The Airport Book

Book review by
Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media
The Airport Book Book Poster Image
Fun account of family's travel day tells all about airports.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Shows all the things you can expect to see on a trip to the airport and on a commercial airline flight. Lots of accurate, practical details couched in a fun family story. 

Positive Messages

Air travel is fun. It's exciting to fly on an airplane. It's fun to go to new places that are different form where you live. It's nice to travel far to visit relatives you don't see often. You can take your favorite toy along with you, even if it has to get stashed away in your suitcase. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Shows a happy family traveling together. The parents are a little distracted and don't see what the little sister does: that her stuffed monkey's tail is sticking out of the suitcase. She keeps her eyes on it, though, and is relieved at the end of the flight to be reunited with it. Very diverse cast of passengers -- lots of different ages, nationalities, and ethnicities, and the central family is mixed race. One comic note is a passenger who's always on her cell phone with a cartoon speech balloon that says "Blah blah blah blah blah."

Violence & Scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Airport Book, by author-illustrator Lisa Brown, shows just about every detail of airplane travel, from going through security to taking your bags off the luggage carousel on the other end, while subtly telling a cute story of a family going to visit grandparents in a tropical place where palm trees and beaches abound. It's a seamless blend of fiction and nonfiction and the perfect book to share with little ones before a plane flight.

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What's the story?

A family of four finishes packing their suitcases and takes a taxi to the airport. Once there, they do all the things air travelers do: go through security, wait at the gate, board the plane, and then draw, read, and get snacks and drinks on board. Once they land, they get their luggage off the carousel -- and the little girl gets back her sock money she's been worried about, which was stowed in the cargo hold -- and Grandpa picks them up and and drives them to the beach. 

Is it any good?

This informative, funny family travel story is a perfect introduction to air travel for little ones. It covers all the bases, from sending items along the conveyor belt into the X-ray scanner to stowing bags in the plane's overhead bins. Running gags regarding various passengers -- such as the lady who keeps saying "Blah blah blah blah blah" into her cell phone -- and the thread of the toddler girl saying "Monkey, monkey" when she notices (but no one else does) that the tail of her packed-away sock monkey is poking out of her suitcase give kids a story to follow amid all the practicalities of a commercial flight day. 

Author-illustrator Lisa Brown's cartoon-like illustrations are fun and accessible, with loads to look at on each spread and lots of expression and personality in her main and supporting characters. The family at the center of the story features an African-American dad, a white mom, and mixed-race kids, which adds to the story's appeal, especially for families looking for children's books with diverse characters.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about plane flights. Have you flown somewhere with your family? Do you recognize all the things at the airport that The Airport Book points out? Which part of a plane travel day is the most fun? Which part do you like least?

  • What's funny about the woman who's always talking on her cell phone? Do you know anyone like that? 

  • Draw a picture of your last family vacation or outing. Did you go by car, bus, train, or plane? 

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