"The Ultimate At-Home Activity Guide" by Mike Lowery (G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers, June 8), age 4-8, 112 pages, $14.99 paperback.
Mom used to annoy her six children by coolly dismissing our wails about how bored we were: "Boredom is good for you," she'd say. She was right, mostly. From bouts of boredom came shoe-box puppet theaters, lasagne-dish tadpole gardens and the genius discovery that Elmer's Glue-All can decoupage a Band-Aid box.
But also there were expensive lessons involving bicycles and the roof of the house. So, there's something to be said for activity guides — books jammed with safe projects requiring minimal adult support.
Mike Lowery's latest such guide outlines more than 100 projects for younger children than he addressed in 2018 with "The Kid's Awesome Activity Book," which came with stickers. No stickers here, just ideas.
Laser Maze (Page 47) is a great one. Tape yarn or string across a room or hallway at such angles that it's impossible to walk through normally. Time how long it takes to traverse the maze without tearing it down.
On Page 56 are instructions for turning cereal and pasta boxes inside out. Then you cover them with your own labels for invented food, like Rock Soup or Macaroni & Sneeze.
Make your own fairy wings. Draw with your eyes closed. Make slippers out of tissue boxes. Play horseshoes using Frisbees. Decorate personal pizzas.
Lowery's illustrations are goofy; the text is easy to read, and nowhere among these pages are any instructions for lifting your brother's bicycle atop the front porch.
Read to Me is a weekly review of short books.