RoadTrip America

Routes, Planning, & Inspiration for Your North American Road Trip

Vanity Plate Puzzles: A Puzzle Book Where You Solve the Vanity Plates, by Michelle Mazzulo

This is a book that ought to keep you entertained for at least 166 minutes. Michelle Mazzulo has crafted a very clever collection using those personalized vanity license plates so uniquitous on the highways and byways of America and Canada. The author has worked for the KinderCare Learning Centers for twenty-two years and brings a fresh appreciation for puzzle solving and word games to this book. I random-paged about twenty of the puzzles and was able to solve about half of them fairly quickly. Five or six required some diligent concentration, and the rest really stumped me. Luckily, the author provides answers to all 166 of the puzzles in the book.

Generally, I am not drawn to word puzzles, but many of my friends and fellow roadtrippers really love them. I am, however, always fascinated by the road trip-related information, and this book delivers on that level, too. Throughout the book, the author provides entertaining nuggets of road trip trivia, including license plate slogans, facts about license plate production, and more. While puzzle lovers will enjoy the challenge on every page, I delighted in the entertaining factoids. I did not know, for instance, that South Carolina used to have a slogan that read "The Iodine State." I was intrigued to learn that early license plates in some states were made out of porcelain (!) and wood.

This is a great book for fans of brainteasers, and it may well inspire a rash of new vanity plates. It would make a terrific gift for a puzzle-loving roadtripper, and it would be great to have on hand when the kids start asking, "Are we there yet?"

Mark Sedenquist

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