A grab bag for sure, but readers may find themselves angling to be in Budapest in April for its annual pillow fight.



Attractions—and repulsions—to stifle the next “Are we there yet?” whine from the back seat.

National Geographic here comes to the rescue with roadside pleasures to fracture the tedium of long-distance car travel, though many of these sights will be destinations in themselves. Befitting geographers, this is an international selection, from Japan to New Zealand, southern Chile to central Alaska. And as befitting National Geographic, the photography takes pride of place, while the accompanying explanatory paragraphs could use a little less gee-whiz and a little more informational meat. In a collection of 125 roadside attractions aimed to satisfy many tastes, there inevitably will be handfuls that specific readers will find disturbing/demented/to-be-avoided-at-all-costs—“wacky” doesn’t begin to cover the array—while others might make a nifty day trip. Consider the classic-car junkyard in White, Georgia, or the Burlingame, California, Pez museum. There is an island of pigs (although its “roadside” credentials are suspect) and an absolutely beautiful arcade of trees for strolling in Klevan, Ukraine. (Time, place, and theaters of war should be considered when choosing when to visit.) There is the predictable Prada store sitting in the desert outside Marfa, Texas, some gross venues—the two-decker outhouse, the wall of chewed gum—and giant animals and mythic figures aplenty.

A grab bag for sure, but readers may find themselves angling to be in Budapest in April for its annual pillow fight. (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4263-2407-9

Page Count: 112

Publisher: National Geographic Kids

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A rich source of terrors both real and manufactured, equally effective in broad daylight or beneath the bedcovers.



A compendium of paranormal doings, natural horrors, and eerie wonders worldwide and (in several senses) beyond.

Maladroit title aside (“…in Bed” would make more sense, cautionwise), this collection of hauntings, cryptids, natural and historical mysteries, and general titillation (“Vampire bats might be coming for you!”) offers a broad array of reasons to stay wide awake. Arranged in no discernible order the 60-plus entries include ghostly sightings in the White House and various castles, body-burrowing guinea worms, the Nazca lines of Peru, Mothman and Nessie, the hastily abandoned city of Pripyat (which, thanks to the Chernobyl disaster, may be habitable again…in 24,000 years), monarch-butterfly migrations, and diverse rains of fish, frogs, fireballs, and unidentified slime. Each is presented in a busy whirl of narrative blocks, photos, graphics, side comments, and arbitrary “Fright-O-Meter” ratings (Paris’ “Creepy Catacombs” earn just a “4” out of 10 and black holes a “3,” but the aforementioned aerial amphibians a full “10”). The headers tend toward the lurid: “Jelly From Space,” “Zombie Ants,” “Mongolian Death Worm.” Claybourne sprinkles multiple-choice pop quizzes throughout for changes of pace.

A rich source of terrors both real and manufactured, equally effective in broad daylight or beneath the bedcovers. (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4263-2841-1

Page Count: 144

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet


In a large, handsome format, Tarnowska offers six tales plus an abbreviated version of the frame story, retold in formal but contemporary language and sandwiched between a note on the Nights’ place in her childhood in Lebanon and a page of glossary and source notes. Rather than preserve the traditional embedded structure and cliffhanger cutoffs, she keeps each story discrete and tones down the sex and violence. This structure begs the question of why Shahriyar lets Shahrazade [sic] live if she tells each evening’s tale complete, but it serves to simplify the reading for those who want just one tale at a time. Only the opener, “Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp,” is likely to be familiar to young readers; in others a prince learns to control a flying “Ebony Horse” by “twiddling” its ears, contending djinn argue whether “Prince Kamar el Zaman [or] Princess Boudour” is the more beautiful (the prince wins) and in a Cinderella tale a “Diamond Anklet” subs for the glass slipper. Hénaff’s stylized scenes of domed cityscapes and turbaned figures add properly whimsical visual notes to this short but animated gathering. (Folktales. 10-12)


Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-84686-122-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Barefoot

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2010

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet