National Geographic Kids
2016, 112 Pages, age 8+
As summer begins to wind down and thoughts turn towards getting ready for the first day of school, there might still be time for a road trip or two. And if you are looking for some unusual ideas of what to do, look no further than this new book from National Geographic featuring 125 attractions from around the world. There is the upside-down house in Poland that you enter through a window in the roof, or, how about Carhenge in Nebraska, where 39 cars are arranged in such a way that they mimic Stonehenge in England. In Vermont, you can visit the Ben & Jerry's Flavor Graveyard, or take a step back in time in London's Spooky House, where you will swear the long-ago residents are still living. One of my favorites is the Pez Museum in California since I'm a Pez person from way back and have even sent them to China in family holiday packages. New Jersey, a state proud of it's farm fresh produce (and take it from me, it is good), has a wonderful corn maze to get lost in, while in Belgium you can eat you dinner suspended in the air 160 feet above ground. If you like creepy stuff, you can visit the International UFO Museum and Research Center in, where else, Roswell, NM, or go the Edinburgh to walk through the Underground Chambers that used to house poor people, who may or may not be haunting the vaults there.
Anyway, you get the picture. There are all kinds of fun, scary, exciting things to do around the world and this is the book that can direct you to all of them.
by Stephanie Warren Drimmer, puzzles by Julie K. Cohen
National Geographic Kids, 2016, 176 pages, age 8+
While you are on the road, and the kids are getting antsy in the back seat, you might want to take along Mastermind. Here a book that is chockablock with all kinds of challenges for kids to sharpen their thinking before school begins and to pass the time in the car, at home, or wherever and whenever boredom begins to set in. But this is much more than just a book of fun puzzles and games. At the beginning, kids can take a test to determine what their best learning style is - seeing, hearing, smelling, etc, followed by some basic information about the brain. Each chapter then focuses on one of these learning styles, discussing how a particular learning style works, followed by games, tests, and/or puzzles designed to optimize each learning style. There are also all kinds of fun facts, information about geniuses we admire and a Test Your S.M.A.R.T.S at the end of each chapter, followed by a "final exam" at the end of the book. Best of all, none of these tests count for anything more than fun.
Together, these two book make ideal traveling companions, but even it you are having a stavaction, or just don't have time right now to travel, 125 Wacky Roadside Attractions is a fun books to just read and think about, and Mastermind is the perfect book to keep for a rainy day.
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