LaRue Across America, Review and Giveaway

I am so pleased today to be able to offer a review of a “dog on a road trip” book here in our weekly 5 Minutes for Books column along with some road trip goodies, including a $50 gas card to fuel your next trip:

LaRue Across America: Postcards From the Vacation by Mark Teague is one of those intellectually smart picture books for kids (which means that parents are pretty likely to find it amusing too).

Ike LaRue, the cute dog featured on the cover, is a little bummed about his summer vacation. He and Mrs. LaRue were about to depart for a cruise to Mexico when their neighbor Mrs. Hibbins collapses from the heat and ends up in the hospital. Mrs. LaRue volunteers to take care of her 2 cats, but that throws a wrench into their vacation plans, because the cruise ship doesn’t accept cats. Mrs. LaRue decides that all four of them will take a driving vacation instead.

Ike is not pleased with this change at all, and writes Mrs. Hibbins some postcards suggesting that she send bus fare so the cats can go home and the LaRues can still board their cruise. That’s not to be, but Ike continues to write postcards to Mrs. Hibbins about their cross-country journey, all the way from New York to California.

We’ve enjoyed taking road trips ourselves, and we know the truth that they are never without mishaps. Ike finds out the same thing about sharing a back seat with 2 cats, enduring an unplanned change in schedule, and car trouble. But in the end, it all works out for good.

Mark Teague’s LaRue Across America: Postcards From the Vacation would be a great way to relive your own road trip or prepare for one (or simply share a few laughs).

I have a great prize pack for TWO of you (U.S. residents only, please). Two of you will receive a copy of the book, a LaRue branded backpack, and a $50 gas card to fuel your own adventure!

Leave a comment if you’d like to win (perhaps sharing your biggest joy or trial on a road trip). We’ll announce the winners in this column on May 2.

Written by 5 Minutes for Books managing editor Jennifer Donovan, who also blogs at Snapshot. Keep up with all the bookish goodness (reviews and book giveaways) by subscribing to our feed.


  1. says

    How exciting! My grandchildren would love this book!
    We use to travel a lot when our children were younger. We had seven children with us one summer when we stopped in Tennessee at a truck/gift shop for a potty break. I had taken the girls in the bathroom and thought they all came out before me. We were all loaded in the car and about to get back on interstate when my son noticed our daughter was missing. When we went back to get her, she was just coming out of the bathroom and never knew we left her until my son told her. She cried about it for our entire vacation and told everyone we came in contact with!

  2. Sandra K321 says

    This sounds like a cute book. We didn’t take too many long driving trips with my two boys, just one to Virginia. But the trips don’t have to be long to require creative ways to keep them amused. The car we used for the trips was big so they each had a lot of space. Thank goodness for handheld video games!

  3. HappyMomC says

    Would love to win this book. Our greatest joy on a road trip is being able to connect with everyone, singing, telling stories/jokes…just talking. Everyone has to be together…so it is perfect family time! :)

  4. says

    That sounds like a wonderful road trip book to read to my son when we go on our next road trip! We go on one every year. Last year it was a three week long camping road trip that took us over 6000 miles to complete. This year we’re not going quite so far, a quick 12 hour road trip to the east coast where we’ll spend 2 weeks exploring beaches and ponds and visiting with family. I’m not sure which I enjoy more…the long adventures that take us through desert, blizzard, prairie and wooded mountain (and last year we pitched our tent on lava rock and went cave exploring!) or the relaxing lazy two weeks.

  5. says

    What a wonderful giveaway, and in time for summer travels!
    Memories come back of squeezing too many bodies and their ‘necessary’ stuff into tight spaces and oft repeated “Are we there yet?”

  6. Carol M says

    This would be great for my youngest grandsons. My daughter and her family are planning on driving to several places this summer.

  7. Ruthie B says

    Oh so cute! Our family will be driving to Miami to board a cruise in June & this would be perfect for my 5 year old grandson!
    Our favorite reply when constantly asked ‘Are we there yet?’ is ‘About 20 more minutes!’ no matter how far we are! lol!
    Thanks for the chance!

  8. anne says

    What a lovely prize. A road trip that was interesting and long was summer move from the North to the Southwest. A great change of climate, topography and scenic vistas.

  9. says

    Biggest joy on a road trip? Having all 3 kids sleep for a 3 hour stretch while the hubs and I talked. All was right with the world. We hardly noticed that we were almost home, until the kids woke up happy. :)

  10. MJ says

    My kinderkids LOVE LaRue!!!
    Hubby and I both teach so every summer was spent at the beach!! We would have sing-a-longs and our version of Name That Tune!! Great times!!

  11. says

    We love LaRue books. They are so cute and we always just giggle. Road trips haven’t been fun or exciting (yet), but they are always certainly full of whines! Haha.

  12. says

    We took a road trip last summer. Our kids were 3, 3, and 1. We were in a very hilly area and we pretended we were on a roller coaster and put our arms up and down as we went over each hill. Even our lil 1 year old got into the fun! great memory!!

    April is Autism Awareness Month. I’m dedicating my blog all month long to Autism.

  13. Linda Henderson says

    My grandkids would love this book. The last fun trip we took was to Branson Missouri with the grandkids and they rode the rides and had a great time. One of my grandsons is autistic so there are some rides he won’t do, but he still had a great time.

    seriousreader at live dot com

  14. says

    When I was 16 we road tripped from Washington to Ohio and back to visit my grandparents. On the first night out my mom got some stuff in her eye so she couldn’t drive at all. Good thing they’d finally let me get my driver’s license at 16 1/2 so I could be my dad’s relief driver! The thing is I really remember the scenery much more from when I was driving than any other time because otherwise I had my nose in a book! :)

  15. Kathy Stevenson says

    My biggest joy was how much fun my girls had together on a drive from IL to CA. They had so much fun playing and watching movies in the car!

  16. Jaimie K says

    How fun! I’d love to have this book! And the gas card, I won’t lie. :)
    We don’t take many road trips but love to visit family when we do. One horrific traveling experience recalled was a couple Christmases ago, driving through a white out blizzard, spinning sideways twice. It was the worst ever and I’m terrified of winter road trips now.

  17. Vilmarys says

    I would love to win this book! I’m from Mass so instead of the entire family boarding an airplane to Florida, we drive instead. Nothing is better than being with family on a road trip. We get on each other’s nerves but that’s the fun part. But nothing compares to the excitement we all get when we finally hit the Florida border!

  18. says

    My daughter would love this book – it looks so cute and fun! We drive to oregon every summer…it was easier when she was a baby since she slept more. She just turned 4 though, so it’s going to be a bit more challenging this year!

  19. Alison S. says

    My husband and I love to travel. Now that we have a 2 year old and another on the way we didn’t know if road trips were something we could do. This past weekend we had to drive 11 hours each way and our son did great. So more road trips to come! Yay!

  20. says

    I would love to share this book with my daughter. It reminds me of the days when I would drive from grad school to home with my cat in the car. My choices were the constant yowling when in a box or letting him free in the car. While completely unsafe, but good for my sanity, he roamed in the car. He used to sleep around my neck so by the time I got home, I went from sitting up to practically eating the steering wheel. :-)

  21. says

    The best trip I remember is seeing Vegas for the first time (I’m from New Zealand) and it was driving through on my way to Utah, with my husband, who was my fiance at the time. It was so bright, and even the McDonalds had a neon sign! My favorite part was my husband taking me to the Bellagio, & watching the fountain there. So memorable, so fun!

  22. jacquelyn says

    We drive back to my husband’s families farm every summer with our two toddlers. Last summer we were arriving at the farm late one night and my two year daughter woke up in her car seat and looked out her window to see the moon. She said in the most sweet voice… “Hello Man in the Moon”. I will always remember that moment.

  23. says

    The best part about road trips is it usually means seeing family when we are done. Always great to see loving faces and get time with them. Thanks for the fun, love Mark Teague’s other books :)

  24. Megan Earley says

    My favorite memories from road trips as a kid were singing songs with my sister and playing the alphabet game.
    mearley1979 at gmail dot com

  25. Brianna Beers says

    Im am so in love with road trips, I would love to read this book! This would be the perfect opportunity to plan one too. Hey it would be awesome to read this book ON a roadtrip too!! Thankyou for another great giveaway!
    briannabeers at yahoo dot com

  26. Simone says

    I have read the other LaRue books – this one sounds great. Road trips are always an adventure with my family.

  27. Gail says

    We took quite a few “see America” vacations with our 4 kids, some of our fondest memories! The hard part when we were gone for several weeks was washing clothes along the way for 6 people. Fun times!

  28. says

    This looks like a really fun book! I love taking road trips and hope that my children learn to love them too. The worst road trip we ever took was when I was a young teenager – I ate something that gave me severe indigestion, then my mother made me take Pepto-Bismal which made it even worse and I spent a few hours puking while we drove down the road. Fortunately most of my road trips have been much better than that one was!

  29. Mia says

    Thank God my son has my road trip gene!!!! He and I have traveled back and forth from Georgia & Pittsburgh ALONE several times! His 1st Road Trip was to Auburn Alabama….he turn ONE MONTH!!! I love ROAD TRIPPING WITH MY SON!!!! =)

  30. Becky says

    Love Mark Teague. My dad was a teacher, so always had summers off and my mom worked part time as a nurse. My brothers and I loved traveling during the summer, we always went somewhere fun. My kids got an opportunity to travel with my family and also love traveling. Now they talk about having their own kids and taking “grandma” along!

  31. says

    What a cute book! For the hubby, success on a roadtrip… beating the previous drive time record. For me, happy, entertained kiddos who also take LONG naps. That way we can really enjoy ourselves when we arrive at our destination.

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