Book Review #2: Are We There Yet?: A Journey around Australia

That’s it! I’m packing my bags for an extended family sebatical in Australia!

Alison Lester, through the realistic voice of a little girl named Grace, makes the beautiful and varied continent of Australia come to life in this charming real-life-adventure based book, Are We There Yet?

Not only does this captivating narrative out-do Rick Steves in making a person want to board the next plane to Australia, but it also sweetly and humorously depicts what is now, sadly, an almost, bygone family experience: the extended family road trip. Sure, we still get in the car to visit Grandma once every year or two (or three). But when was the last time your whole family piled in the car and just drove, with only exploration and discovery of the world in which we live and extended time together as a family as the reasons? Perhaps it is still done by some of us. But with plane travel so prevalent and fast paced, highly scheduled lives as the norm, I think less and less of us can say that we have done something so audacious.

This book really captured more than just a beautiful and tempting picture of Australian geography but the funny little quirks of travelling as a family as well, like for instance, the Mom making the little boy use the ladies bathroom because he was too young to go in the men’s room by himself and him not being too thrilled about it or how and where each family member preferred to sit during the long stretches of driving.

The illustrations are plentiful, full of information, funny and very bright. The book serves children well in the geography department as well, familiarizing them with maps, routes and unique viewpoints, like cross-sections and top views of things that they normally might only see from the outside. The children all got a kick out of the captions that went along with the illustrations as well.

Whenever the family was taking another long stretch of driving the little boy, Billy, would call out the words that give the book its name, “Are we there yet?” which my five year old enjoyed filling in the blank whenever I came to that part and paused. Each time he would say it and then add, “That’s the name of the book!”

Are we there yet? published by Kane/Miller packs more insider information and imagination into a fun children’s picture book than I think many travel websites might be able to do. It is clear that Alison Lester loves her homeland and knows it like a friend. I think I will have no choice but to go there one day myself!

Burke’s Book Review

The book Are We There Yet is good and fun way of learning the geography of Australia.

One of my favorite parts is when Gracie feels a slimy creature goes past her leg under water. The book shows pictures of what she imagines under the water. Or when they visit The Pinnacles, she imagines a big upside-down monster under ground with the monster’s teeth and spines coming up.

I like how the book has the people saying how they feel about what they see. The Mom says, “I can’t look” a lot. The Dad says it once. It was funny to me.

At the end of every section the little brother, Billy, asks, “Are we there yet?”

This book makes me feel that Australia is a great place to travel along. It makes me want to explore those places and see what really was told in this book.

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One thought on “Book Review #2: Are We There Yet?: A Journey around Australia”

  1. Mmmm bit of a running joke in our family. Im an aussie and yes “Are we there yet?” was my favourite saying as a child (apparantly as soon as we left the driveway) . At 38 I still try to get it in before my kids just to annoy them before they ask. Sounds like a funny book, Ill have to get it for the little monsters.

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