Thursday, June 9, 2016

Books for the Backseat

Planning a Road Trip this Summer? These backseat books will keep children age 4-7 entertained.

Are We There Yet? by Dan Santat

The refrain is a familiar one. Maybe an hour into the road trip, a voice pipes up from the backseat, asking, “Are we there yet?” This is the refrain uttered throughout Are We There Yet, written and illustrated by Caldecott Medal Winner Dan Santat, author and illustrator of Beekle. A family of three is driving to celebrate Grandma’s birthday. The narrator, a young boy, thinks the trip is taking forever, a familiar feeling for small children. 

He says, “The car trip to visit Grandma is always exciting! But after the first hour, it can feel like an eternity.”

Are We There Yet? explores what happens when your brain gets too bored…and apparently, that means time goes backwards! Santat cleverly employs tricks such as turning the book upside down and flipping pages right to left, making the reader travel backwards in time alongside the family in the book. Buckle up and come along for the ride! 

Santat ensures that the reader will most definitely NOT be bored as they follow the family in a little orange car back through the stage coach era, to when pirates rule the high seas, even going so far back to see the ancient Egyptians at work. The reader will travel back in time millions of years to when dinosaurs walked the earth. Finally, the little boy thinks, something exciting! And since his brain is no longer bored, the book fast-forwards to October 24, 2059. Oops! Too far into the future—the family has missed the birthday party! When they finally arrive, just in time for the birthday party, there is no better time than the present.

For a fantastic preview of the book click the video below, provided by Little Brown, Books for Young Readers.

Our Great Big Backyard by Laura Bush and Jenna Bush Hager, illustrated by Jacqueline Rogers

The former First Lady and her daughter have teamed up to write a picture book just in time for summer! In Our Great Big Backyard, Jane can’t wait to play videogames with her friends all summer, but her parents have different plans. Along with her little brother Sam, they’ll be taking the Great American Road Trip. Jane is less than thrilled to be riding in the backseat without any Wi-Fi, but as they travel to more and more parks, Jane starts to notice the amazing sites around her. From the Everglades National Park all the way to Yosemite, Jane has fun with her brother Sam out in the wilderness. 

“The mountain went up and up and up, straight into the sky, watching over us. I felt really small but really great, too, like I was part of something big." 

When Jane gets home, she realizes that even in her backyard she can see the stars, and invites her friends over for a camp out. Even better, if you and your family are planning a trip this summer, there is a listing of National Parks in the back of the book to help you see what might be in your own backyard. 

Original to The Clarion Ledger.

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