It’s July. You know what that means! Road trips.

And while the goal of a road trip is to explore new places and see new things, sometimes it’s also about the giant Pull ‘n’ Peel Twizzlers, chocolate and some trail mix and fun new books that help pass the time and learn along the way.

Here are some books to keep the “how much further” question at bay.

Lonely City City Mazes allows you to explore some of the world's best cities without leaving your car.
City Mazes allows you to explore some of the world’s best cities without leaving your car.

City Mazes

My nine-year-old son loves mazes and this book by Lonely Planet ($11.96, Raincoast Books) offers a unique twist – the mazes are based on real street maps of 30 of the world’s best cities including those in North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia.

Each map offers a chance to visit some of the best spots in that city by offering numbers and corresponding information including Les Catacombes in Paris, France, underground tunnels lined with skulls and bones, or Dar Moha in Marrakesh, owned by Mohamed Fedal, Morocco‘s foremost celebrity chef. Cape Town features the Bo-Kaap area, with its vividly painted low-roofed houses, while I have added the Regional Assembly of Text to my to-see list while in Vancouver, British Columbia.

My only complaint for this book is the mazes themselves are really skinny, which doesn’t leave a lot of room for error, but with cities such as Vienna and Kyoto, and their complicated street maps, mistakes will be made as you tour the cities without leaving the car.

Lonely Planet Kids Sticker World

Stickers, drawing, colouring and using your imagination – Lonely Planet Kids Sticker World Museum, Build your Own Museum, and Theme Park, Create Your Very Own Theme Park, both by Becky Wilson ($9.16, Raincoast Books) are great road trip books.

Both books offer more than 500 stickers, plus plenty of space to draw your own runaway roller coaster (theme park) or create your own masterpiece (Museum). There are also stickers to decorate spinning tea cups and clothing to outfits of yesteryear.

There is also information in the book so kids learn about various aspects of theme parks (The Ferris wheel is named after its inventor, George Washington Ferris, with the first one opening in 1894 in Chicago) and museums (some of the oldest and most beautiful sculptures in the world were made by the ancient Greeks and Romans). The only thing I didn’t like about the book was the paper, which is shiny. While it does say to colour and draw with felt-tip pens, I feel most people would pack markers, which smudges, or crayons, which wouldn’t work. Otherwise, the books are fun with endless activities.

Lonely Planet Kids My Vacation Scrapbook offers a number of suggestions to help remember your vacation.
Lonely Planet Kids My Vacation Scrapbook offers a number of suggestions to help remember your vacation.

Lonely Planet Kids My Vacation Scrapbook

We are going on two vacations this year. Both vacations will offer an opportunity for my nine-year-old son to fill in the Lonely Planet Kids My Vacation Scrapbook ($9.89, Raincoast Books), which has more than 150 stickers and some really unique ideas to remember one’s vacation. While I appreciate the warning about asking your parents for permission first, I could have gone without the idea of sticking food you have eaten to the book. I feel it that happens, I will be throwing out the book rather than keeping it for its memories.

Otherwise there are some great suggestions including holding the book up in the rain and connecting the dots; going on a treasure hunt and looking for something old and unusual; and adding restaurant receipts to the page and figuring out which robot character wins based on a point system that includes nicest waiter and longest-named item. There are places to stick items, create rubbings and add flowers. It’s a fairly large book so you can do lots of drawing, sticker and mementos placing.

Everyday Adventure by Lonely Planet offers a number of ideas to really understand your neighbourhood.
Everyday Adventure by Lonely Planet offers a number of ideas to really understand your neighbourhood.

Lonely Planet Everyday Adventures

Lonely Planet Everyday Adventures 50 ways to experience your hometown ($24.99, Raincoast Books) offers some really neat way to make every day exciting and to learn more about your hometown along the way. Each double page spread offers you an adventure along with the instructions on how to complete the task and the level of complexity to do it.

Some of my favourites are Adventure No. 11, Pint-Sized Tour Guide, which I have done on a number of occasions. It’s quite enjoyable as my niece, who may have less of a sense of direction than I do, plays navigator, while my son and nephew pipe their opinions from the back seat. Make sure you have a full tank of gas and be open to suggestions including lots of food stops. Adventure No. 14, Life Swap, is also fun with the idea of swapping lives with a friend for the night including sleeping at their house, embracing their habits – including diet and exercise – with no whining.

From going on an urban hike, to enjoying a day out without spending any money to avoiding any use of plastics, there are lots of ideas to learn more about the place you live.

Laurence King's Hoakes Island is a puzzle book complete with a mystery you have to solve.
Hoakes Island is a puzzle book complete with a mystery you have to solve.

Hoakes Island

Hoakes Island (Laurence King, Raincoast Books) is a puzzle book complete with a map of clues and and a “magic lens” to help you solve the puzzle.

The idea of the book is that Henry Hoakes has gone missing and the Hoakes Island Amusement Park is in danger of being taken over unless you, a clever human, can help the talking animals find out what happened to Henry and save the island.

The book is pretty fantastic in that there is so much going on with lots of puzzles to work through. Using the map, you are guided through the activities, completing one puzzle before moving on to the next, which doesn’t always happen in number order.

I am not a puzzle fan – nor can I do math – so I was never able to solve the puzzle to move on. Personally, the book would frustrate me although I do appreciate how amazing it is for people who like that kind of…torture including my nine year old who actually does math for fun!

However, there is a fair bit of reading in the book so I suspect that will scare him off so I will be doing the reading and he will be doing the puzzle solving and together we may figure out what happened to Henry Hoakes and save the island.

A copy of each of these books were provided by Raincoast Books for an honest review. The opinions are my own.