Heading for the beach, hopping a plane to France or hitting the American road with your kids this summer? Some books to prep or pack:
_ "Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach" (Kids Can Press, $15.95, ages 4-8) written and illustrated by Melanie Watt.
The germophobic and jittery squirrel is back and stressing out over a trip to the beach to hunt down the perfect shell. What about the hazards? Tribes of jellyfish, mobs of lobsters, packs of pirates. And the crowds. Oh the crowds. After careful planning, he makes his peace.
_ "Where's Waldo? The Ultimate Travel Collection" (Candlewick Press, ages 6-up) by Martin Handford.
Waldo, the knit-capped, stripe-sweatered pop icon, has come of age. Twenty-one years after he first tried to get lost in a crowd, he's squeezed into a tricky travel collection as he traverses the globe. And he's joined by some friends who dress a lot like him! The book is small and light weight. Good luck.
_ "Go Go America" (Scholastic, $17.99, ages 9-12) by DanYaccarino.
The perfect take-along for a road trip. Pile in with the Farleys as little Freddie wows his family with obscure facts organized by state and accompanied by playful visuals. Did you know, for instance, that it's illegal to tie a giraffe to a telephone poll in Atlanta, Ga.? Passing through Kansas? Look for a very large ball of twine in Cawker City that weighs 17,554 pounds.
_ "Wonders of America: Yellowstone" (Aladdin Paperbacks,$3.99, ages 4-6) by Marion Dane Bauer and illustrated by John Wallace.
The latest in a series for Level 1 readers, there's a surprising amount of information: Yellowstone became a national park in 1872. Old Faithful is one of 500 geysers. More than 100 wolves roam Yellowstone in a reintroduction program. The park is home to one of the world's largest petrified forests, and to Bison, pronghorn antelope and bighorn sheep.
_ "Everybody Bonjours" (Alfred A. Knopf, $16.99, ages 5-8) by Leslie Kimmelman and illustrated by Sarah McMenemy.
A little girl in a smart red dress bonjours high at the Eiffel Tower and bonjours low in the Metropolitan, the Paris subway system, as her family demonstrates in this rhyming picture book that Paris isn't just for lovers. They stop at the magnificent Sacre Coeur on the city's highest hill, take in the Mona Lisa at the Louvre and sail toy boats at the Tuileries Gardens. Tips on sights to see included.