The Travel Game

Overview

Tad and his aunt Hattie take an imaginary trip to Hong Kong.

Armed with a globe, an illustrated almanac, and their imaginations, Tad and Aunt Hattie play the travel game. They ride elephants in India, escape deadly piranhas in the Amazon River, and hail a water taxi to visit the beautiful boat city of Hong Kong—all without leaving the apartment above the family tailor shop in Buffalo, New York. This funny, affectionate story is based on author John Grandits’s own childhood ...

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Overview

Tad and his aunt Hattie take an imaginary trip to Hong Kong.

Armed with a globe, an illustrated almanac, and their imaginations, Tad and Aunt Hattie play the travel game. They ride elephants in India, escape deadly piranhas in the Amazon River, and hail a water taxi to visit the beautiful boat city of Hong Kong—all without leaving the apartment above the family tailor shop in Buffalo, New York. This funny, affectionate story is based on author John Grandits’s own childhood experiences. The charming and highly detailed illustrations will keep children entranced through multiple readings and encourage them to play their own version of the travel game.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“From his apartment above a mid-20th-century Buffalo, N.Y., tailor shop, young Tad describes his important role in his extended Polish-American family. After lunch, he wants to go back to the shop but allows himself to be lured to his room for his nap under the pretext of playing the travel game with his favorite aunt, Hattie. Each time he falls fast asleep, but today he’s determined not to succumb. One globe and a reference book are all they need. They spin the globe, shut their eyes and land near Hong Kong. Aunt and nephew refer to the book and her embellished descriptions to learn about the unfamiliar destination. It is Aunt Hattie who falls asleep this time, though, and when Tad returns to his work downstairs he tells his family that Aunt Hattie is ‘in Hong Kong taking a nap for me.’ Alley’s luscious illustrations (in ink, watercolor and acrylic) convey with originality and charm the comfortable routine. Double-row stitching cleverly frames the interior scenes of the family’s tailor shop. A warm celebration of family and imagination.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Alley’s cheery and busy street, home, and shop scenes in ink, watercolor, and acrylic are filled with the sorts of details that are fully appreciated over multiple readings. Children will be charmed by the warmth and humor of Grandits’s wonderful tribute to family memories and the power of imagination.”—School Library Journal

Children's Literature - Sylvia Firth
As the title suggests, this is a story revolving around imaginary travel using a globe, a pictorial almanac and lots of imagination. Young Tad and his extended family live in apartments above the family tailor shop in Buffalo, NY. Only Tad's father and Grandma do not work in the business. Dad is a printer by trade and Grandma does all the cooking. Pages 8 and 9 list seven items for the main meal, which is served at midday. Tad really enjoys playing the travel game with Aunt Hattie, but does not like the fact that it is usually used as a ploy to get him to take a nap. One day Tad makes up his mind that he will not fall asleep. He spins the globe and his finger points to Hong Kong. They open the almanac and find fascinating pictures that are totally different from Buffalo, as they have reached the boat city of Aberdeen. Since they do not have a boat, they hire a water taxi and set out for a white pagoda owned by Aw Boon Haw, the inventor of Tiger Balm. Of course they have many adventures along the way. Soon it grows dark and Hong Kong is aglow with neon light. Tad struggles to remain awake and promptly thinks about the piranhas from a previous game. However, Aunt Hattie is "snoring very softly," so Tad tucks her in and hurries back to work in the tailor shop. The finely detailed illustrations of acrylic, watercolor, and ink harmonize well with both the actual and imaginary worlds of the story. Put this on the priority list and see how much children will really enjoy this fine tale. Reviewer: Sylvia Firth
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3–Growing up above his hardworking family’s tailor shop in Buffalo, NY, young Tad is surrounded by loving Polish relatives. On a busy Saturday after work and a lunch of golumki, fried mushrooms, and homemade bread, Grandma reminds the boy it’s time for his nap, but Tad declares he is too old for one. Aunt Hattie suggests that they take a rest in his room and enjoy their favorite game–the travel game. To play, the pair needs a globe and the book 1001 Pictures from Around the World. As they spin the globe, Tad’s finger lands near Hong Kong. Aunt and nephew read about their imaginary destination and set off on a wild adventure involving a seven-story white pagoda, water taxis, and tigers. The ending–Aunt Hattie napping on Tad’s bed while he helps his family in the shop below–will probably come as no surprise to children. Alley’s cheery and busy street, home, and shop scenes in ink, watercolor, and acrylic are filled with the sorts of details that are fully appreciated over multiple readings. Children will be charmed by the warmth and humor of Grandits’s wonderful tribute to family memories and the power of imagination.–Maura Bresnahan, High Plain Elementary School, Andover, MA
Kirkus Reviews
From his apartment above a mid-20th-century Buffalo, N.Y., tailor shop, young Tad describes his important role in his extended Polish-American family. After lunch, he wants to go back to the shop but allows himself to be lured to his room for his nap under the pretext of playing the travel game with his favorite aunt, Hattie. Each time he falls fast asleep, but today he's determined not to succumb. One globe and a reference book are all they need. They spin the globe, shut their eyes and land near Hong Kong. Aunt and nephew refer to the book and her embellished descriptions to learn about the unfamiliar destination. It is Aunt Hattie who falls asleep this time, though, and when Tad returns to his work downstairs he tells his family that Aunt Hattie is "in Hong Kong taking a nap for me." Alley's luscious illustrations (in ink, watercolor and acrylic) convey with originality and charm the comfortable routine. Double-row stitching cleverly frames the interior scenes of the family's tailor shop. A warm celebration of family and imagination. (author's note) (Picture book. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780618564200
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 5/18/2009
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Edition description: None
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

John Grandits is an award-winning book and magazine designer and the author of "Beatrice Black Bear," a monthly cartoon for Click magazine. He lives in Red Bank, N.J., with his wife, Joanne, a children's librarian, and Gilbert, an evil cat. His first book of concrete poetry, Technically, It's Not My Fault, followed the adventures of a boy named Robert, who was often in conflict with his older sister, Jessie. Blue Lipstick gives Jessie a chance to tell her side of the story.


R. W. Alley is the illustrator of many beloved books, including the Paddington Bear picture book series. He lives in Barrington, Rhode Island. Visit him at www.rwalley.com.

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