ARE WE THERE YET? Perfect Family Vacations and Other Fantasies

Scott Haas, Author . Plume $14 (242p) ISBN 978-0-452-28513-2

Early in this breezy, humorous collection of travel pieces, a pediatrician declares, "Babies are wonderful traveling companions." That's all the permission Haas and his wife needed to take newborn Madeleine on a monthlong stay in Switzerland. But the house they rented was infested with bees and had a roof that leaked during a major storm. They stayed on, and Madeleine received a hardy christening as a junior traveler. A couple of years later, son Nick got the same treatment. Haas's account doesn't offer tips on traveling with kids, but does share stories from various trips over the years, as the family favors house exchanges throughout Europe and America over wandering itineraries. The children's presence on these vacations—and their continuing development—allows Haas to observe travel from a father's perspective. In Italy, locals doted on the bambini ; on the Côte d'Azur, Haas struggled to reconcile his familial responsibilities with the indolence of the Riviera. The family often bickered over decisions large and small, and much of the book features fast, funny dialogue. Haas, a producer and on-air talent for Here and Now , a nationally syndicated show broadcast from an NPR affiliate, captures precisely the ways the four of them behaved when confronted with the foreign, sometimes rallying as one, sometimes teetering on the verge of chaos. The kids weren't angelic, yet they were usually willing and responsive. A post-9/11 Disney World trip allows Haas to reflect on terror, fantasy and reality, but the whole of the book is charmingly lightweight. Agent, Jeffrey Posternak. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 10/27/2003
Release date: 02/01/2004
Paperback - 978-0-452-29033-4
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