Road trip, anyone?

In anticipation of the summer travel season, we’re taking a look at five backseat books to keep the kids from whining the whole trip to Grand View Lodge, Grand Marais, Chicago, Milwaukee, Mount Rushmore, Wisconsin Dells, the cabin or wherever it is you’re going this year. Each of them is entertaining — and educational — in its own way.

Get Ready for School

DK’s new Bip, Bop and Boo series is ideal for preschoolers or younger school-aged kids on long car trips. Divided into three levels — red (beginner), orange (intermediate) and green (advanced) — these compact workbooks are easy to pack. Designed to engage eager learners, they include games, simple problem-solving challenges and more than 70 stickers per book! New titles include Colors and Shapes, Matching and Sorting, Number Skills (early math) and 1, 2, 3 (counting).

Ages 3–5; $6.99

Water Wow Coloring Books

Melissa & Doug have done it again: This time it’s a refillable, no-mess water pen that colors spiral-bound reusable color boards. This series is a perfect choice for amusing toddlers and preschoolers for (relatively) long stretches. After they’ve been colored, the images are quick to dry, so they can be re-colored over and over again. And we aren’t the only ones who love them: 767 Amazon reviewers gave this product a cumulative five-star, no-mess rating.

Ages 3 and older; $4.99

Hey, Seymour!

This search-and-find gem — from Walter Wick, the man behind the I Spy! books — is absolutely gorgeous. Its colorful, large-format pages unfold to make the experience all the more immersive. Don’t be discouraged by the age range: Our resident 8-year-old found this to be an awesome bedtime read.

Ages 3–5; $18.99

Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book Ever

This 1963 classic is a travel must-have for toddlers and school-age kids! Hundreds of intricate images are annotated with common words and phrases found around homes, farms, airports, playgrounds, highways, zoos and beyond. Fun fact: This book was updated in 1991, partly to show progressive attitudes toward gender roles and race.

Ages 3–7; $15.99

Cabinet of Curiosities

Do you have a child who loves to explore the outdoors? Or who loves nature and animals? Then this book — subtitled Collecting and Understanding the Wonders of the Natural World — is a good bet! Gordon Grice’s introduction to natural history is packed with fascinating facts and ways to identify and preserve nature’s treasures — flowers, fossils, rocks and much more. While the book is text heavy (and geared toward grades 3 and up), its splendid illustrations were enough to engage one of Minnesota Parent’s favorite preschoolers for long stretches.

Ages 8–18; $24.95