Books for a two-year-old first-time flier
May 20, 2006 6:48 PM   Subscribe

Can anyone recommend good books to read to a two-year-old boy who's going to be taking his first airplane trip in ten days?

My wife and I will be taking our son on a trip from New Jersey to California. I've talked about it with him, of course, but I thought incorporating the preparation into his evening storytime might help him to know what to expect. Can you traveling parents out there recommend any special books that helped your little fliers?
posted by Songdog to Media & Arts (17 answers total)
My parents read this book about the "O'Hare Family'" (bunnies, heehee) to me as a wee thing. I loved it.

It appears out of print but available from a few Amazon sellers.
posted by radioamy at 6:57 PM on May 20, 2006

Freddy goes on an airplane is one that my daughter liked. We've taken many shorter trips with her and she has done great! She loves to people-watch, so airports and airplanes are fascinating places for her.

For the plane ride itself, my daughter enjoys the "lift-the-flap" books. They keep her occupied for quite a bit longer than a regular book would.

Good luck.
posted by Ostara at 7:01 PM on May 20, 2006

Yeah, find books that are more interactive. Pictures with flaps etc will be more interesting to him than words, assuming that your son can't read at the age of 2. =P

Oh! I used to love the books with a "soundtrack", where you would press a button on the side and it will play The Lion King theme song.. I don't know if they still make those books anymore though. Plus I doubt other passengers on the plane would enjoy background music during the flight.
posted by lain at 8:27 PM on May 20, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks for those titles, radioamy and Ostara. I am specifically interested in books to read to him before the trip. Right now I'm trying to prepare him to know what to expect when he actually goes on an airplane trip himself, though I'm always happy to receive suggestions about good children's books in general.
posted by Songdog at 8:42 PM on May 20, 2006

When I thought of airplanes and children's books, I immediately thought of "My Pet Goat". I know, I'm sick.

This one has great reviews:

Bit off topic, but it'll "fly". Har har.
posted by allthewhile at 8:59 PM on May 20, 2006

Lisa's Airplane Trip is fantastic -- beautiful, vibrant paintings, sweet story, and the usual frustrations of a small dog on a trip... I love the Lisa and Gaspard series of books.
posted by mdiskin at 5:00 AM on May 21, 2006

Why read anything to him at all? He's not going to think of it as anything strange or weird or something to be scared of unless you present it as such, which is what you seem to be doing, with a mindset of it being something that you have to "prepare" him for. The first time you rode on an escalator with him, did you first read "Tommy Rides The Escalator" together?
posted by dmd at 8:00 AM on May 21, 2006

DMD is right that you need not scare him before hand, but going to an airport and riding on an airplane is kindof a big enedeavor, especially for someone so little. If he learns about it a little bit before hand, then mom and dad can be like "look, there's the runway!" etc.
posted by radioamy at 8:28 AM on May 21, 2006

It's an adventure, and not something to be afraid of, for you or him. Don't forget, unlike adults, kids don't yet have the preconception that they need to be in control to feel safe (even when that is completely incorrect)
Airports are always great fun for little ones. The hustle & bustle, big planes outside (go to the window and watch the planes taxiing!) it's an adventure. His ears might hurt a bit when you take off, give him something to chew, that'll help pop his ears. (Beef jerky is fun, but I'm not up to snuff what the 2-year-old safe chewy food criteria are)

Enjoy the trip!
posted by defcom1 at 9:17 AM on May 21, 2006

How about something like Flying Jake? It's a cute little book, full of wonderful illustrations.
Basically, it's about a little boy who learns he can fly. But it's told entirely without words, so you can sort of make up your own story as you go. It was fun "reading" it with my kids and letting them "rewrite" the story everytime.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:18 AM on May 21, 2006

Mr. Lunch Takes a Plane Ride - one of the best of J. Otto Seibold's whimsical treats
posted by soiled cowboy at 11:50 AM on May 21, 2006

Consider Artie the Airplane books and videos by Captain Chuck Harman, pilot for American Airlines. If your son likes to color, the Airport Airplane Coloring Book might be nice (and quiet) for the flight.

When you get back, having his own plane waiting for him would be outrageous, but great: maybe you'll end up with a 21st Century Lindbergh on your hands.

Many more ideas at the Future Flyers Club (my personal favorite is the Aviator Rubber Ducky.)
posted by cenoxo at 12:16 PM on May 21, 2006

I might suggest that one of your best sources of information may be the children's librarians at your local public library...

(First place I turn when I need some specific titles that I need to get hold of fairly quickly...)
posted by navsaria at 2:45 PM on May 21, 2006

We flew with our boy at 3months, and at 2 years to New Zealand (12 hour flight) and he was surprisingly good. Try to not let them into the aisles, or stall it as long as possible, because once the kid knows it can go there, that's the end of it :)

We brought all sorts of toys, books, laptop with favourite videos, but it turned out that the plane part was fine, the hard part was immigration, specially when leaving. A lot of boring queuing. Luckily, all the airports we stopped at had a large play areas, with slides etc.
posted by lundman at 7:12 PM on May 21, 2006

I've flown 6 or 8 times a year since I was less than a year old, so it never occured to me to think of flying as anything scary or strange. It seems to me that telling a kid "this is something weird and different and possibly scary" is what makes something weird and different and possibly scary.
posted by dmd at 8:08 PM on May 21, 2006

Response by poster: dmd, no one is telling him that it's weird or scary. If anything, we're telling him that it's fun and exciting. As radioamy aptly pointed out, being able to recognize the runway, the jetway, even the waiting area might make the trip that little bit more familiar and understandable to him instead of everything about it feeling new. I understand what you're saying about making too big of a deal about stuff. Parents who, for instance, make a big fuss when their child falls down teach their child to make a big fuss when it's not called for. But I see absolutely nothing wrong with trying to make a small child more comfortable with what might be a challenging experience. This is a somewhat different matter than a first ride on an escalator.
posted by Songdog at 9:14 AM on May 22, 2006

I guess so. I just don't much see the point of making a big deal out of it. Flying might be something out-of-the-ordinary for you, but unless you tell him that it's something out-of-the-ordinary, why would he think it is?
posted by dmd at 3:54 PM on May 22, 2006

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