At Papousse, we believe books are a fantastic way to adventure with our kids. Our Little Explorer Reads series introduces books to inspire you and the little ones in your life to explore.
Are we there yet? By Alison Lester
Recommended ages: toddler to grade 4
A journey around Australia
‘Are we there yet?’ is a joyfully illustrated account of one family’s amazing 3 month journey around Australia. Grace and her two brothers get to spend the whole winter term touring the country with their parents. Sometimes camping in a tent trailer, sometimes sleeping with friends or family, their adventure is the perfect blend of entertaining and educational. The story is based on an actual trip taken by the author, which I suspect is what makes it feel so authentic.
Lester impressively weaves together accounts of over forty Australian destinations including famous cities like, Melbourne, Sidney, Cairns and Canberra as well as many natural attractions and lesser known spots. Every other spread includes a small map so you can track their progress.
The book is on the longer side for a children’s book but does a fantastic job of keeping both my kids (aged 2 and 5) engaged right to the end. Lester uses a repeating pattern that creates a predictable and calming flow, making it a relaxing bedtime story. She is also a superb illustrator and every time I read it I discover something new in her delightful paintings.
‘Are we there yet?’ will appeal to audiences of all ages. There are funny bits that just the adults will get, lots of sights and activities that will entertain kids of different ages and the funnest for my 2 year old is the repetition of the classic road trip mantra by little Billy – ‘are we there yet?’
The author has also sprinkled little gems of fun dialogue in a cartoon style throughout the story. These aren’t essential to the plot so can be skipped for shorter attention spans, or included for more enthusiastic audiences.
My Australian friend Kim sent my kids this book to encourage us to visit them and it worked! We are super excited to be planing a family trip to Australia. It was neat to learn more about places I’d heard of like Tazmania, the Twelve Apostles, Alice Springs and Uluru, Darwin, and Surfers Paradise. I was also amazed at how many interesting places I knew little or nothing about – the Flinders Ranges, Windjana Gorge, Wilson’s Promontory, Kakadu, the Bungle Bungles, Turquoise Bay, Katherine Gorge, The Great Australian Bight, and the Three Sisters in the Blue Mountains.
If you are planning a trip to Australia with kids I highly recommend trying to find this book. I recently discovered it has been adapted for younger audiences as well, under the title “Are We There Yet? Lift the flap and play I-spy!”
Other books I love by this author are Alison Lester’s ABCs, Magic Beach and Imagine. Near to Wilson’s Promontory is Alison Lester’s Gallery and Bookshop in Fish Creek. My friend Kim tells me it is amazing! Kim has also shared a family travel guide to Wilson’s Promontory which you can read here.