These new book series help young readers navigate cities that they may travel to this summer. And they also help girls relate to exotic princesses of faraway lands.
"Cool Stuff Every Kid Should Know" series by Kate Boehm Jerome; Arcadia Kids Publishing; 48 pages; $9.95 each
Summer vacation is in full swing, and many families desire kid-friendly guides to assist them in their travels. This unique series packs tons of fun info into city guides that make youngsters feel like they have insider knowledge. Going to Pittsburgh? It may be beneficial to learn what a pierogi is before ordering it for a snack — they're filled dough dumplings. Headed to San Antonio? You may want to visit the site of the 1968 World's Fair, HemisFair Park. Jacksonville, Fla., offers up plenty of ostrich farms and a larger-than-life human mouth to walk through at the Museum of Science and History.
All this zesty information is easy to find in Arcadia Kids' series of paperbacks; each book is packed with entertaining facts about each city and its state. More than just travel guides, the colorful, easy-to-read books also spotlight stranger-than-true local legends, special events and fun trivia. The latest batch of guides focuses on the above cities plus Richmond, Va.; Rochester, N.Y.; Charlotte and Columbia, S.C.; Raleigh, N.C.; Savannah, Ga.; Philadelphia; Columbus, Ohio; Chicago, Boston and Austin.
"The Thinking Girl's Treasury of Real Princesses" by Shirin Yim Bridges; illustrated by Albert Nguyen; Goosebottom Books; 24 pages; $18.95 each.
True stories of princesses from other lands are hard to find. The strong, capable young women who star in the pages of this classy picture book series don't kiss frogs and wait for carriages shaped like pumpkins. Instead, they won empires, led armies, helped King Tut accumulate great wealth and brought great arts alive. Still, girls who enjoy traditional fairy tales will love that in one true story a Spanish princess chooses her own prince, but she doesn't marry him until reaching an agreement necessary to make both Spain and America what they are today.
Aimed at ages 8 or 9 to 13, with rich illustrations and lots of fascinating historical information, the books aim to inspire, educate and even include irreverent humor. Featured princesses and book titles include: "Isabella of Castile," "Nur Jahan of India," "Qutlugh Cerkan Khatun of Kirman," "Hatshepsut of Egypt," "Artemisia of Caria" and "Sorghaghtani of Mongolia."
"StoryWorld: Create-A-Story Kit — Legends of the Sea" by John & Caitlin Matthews; Templar Books/Candlewick Press; $9.99.
This fun and interactive series helps kids develop stories with a sample story and cards to inspire creativity. In "Legends of the Sea," the set focuses on a pirate tale, and the glossy, sturdy cards offer prompts and quiz questions to get kids to start thinking and writing about wrecks and ships and islands. Even without writing a story, kids will enjoy the card aspect and can play games with them.
So far, also in the series is "StoryWorld: Fairy Magic." Both book sets are full of magical illustrations and contain suggestions for how to use the cards to write, draw, act out and imagine plenty of stories and games.
"Go! Go! BoBo Shapes" and "Go! Go! BoBo Colors" by Simon Basher; Kingfisher Books; 16 pages and $6.99 each.
Tots love silliness. Basher's zippy board book series certainly offers plenty of irreverent fun with a hip anime look and shiny colors. Both books feature a rounded, white cartoon-like character named BoBo, who bounces upon square gifts, circular buttons, rectangular TVs and on until he lands in his own bed, which is surrounded by the shaped items. The text is simple and sweet, and it ends with "Go! Go! Shapes!"
"BoBo Colors" sends our friendly character, with a bandage on his head, bouncing through colored items. On the red page, he bops through fire engines and roses. For yellow, it's rubber duckies and bananas, and on the pink page, he paints and bounces among pigs and pink cupcakes. Certainly unique and cool, Basher's books are great baby reads.
"Good Morning Toucan" and "Good Morning Owl" from Dwell Studio; Blue Apple Books; 10 pages and $8.99 each.
Dwell Studio makes hip and modern home accessories and bedding. Now they also lend their mod sensibilities to children's publishing. In a partnership with Blue Apple Books, the studio brings their funky, clean animal prints to a board book series that will look cool on any tot's bookshelf. "Good Morning Toucan" features a tropical bird that flies through the rainforest asking, "Caw! Caw! Who is waking up?" and "Who is waking up in the river?" Tots open sturdy flaps to find the tree frogs and turtles beginning their days.
"Good Morning Owl" does the same, but with soft nighttime colors, as a whimsical owl flies around the forest asking, "Whooo! Whooo! Who will sleep in the pond and in the forest?" Tots can open flaps to find the answers.
A fantastic gift for stylish toddlers and parents, Dwell Studio's board books rock.