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Volume VIII Number 4 . . . . October 19, 2001
As stated in the book's introduction, "the gang at Lobster Press" present a welcoming, accessible starting point for prospective outings, either for local families looking for an afternoon jaunt or tourists who need to be judicious about vacation choices. The predominant impression given by the guides, this being the second in the series, is that of experienced "explorers," who fully appreciate the restrictions of age appropriateness as well as the realities of the physical needs of the young. These realities include suggestions such as a visit to the park after a spate of car travel and before heading into the museum. A rating system is given at the beginning. Author John Symon, as well as his family, rated all attractions using criteria such as enjoyment level for children, learning opportunities for same, accessibility from Parliament Hill (from where all trips are designed), costs and value for money. A table of icons allows for a quick perusal of site details, such as wheelchair and stroller accessibility. For each site, an insert giving hours of opening, cost, guidance for "getting there," and a comment, such as the minimum time needed for a pleasurable visit, is provided. The same chapter headings are utilized in all of the "Lobster Guides." These headings include such categories as Places to Play, Places to Learn, Green Spaces, Museums, Farther Afield, and, in the heady spirit of the books, Getting There is Half the Fun. The chatty style provides a quick editorial note about each site thereby allowing the adult planner to absorb a sense of place. While the success of any family journey is not guaranteed considering that interests, ages and temperaments will vary, the Lobster Kids' Guides go a long way to making those outings happy memories.
Jennifer Johnson is a librarian working in Ottawa, ON.
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