Well, for considerably less expense, we can do a virtual tour with the Wright On Time series by Lisa M. Cottrell-Bentley. You can purchase the first book, Arizona, at www.wrightontimebooks.com. The second book, Utah, can also be preordered for shipment on December 8th. Price is $12.99 for the 100+-page paperbacks, which have a suggested reading age of 5-12+.
Nadia and not-so-little seven-year-old brother Aidan are on an educational spelunking adventure with their mom and dad in Arizona. It is packed with scary moments, discovery of treasures, and an all-around good family time.
What's amazing is how many facts are unobtrusively set into the storyline. Things like how to properly prepare for caving adventure and to respect the rules of the cave. What types of interesting foods are available in the locale, like prickly pear jelly. Some interesting stones and gems found in the area. And the difference between stalactites and stale-egg-mites! There is also a fairly comprehensive glossary and a state fact sheet at the end of the book.
I appreciated the camaraderie demonstrated by the family members - they are real, but they also treat each other with respect.
The series site, www.wrightontimebooks.com, has various resources, including games and Nadia's informative blog, that can be used in accompaniment with the books.
These books would make an excellent addition to any classroom or homeschooling library. It would also be a fun read-aloud choice for children of varying ages - the 5-year-olds might not get all the facts, but they would enjoy the adventure. Tanja Bauerle's black-and-white illustrations, one accompanying each chapter, will engage the visual learners, as well.
Thanks to Wright On Time Books for the review copy of this book, and to Mama Buzz for organizing the tour.