"Ready for Anything" was Winnie the Pooh's reaction when he saw Christopher Robin's Big Boots and knew an Adventure was imminent. Perhaps you won't find yourself (as Pooh did) on an "Expotition" to the North Pole, but books can enhance your summer Anything.
Family vacations provide "a perfect time for reading aloud," as Margaret Mary Kimmel and Elizabeth Segel note in their book, For Reading Out Loud! (Delacorte Press, $12.95). "With no television (if you're lucky), no homework, and no job demands, it's not difficult to find time for reading."
Along with the whys and the hows, they describe in detail 140 books appealing to children of various ages. Especially useful to families with children widely spaced in age are suggestions for books everyone will enjoy. Such as: two animal adventure stories, Abel's Island by William Steig and The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford; or just for fun, Thomas Rockwell's How to Eat Fried Worms, Farley Mowat's Owls in the Family, John Fitzgerald's The Great Brain or the Atwaters' Mr. Popper's Penguins.
"If you're traveling," advise Kimmel and Segel, "try to choose a book related to the area you're visiting. Take along a sea story if you're heading for the shore, or a historical novel that will make a stop at a national landmark more meaningful."
If you're going to the Maryland/Virginia seashore, there is Marguerite Henry's Misty of Chincoteague, as well as Sea Star and Stormy, stories about Misty's offspring.
Or travel with Mildred Taylor to Mississippi during the Great Depression in Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry or back to Midwestern pioneer days in Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House books. Although "set far apart from any battlefield," Irene Hunt's Across Five Aprils "provides a clearer sense of the meaning and impact of the Civil War than any other book for children."
Reading aloud on car trips doesn't suit everyone and is impossible if the only reader also happens to be the driver. As an alternative, you might consider story cassettes as travel companions. A wide variety is available to buy or to rent; some are owned by public library systems for borrowing, like books, but the popularity often means a limited selection.
Some other ideas for traveling with children:
Wordless books for young travelers to read to you, such as Mercer Mayer's small books about a boy and a frog.
The fantastic adventures of Chris Van Allsburg's Jumanji and the brand new The Wreck of the Zephyr.
Seaside picture books--William Steig's Amos and Boris, Leo Lionni's Swimmy, Evaline Ness' Sam, Bangs, and Moonshine, and for older readers, Holling C. Holling's Paddle-to-the-Sea.
Nonsense poetry like Shel Silverstein's Where the Sidewalk Ends and The Light in the Attic.
Inexpensive paperbacks such as: Which Way? mystery series (Archway, $1.95), where you decide on the action; or Wee Sing Silly Songs by Beall and Nipp (Price/Stern/Sloan, $2.25) for back-seat harmonizers who only know the choruses. (Also available with sing-along cassette, $7.95; three others in series.)
The days are bound to be brighter than Eeyore's, whose only comment at the end of his adventure was, "Well, anyhow--it didn't rain."