The Burt family heads off another road trip soon, this time to Cape Cod. We will have the ultimate roadtrip book with us. No, it's not Kerouac or an atlas or AAA guide: it's a spiral bound book of reproductions of United States license plates. Each state plate is represented with facts and trivia on the back. This book is perfect for us as the kids try to "collect" or spot as many different state plates as they can during our vacation. We have gotten as many as forty on one trip. There are some elusive states we have not yet bagged, such as Hawaii and Alaska, but you should hear the car go wild when we spot a plate which comes from a state far from our home in New Jersey. ("Wisconsin" Is that a Wisconsin? Yes! Yes! America's Dairyland! Write it on the list!") So we're nerdy; I've come to terms with it.
About four years ago, we bought Paul Beatrice's Nifty Plates from the Fifty States for our oldest son. It was an instant hit and taught us all some interesting state trivia. Sadly, after many car trips, it eventually fell apart. That happens to well-loved books. At a Scholastic Book Fair this winter, I bought a replacement called Fifty State Plates Fun Travel Trivia and Quizzes. It follows the same spiral bound format of license plates printed on coated heavy stock paper. It will be the first thing my son packs for our upcoming trip and frequently consulted throughout. If you are on the highway in the next few weeks and a minivan seems to be riding up tight on your bumper with adults squinting to read your license plate and children flipping frantically through a little book, wave hello.