what it means to be rich.

He's having to juggle the media, the IRS, a full-blown business and a street full of girls wanting his autograph. On top of that Lawn Boy has to deal with an unsavory character named Zed, his prizefighter's long-lost relative, who's trying to mooch off his earnings.

A perfect read for reluctant readers from three-time Newbery Honor winner Paulsen.

Barnaby Grimes

by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell

David Fickling Books, 2008-2010

$16.99 each, ages 8-12. 224-240 pages.

A courier lad named Barnaby Grimes bounds over the rooftops of a Dickensian city, battling supernatural forces and creepy characters, in this winning series by the creators of Muddle Earth.

In the latest installment Legion of the Dead, the "tick-tock lad" must try to unravel a plot involving zombies raised from the dead.

Riddell's intricate ink drawings capture his fast-pace escapades into a world of greed and betrayal.

Don't miss the first two books, Curse of the Night Wolf and Return of the Emerald Skull, all equally fun to read.

Books With Characters You Feel You Know (Or Wish You Did!)


By Frank Cottrell Boyce

Walden Pond Press, 2010

$16.99, ages 8-12, 314 pages.

What's a big lad of 12 to do if everyone assumes he's grown up just because he's tall?

Well, play along. Why not? Especially if it allows him to do things he couldn't do otherwise, like ride the Cosmic catapult at the amusement park and be invited to test drive a Porsche off the showroom floor.

But now Liam's gone too far and conned his way onto a spaceship that's rolled out of orbit, and Mom and Dad have no idea where he is.

Hilariously fun and clever, this crazy fun story imagines a resourceful kid finagling his way out of an impossible situation as only a kid can do.

If you love this, check out Boyce's Carnegie Medal-winning hit Millions and equally enjoyable Framed.

Wishing for Tomorrow: The Sequel to A Little Princess

by Hillary McKay

Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2010

$16.99, ages 8-12, 288 page

In this lovely sequel to the 100-year-old Frances Hodgson Burnett's classic A Little Princess, Bauer returns to Miss Minchin's Select Seminary for Young Ladies to see how Ermengarde, Lottie and Lavinia have faired since Sara Crewe, the little princess, and her scullery maid Becky left with a mysterious benefactor.

A new maid, Alice, has arrived at the school, bringing a breath of fresh air and practicality, as Emengarde eases her sadness at the loss of Sara and, at Sara's urging, agrees to watch over precocious Lottie, and an intriguing new boy moves in next door, stirring Lavinia's hunger for higher learning.

Scurvy Goonda

by Chris McCoy

Knopf Delacorte Dell, 2010

$16.99, ages 10 and up, 336 pages.

In this first installment of a wonderfully off-the-wall story, a 14-year-old misfit named Ted Merritt is convinced that his problems fitting in at school have a lot to do with the imaginary friend he's had since age 7, a crazy, bacon-loving pirate named Scurvy Goonda.

Everyone thinks Ted's a bit daft to talk to an imaginary friend and besides that, Scurvy's always leaving a mess in his wake. But when Scurvy disappears, Ted realizes what he's lost, and heads off to Middlemost, a strange land where imaginary friends are made to order, to rescue Scurvy and help stop an army of discarded imaginary friends from attacking Earth.

Along the way Ted discovers his elbow has powers to make wishes come true, and learns the true meaning of friendship.

Kid Vs. Squid

by Greg van Eekhout

Bloomsbury, 2010

$16.99, ages 9-12, 208 pages.

When plans to join his parents on a tour of squirt gun factories in Asia gets derailed, Thatcher Hill is forced to spend summer at great-uncle Griswald's curiosity museum in Los Huesos, California, dusting oddities like shrunken heads and barnacle-encrusted wooden box called a "What-Is-It?"

It looks like he's in for a dull summer until a mysterious girl breaks into the museum at night and steals the What-Is-It?, and Thatcher discovers she's no ordinary thief. She's the princess of the lost city of Atlantis and is trying to break a witch's curse that forces her people to wash ashore every summer at the boardwalk, and work the midway games and sausage stands.

Non-stop funny from start to finish, a great debut in children's books from author of the adult fantasy Norse Code.

Novels That Make Time Fly

Lyonesse: The Well Between the Worlds (Book 1) and Darksolstice (Book 2)

by Sam Llewellyn

Orchard Books, 2009 and 2010

$17.99, ages 9-12.

Idris Limpit never imagined he was anything but an ordinary school boy until the fateful day he's accused of being a Cross, a reviled being that's half-monster, half-human, and barely escapes execution.

His rescuer, a powerful magician, whisks him away from his fishing village to a place called the Valley of the Apples, where he goes through the rigors of training to be a monster tamer, only to discover his true destiny to be King of Lyonesse.

But Lyonesse is being pulled underwater and poisoned, and unless he can topple the evil Regent Fisheagle and her cruel son Prince Murther, all could be lost.

Though a complex read at times, the series transports you so completely into Idris's Arthurian world that it lingers in your thoughts long after the book ends.

Tunnels (Book 1), Deeper (Book 2) and Freefall (Book 3)

by Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams

Chicken House, 2007-2010

$18.99. 496-672 pages.

Now in its third book and fast approaching its fourth, this riveting series follows Will Burrows and his best friend Chester as they search a massive subterranean world for Will's archaeologist father while trying to evade a ruthless band of Styx and stop its sinister plan to wipe out topsoilers with a deadly virus.

In the latest installment, the friends find themselves at the bottom of a subterranean pore, fleeing from evil twins and carnivorous creatures as they try to recover viles of the virus in time to thwart the Styx's plans.

I read this one in the dark of night with my headlamp on and felt like I too was underground stealing around dark corners with them. This is a great series for anywhere, but especially overnights in the tent or on a red-eye to vacation.

The Keepers' Tattoo

by Gill Arbuthnott

Chicken House, 2010

$17.99, ages 12 and up, 432 pages.

Adopted in infancy by an innkeeper and his wife, 12-year-old Nyssa has often dreamt of another life. But it isn't until a long-lost uncle pulls her aside in the night that Nyssa learns she was born a Keeper, a teacher who holds vast knowledge, and that an evil tyrant has sent Shadowmen to hunt her down.

The tyrant believes a secret tattooed on Nyssa's head and that of her twin brother could give him power over the Archipelago, and it's up to Nyssa to find her brother and unlock their powers before the tyrant Alaric and his Shadowmen get to them first.

This is one of those books that sneaks up from behind and pulls you in.

The Suburb Beyond the Stars

by M.T. Anderson

Scholastic Press, 2010

$17.99, ages 9-12, 240 pages.

In this followup to the wonderfully entertaining, The Game of Sunken Places, Brian and Gregory go looking for Gregory's missing cousin Prudence in the Vermont woods only to find that her neighbors are not where they are supposed to be, time is off-kilter, and something in the night is snatching up people.

Fast-paced and at times chilling, this second book in the series will be hard to put a bookmark in. You'll want to read straight through to the end.

Though this second book can be read by itself, it's even better paired with the first.

Young Samurai

by Chris Bradford

Disney Hyperion Books, 2009 and 2010

$16.99, Ages 9-12, 368 pages.

After Japanese ninja murder his father and the rest of the crew of a British merchant ship, 12-year-old Jack Fletcher is adopted by a revered samurai and trained in the ways of the Japanese warrior class, only to find his troubles growing.

Unless Jack can survive an ancient ritual that tests a samurai's courage, skill and spirit, and learn a challenging sword technique, he won't be able to protect his late father's rutter, an indispensable navigation guide of the world's uncharted oceans.

The first two books in the trilogy, The Way of the Warrior and the just-released The Way of the Sword, will keep martial arts fans at the edge of their seats.

Books Just For Fun

GirlForce: Shine

A Girl's Guide to Total Beauty

by Nikki Goldstein

Bloomsbury, 2010

$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

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.