Title: Planet Explorers Chicago and Planet Explorers Disneyland
Author: Laura Schaefer
Format: e-book

Traveling with kids can be a unique (but fun) challenge at times, especially when you’re trying to find activities that they’ll enjoy as much as you will. When Jacob and I went on our cruise last year, I was really concerned about picking excursions that would give him the most exposure to new experiences while not boring me to tears, and vice-versa. Now that he is getting older and starting to read, he wants to (and deserves to) be more involved in planning vacations. While lately it seems all we do is plan, eventually we’ll be in a position to actually venture forth and embark on some of those adventures. When we do, I will definitely be looking to see if Laura Shaefer has writte Planet Explorers book on our desitnation.

This series helps get kids excited about travel destinations by giving them cool information about the places they’ll be traveling to. It also helps parents and kids work together to pick out some fun things to do while on vacation. For this review, I received  Planet Explorers: Chicago  and Planet Explorers: Disneyland. The Chicago guide starts out with some fun facts about Chicago, such as the fact that it has the best deep dish pizza in the world (I’ll give it that, since I’ve been there, but there is no pizza like NY-style pizza!), that the first Ferris wheel was invented there, and son on. After a brief history of the city, the book launches into fun things to do in Chicago, such as visiting the Navy Pier, checking out the Field Museum of Natural History (very cool place!) and tons more. Each attraction is broken down into fast facts about the different things kids should check out while there. There’s even a list of people born in Chicago and one for movies about the city. At the end of the book, there is a fun quiz kids can take to test their new-found knowledge.

Planet Explorers Disneyland  is set up similarly, but provides valuable information at the beginning such as how to get and use a FastPass and where to find the characters. It also contains a handy key that lets kids know if a ride is scary, awesome, dark, or wet. Each section of the park is broken down into subsections with fun facts and information about rides and food stalls. At the end of the book, the author includes some Disney-isms as well as information about the many people behind the scenes.

The books are easy enough for children about age 8 and up to read, but interesting enough that parents will want to check them out too. I highly recommend purchasing them off Smashwords because you can download them in several formats. I think this is beneficial because if you download the PDF version, there are tons of links to more information, so you and your child can check it out on the computer, then download it to your e-reader and take it with you on your trip. At only $2.99, they’re a good deal because they’ll save you a ton of time on research and planning.