Each book typically features the travel experiences of Cooper, a friendly, backpack-wielding stuffed dog, and a local guide (another amiable stuffed animal) in a given destination, told mainly through the use of photographs and brief descriptions. Besides helpful maps, these guides usually include bonus information, such as suggested activities, local history, and interesting factoids, plus extra photos as well as limited space for young readers to record notes about their trip. In this way, the Cooper’s Pack Travel Guides encourage children to follow some of Brandon’s tips, such as learning about a place beforehand, traveling with a friend (even a stuffed one!), carrying a small backpack, snapping pictures along the way, and taking notes about everything seen and done during the trip.
Several months ago, I was sent three review copies of the Cooper’s Pack Travel Guides—Cooper’s Pack Travel Guide to Alaska ($12.95), Cooper’s Pack Travel Guide to Seattle ($12.95), and Cooper’s Pack Travel Guide to New York City ($12.95)—all of which were written by “kyle & groot.” As the titles indicate, these guides cover some of the major attractions in Alaska (specifically, Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan), Seattle, and New York City. True, I’m a bit older than the intended audience, but nevertheless, I enjoyed each of them—they certainly made for a quick, entertaining read while I was sitting in my husband’s hospital room back in October, and frankly, I love the idea of fostering a passion for travel in young children. It’s never too soon, after all, for a child to start longing to see places beyond his or her own hometown. Even if I hadn’t become a travel writer, I would have been grateful to my mom for taking us on road trips when I was a kid and allowing me to encounter new places, people, and activities.
As for the Cooper’s Pack Travel Guides, the Alaska one covers such sights as Mount Roberts above downtown Juneau, the Mendenhall Glacier, the Klondike Gold Fields north of Skagway, the Totem Heritage Center in Ketchikan, and even the Misty Fjords, all of which Cooper explores with his new guide, Kodi the Moose. The bonus rear section includes basic information about various outdoor adventures, modes of transportation, and Alaska’s history and glaciers.
The Seattle guide, meanwhile, covers such sights as the Seattle Aquarium, Pike Place Market, the Seattle Art Museum, the Seattle Public Library, EMP, the International Fountain, and the Space Needle, all of which Cooper explores with an old buddy, Elliott the Otter. The bonus rear section in this book offers more suggested sights, several fun facts about Seattle, and basic information about Seattle’s weather, history, and aviation-related activities.
Lastly, the New York City guide covers such sights as the Grand Central Terminal, the Rockefeller Center, the Empire State Building, Central Park, the American Museum of Natural History, Times Square, the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, the Statue of Liberty, and the Brooklyn Bridge, all of which Cooper explores with a longtime friend, Phinney the Bear. Here, the bonus rear section offers more suggested sights and events, several fun facts about the Big Apple, and basic information about time zones, key landmarks, and New York City’s history.
Of course, if you and your family are planning to travel to these locations, you’ll probably need a few more resources, such as Don Pitcher’s Moon Alaska, Ericka Chickowski’s Moon Washington, Moon Metro New York City, and Sascha Zuger’s Moon New York State. Still, the Cooper’s Pack Travel Guides can certainly help to inspire young travelers before their big family vacation. If you’re interested in purchasing them, Brandon has generously offered a 3-for-2 deal for American Nomad readers: In other words, if you purchase two Cooper’s Pack Travel Guides, you’re entitled to receive a third one for free. All you have to do is include the preferred free title in the comments section when submitting your order.
But, no matter which books you choose to bring along for the ride, I hope that your next family vacation is a safe, happy, and memorable experience!