Good Road Trip Reads


  • I Can Dream

  • I Can Explore

    by Betsy Snyder

    Chronicle, 2018, $8.99

    Betsy Snyder adds two more sturdy board books to her vibrant “I Can” series, which celebrates all that youngsters can do and aspire to. The series is inclusive regarding gender and race. Each double-page spread features a poem, a colorful illustration and two holes, which allow little ones to insert their own fingers to make the wiggly arms or legs of various characters. “I Can Explore” is perfect for summer outings to the beach or lake. “I Can Dream” peeks at an array of intriguing professions, including fire fighter, astronaut, marine biologist and veterinarian.

ages 3 – 8

  • Penguin & Tiny Shrimp Don’t Do Bedtime!

    by Cate Berry

    illustrated by Charles Santoso

    Balzer and Bray, 2018, $17.99

    In her debut picture book, Cate Berry cleverly upends the usual bedtime ritual. Penguin and a night cap-wearing shrimp spurn tooth-brushing and soft beds for adventures in the rain forest, on the Serengeti and on the open sea. But even as they sing and joke with the critters they have met along the way (delightfully rendered by artist Charles Santoso), the intrepid twosome grows sleepier and sleepier till they finally plop happily into the large bed they had previously disdained. Sure to make your little night owls smile – and fuel their imaginary adventures in dreamland.

  • Ladybug Girl and the Rescue Dogs

    by Jacky Davis

    illustrated by David Soman

    Dial, 2018, $17.99

    The 10th book ends this popular series on a high note and finds Lulu, in her red Ladybug Girl ensemble, and basset hound Bingo at the farmers’ market. Lulu and her two friends meet eight dogs at an adoption event and volunteer to help water, brush and play with them. This lively tale realistically portrays the important work of pet-adoption groups and acquaints readers with alternatives to purchasing a purebred pet from a breeder. Lulu and her buddies even engineer a parade to show off the pooches and succeed in getting one adopted. Most importantly, the kids realize that their help can be ongoing and vow to “come back next week and rescue other dogs.”

  • Washington, D.C.: Our Nation’s Capital from A-Z

    by Alan Schoreder

    illustrated by John O’Brien

    Holiday House, 2018, $17.95

    What better time to explore our nation’s capital than summer? This kid-centered alphabet guide includes entries beyond the usual museums and monuments. For example, “A” features “Air and Space,” with information about a favorite Smithsonian museum, and “Acrobat,” with the amazing fact that in 1949, an acrobat walked down the 897 steps of the Washington Monument on his hands. Before visiting the city, have your family peruse the book and choose their top choices. Mine include the AIDS Memorial Quilt, under “Q,” and the National Cathedral’s Great Organ, with 10,000 pipes.

  • Beep and Bob: Too Much Space!

    by Jonathan Roth

    Simon & Schuster, 2018, $5.99

    Zoom off to space school with Bob and his alien friend Beep in a fast-paced, humorous chapter book by local author/illustrator Jonathan Roth. A teacher himself, Roth knows how to engage emerging readers with drama and hijinks. Even though Bob would rather read comic books than deal with creepy genius spiders, he rescues one from sure death in a black hole – and receives a web-woven message in thanks. Then there’s Beep, who seems to think that Bob is his mother. This new chapter book series is perfect for a family read-aloud or for kids eager for a solo, silent read.

  • Leaf Litter Critters

    by Leslie Bulion

    illustrated by Robert Meganck

    Peachtree, 2018, $14.95

    Through 19 rhyme-rich poems, Leslie Bulion introduces kids to the little-known denizens of one of Earth’s most valuable ecosystems: the ground beneath our feet. In an opening note, she describes the leaf litter as the “crossroads where air, soil, water, plants, animals and microbes meet … teeming with billions of tiny, busy recyclers.” Substantive sidebars and back matter enhance understanding of mushrooms, mites, millipedes, earthworms and rove beetles. As you and your kids care for the yard or family garden, take time to appreciate these wow-worthy creepy-crawlies.

ages 9 -14

  • The Mortification of Fovea Munson

    by Mary Winn Heider

    Disney Hyperion, 2018, $16.99

    In her first novel, Mary Winn Heider brings literal meaning to the phrase “talking heads” because the three heads in the cadaver lab belonging to her protagonist’s parents are quite animated and chatty. Heider casts a quirky, life-affirming eye on bowling, barbershop quartets and Hippocrates, the Greek Father of Medicine, as her titular character, Fovea Munson, goes about solving this unique mystery. Readers will chuckle as they turn pages full of plot twists and oddities, including a careening hearse and spirit-guide frog.

  • Wild Blues

    by Beth Kephart

    Atheneum, 2018, $17.99

    Bedridden and in pain, Lizzie struggles to explain what happened when her uncle and best friend are kidnapped in the Adirondacks. She addresses her tale to an unknown listener who seems to have abetted the kidnappers. Short chapters, vivid language and a sense of urgency enhance suspense and stakes. Even though the police and helicopters are searching an area of roughly 6 million acres as they hunt for the victims and perpetrators, Lizzie sets out alone to brave narrow bridges, dark caves and bats as she follows the clues her loved ones have planted.