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PUBLISHED: 10:42 AM on Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Going Places: Alaska and the Yukon for Families book review by Terri Schlichenmeyer

"Going Places: Alaska and the Yukon for Families" might be a good complement to the Milepost for travels in our immediate vicinity, but the books is more aimed at Outside travelers. It mixes ideas on how to cruise to Alaska cheaply and how to avoid the Norwalk virus and other diseases on board with information about the Marine Highway ferries and road travel.

Covering destinations from Ketchikan to Fairbanks and the Interior, the book breaks down information for each city into easy-to-find tidbits - how to get there, where to stay, where to eat, and what to do. Accommodations are rated by cost and level of child-friendliness, and short descriptions and tips about each accommodation are straightforward and untainted by advertising. That, of course, doesn't mean the information is objective, but that's kind of the idea behind a book like this - and if you read it with that in mind, it can be very useful.

Going Places: Alaska and the Yukon for Families

by Nancy Thalia Reynolds

(Bergman Books, 2005)

Apart from the basic utilitarian information, the book also includes short informative passages on things you're likely to see when traveling in Alaska and the Yukon, from glaciers to totem poles, all in bite-size information that even kids can find palatable.

Using Alaskans as contributors makes sure the information is first hand - however, some places have more thorough coverage than others, and as a parent, I miss the crucial playground information. In many cities, the locations of playgrounds aren't mentioned, and in the specific case of Haines, where playgrounds are included, the fabulous playground at Tlingit Park is completely overlooked.

As a fairly frequent traveler in parts of Alaska, I have my own favorite places, and found that many of them have escaped the attention of the writers of this book. In some cases, I respectfully disagree with the writers, both when they talk about the level of child-friendliness of certain establishments and about the quality of food or service. But that might just show that quality of service varies by time and staff, and the book has given me several ideas of places to visit that I had overlooked.

All in all, "Going Places: Alaska and the Yukon for Families" is a book that takes on a gigantic part of the country, and does a good job of covering a whole lot of territory. The fact that certain local secrets didn't make it onto the pages is something the authors/editors can't really be blamed for.


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