Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Keep Kids Entertained During End of Summer Road Trips With These Fun Activity and Puzzle Books (Review)

Disclosure:  I was sent sample books from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All views shared are mine and mine alone.

Sterling Publishing

Wow, did the summer fly by.  It just seems like yesterday we were wrapping up homeschooling for the year, and getting ready to enjoy a long summer break.  Did your summer go by in a blink of an eye, too?  Well, we still have a few weeks left before the girls head back to school in house and outside, so we are making the most of the last weeks of summer, by doing fun day trips and weekend getaways.  How about you?

If you are planning some last minute travel with your kids and need some ideas for books and things for your kids to do to keep them busy during the long car rides ahead, have I got some great options for you.  Thanks to the folks at Sterling Publishing, they sent along some great activity and puzzle books that my girls have been enjoying this summer, and that really helped to ease car ride stress for parents, and boredom for the kids.  All you need are a few of these books, a pencil or pen, and a full tank of gas, oh and maybe some snacks, and then you should be good to go, to end the final days of summer with your family. :-)

About this Book:

"Math meets sci-fi in this clever chapter book about two numbers-loving friends and their alien adventures. The first in a new series! 

Best friends Lamar and Lexie love math—and, in this first book in the Alien Math series, their skills come in handy when they're abducted by an extraterrestrial named Fooz. Fooz, unfamiliar with Earth life, mistakes the children for chickens . . . until Lamar and Lexie prove they're human by solving a tricky math problem. Fooz agrees to take them home, but on a side trip to a nearby planet to refuel, the two are captured by lumfurs, creatures that resemble Bigfoot. In order to escape and return to Fooz's ship and subsequently Earth, Lamar and Lexie must solve problems that require finding patterns, making estimates, and deciphering codes. Can the children pass the test and get home again?"

Pub Date: 7/2/2019
ISBN: 9781454929215
Price: $6.95 / $9.50 CAN
Format: Paperback
Pages: 96 pages, b-w illus throughout
Trim: 5.375 x 8.25 Inches
Territories: World
Category: Juvenile / Middle Grade Fiction
Age Range: 9 to 12

My Thoughts:

While this is an full-fledged activity book with games and puzzles, it is a fun and unique book that kids ages reading chapter books (8+ yrs. old) will enjoy.  At first my girls saw the title of this book and thought, "Oh, not another math book."  But, then they started to read the book and found themselves not wanting to put it down.  What really got my girls excited about this book is that it needs their help and math knowledge to help Lexie and Lamar, the main characters of this adventurous story.  The girls found themselves using skills we learned in school the past year to help these two characters pass the test in order to get back home using their knowledge of patterns, making estimates, and deciphering codes.  

Even if your kids are not fans of math, they will find themselves really loving this book, as it is not only a page turning, but they will be surprised at how as they read through the problems, their minds start going as they try and figure of them out. :-)  Who said you can't apply your math skills with a good summer book?  This is the first book in what my girls and I hope is a long series.  I saw on the Sterling Publishing that book #2 (seen below) will be releasing in October, just in time for fall reading. :-)

Planet of the Penguins (Alien Math Book 2)

We will definitely be picking up this second installment in the series for my girls to enjoy and use at part of their school reading and math studies.  So, if you are looking for a unique book to share with your kids that reads like a book, but also requires them to use math skills to help the characters get back home, then you will definitely want to check out "Alien Math: I Was an Outer-Space Chicken" today.

About this Book:

"Meet Sherlock Bones and his trusted companion, Dr. Catson—and join them on a fun math multiplication adventure! This activity storybook has a cool “reveal feature” with a magnifying device. 
Evil Professor Moriratty is up to no good again—but kids can use their multiplication skills to help Sherlock and Dr. Catson track down their archenemy. They’ll earn medals as they decode Moriratty’s note; count how many of Moriratty’s henchmen have teamed up in terrifying trios; figure out which criminal a paw print belongs to; and discover which ship Moriratty fled on."

Pub Date: 8/7/2018
ISBN: 9781411479142
Price: $9.95 / $13.50 CAN
Format: Paperback
Pages: 32 pages, all in color
Trim: 8.25 x 11.5 Inches
Territories: US/Can/Philippines
Category: Juvenile / Flash Kids
Age Range: 7 to 10
Publisher: Flash Kids

My Thoughts:

I was excited to get my hands on a copy of this book to share with my girls, as we had used the addition/subtraction book from the Sherlock Bones series as part of our schooling, and it made doing math that much more fun, as it lets them check their answers with a cool Sherlock's Secret Solver magnifying glass.  With this new book, which released last fall, kids will learn their times tables in a fun way.  I don't know about your kids, my girls hate memorizing things, especially their times tables.  So, I was looking for a book or way to teach the girls multiplication facts in a fun way that would get them excited about learning these necessary math skills.  And, then came along this book, which both of my girls whizzed right through, and had their times tables memorized in under a week.  Once they started using this multiplication workbook, they couldn't put it down, partly because they liked the secret solver magnifier to check their answers, but also because the book is set up as an adventure, that just like the previous book I shared about, requires kids to apply math skills and knowledge to help solve puzzles and advance through the story.

If you plan to teach your homeschool kids multiplication this fall, or your kids have struggled with learning their times tables, then you will definitely want to pick up this book to share with them.  It will get them excited about multiplication, and show them that they can grasp their times tables without stressing about memorizing over and over again. As they work through the sections, they will see how easy it is to learn each times table, and they will want to continue until they have mastered all 12 tables.  I know this as both of my girls loved the book and still talk about it, and how it helped them finally grasp their times tables, while also having fun. :-)

About this book:

"Everyone loves unicorns—and children will love this book with more than 150 stickers!
Kids can’t get enough of unicorns! Associated with all things sweet and pretty, they’re everyone’s favorite imaginary creature. Packed with gorgeous illustrations, puzzles, games, and fun things to do, The Unicorn Creativity Book will inspire every unicorn-loving kid. Figure out your unicorn name and draw a self-portrait. Decorate a magical scene of unicorns at twilight. Use the themed pullout paper for colorful projects. More than 150 stickers, plus cut-outs and rainbow-print craft paper, make this activity book a must-have!"

Pub Date: 3/5/2019
ISBN: 9781783123841
Price: $14.95
Format: Paperback - Spiral Bound
Pages: 80 pages, full-color book + 2pp stickers
Trim: 9.438 x 11.812 Inches
Territories: US Only
Age Range: 6 and up

My Thoughts:

Do you have a unicorn lover in your life?  If you do, then I have the perfect activity and puzzle books that includes over 150 fun stickers, too!  "The Unicorn Creativity Book" which came out this past spring is chock full of puzzles, mazes, drawing activities and even cut outs for that special unicorn lover in your life.  Both of my girls are all about unicorns, glitter and rainbows thanks to YouTube sensation, JoJo Siwa.  So, when they saw this fun activity/puzzle book arrive at our door, they couldn't wait to sit down together to work on the activities together.  Seeing just how much fun they were both having with the book, I ended up picking up another copy from Amazon, so that they would each have their own copy to enjoy. Also, I knew they would want the 150+ stickers and cut outs for themselves.  So, to avoid fighting, and to keep them both busy in the car for day trips, they each got their own copy of this book. And, when the activity book was completed, they both asked me if there were other books like this one as they loved it.  I was happy to inform them that yes there were others including a space-themed book, which I also picked up to go along with the public library's summer reading theme of Outer Space. In addition to the space creativity book, there were also two other books -- dragons and princess -- both of which my girls are asking for, and I plan to surprise them at Christmas with them. :-)

You and your kids will love that the stickers included in this creativity book are reusable, so that they can chance up the fold-out sticker scene included with this activity book.  And, there is even rainbow craft paper for kids who love arts and crafts and getting creative and want to make one of kind unicorn inspired art or craft projects to show off.  I could go on and on about how great this creativity book is, and just how much fun my girls had with it.  But, instead why don't you pick up a copy of this, or any of the other themed creativity books to share with your kids.  They will definitely get them through upcoming end of summer travel plans. :-)

About these books:

Vacation book --

"Connect the dots . . . and have some vacation-time fun! 

Kids will enjoy these 70 entertaining dot-to-dot puzzles, with cool images that feature skateboarding, video game playing, animals, holiday themes, and more. Each puzzle has between 100–120 dots, and while most are consecutive, a few have a multi-line style that offers a more challenging experience."

Pub Date: 5/1/2018
ISBN: 9781454930235
Price: $6.95 / $9.50 CAN
Format: Paperback
Pages: 96 pages
Trim: 5.375 x 8.25 Inches
Territories: World
Category: Juvenile / Dot-to-Dot
Age Range: 7 to 11
Publisher: Puzzlewright Junior

Road Trip Book -- 
"ROAD TRIP! Connect the dots . . . and have hours of fun with these expertly crafted puzzles! 
Kids will enjoy these 72 entertaining dot-to-dot puzzles and their cool images. Each puzzle has 100 to 120 dots, and while most are consecutive, a few feature a multi-line style for an extra challenge."

Pub Date: 5/7/2019
ISBN: 9781454931560
Price: $7.95 / $10.95 CAN
Format: Paperback
Pages: 96 pages
Trim: 5.375 x 8.25 Inches
Territories: World
Category: Juvenile / Dot-to-Dot
Age Range: 7 to 11

My Thoughts:
I grew up doing dot to dot and maze books, especially during the summer months. My mom would put together little busy bags for my brothers and I, to keep up busy and entertained on long road trips, for rainy day fun and even when we were home sick.  There was something about a puzzle book that made time fly by and not leave me wondering what I could do to keep busy and not be bored. I loved these puzzle style books, and got my girls hooked on them a few years ago.  Ever since, they are always looking for puzzle books to pick up and leave in the car to do when we are traveling, and even have a few on their nightstands next to their bed, to pick up and do if they wake early, or have trouble sleeping at night, and are looking for a way to relax and pass the time.
So, when my girls saw these two dot-to-dot books arrive at our door last month, they couldn't wait to get their hands on them to flip through the pages and check out the dot-to-dots for them to complete, and then grab a pencil and get at it. Thankfully I was sent two books, so I didn't have to hear the girls fight over what puzzle they would each do.  Instead, my youngest reached for the "vacation" book and my oldest wanted the "road trip" one.  It took them two day to complete their dot-to-dot books, not because their weren't a lot to complete, but, instead because they couldn't put the puzzle books down.  They were bringing them in the car to do, and I found them hiding under their bed covers with a flashlight completing them late in the night. :-)  I couldn't blame them, as this is how I was as a kid when I got a new puzzle book, and I found myself hoping they would each leave me a dot-to-dot puzzle to do.  Instead of waiting to see if they would leave me a puzzle to do, I ended up buying my own dot-to-dot book from this series from Puzzlewright Junior Dot-to-Dot.  After doing the first puzzle, I was hooked and saw just why my girls were whizzing through the puzzles and didn't want to put the puzzle book down.  I was hooked, and really enjoyed the dot-to-dot book I picked up.   If you have a dot-to-dot fan in your life, or you love these types of puzzles, then you will want to check out the different Puzzlewright Junior Dot-to-Dot books available. Most are only $6.95 and $7.95 -- a real steal if you ask me! :-)
I hope the above book mentions and my personal review of each, have got you excited about fun puzzle and activity books to pick up for your kids, to enjoy during the final weeks of summer.  If they have hit a wall and are bored, or you have upcoming travel planned, these books will provide hours of fun, at home and on the go.  You can learn more about these and other fun puzzle and activity book by visiting https://www.sterlingpublishing.com/.

Disclosure:  I was sent sample books from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All views shared are mine and mine alone.

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