Game-Changing Games for Car Trips

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A local shop sells tons of fun stuff for kids on long vacation hauls

By Laura Shanahan

"She's the boss!" Larry Gomez said fondly of his daughter Donna Schofield, who's indeed the proprietor of Stationery and Toy World, a family run business at 125 W. 72nd St.

If her name and her store's name sound familiar, perhaps you read about them in this newspaper in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Poor Donna, a beloved figure in the neighborhood since her store opened in 1988, had not only her Staten Island home flooded by the super-storm, three nearby warehouses filled with her shop's inventory were also ravaged. The loss was devastating, but the outpouring of love and support from the community buoyed both her and her business.

As Larry showed me photos of the flooding, customers in the store began testifying as to how the big-name chain stationers were no match for this quintessential indie.

"They make you buy giant quantities," a woman who identified herself as a longtime S and T loyalist said of the chains. "That's absurd! Who are they in business for? I don't have an office to stock."

If you, too, don't need mass quantities of goods ? and you want truly personal help, what are you waiting for? C'mon in. If Dad or Donna isn't around, talk to Gary, who's been here since about forever. Don't see what you need? Ask and ye shall receive.

Now then, let's move swiftly past the fabulous profusion of pens ? buy singly whatever you need; no forced bulk buys, of course ? and past all the basics of office supplies and let's get to the really good, fun stuff: toys and games and crafts, both nostalgic and newfangled, for young and old. Perfect time to peruse them now, before the family loads into the car for vacation trips and the bored kids get cranky and the grown-ups get grumpy.

Hilarity is sure to ensue when you pack a thick pad of Mad Libs, which arguably may be, as it modestly states, the "World's Greatest Word Game." Yes, it's the same silly, giggle-getting game you may remember from your youth: pages of stories in which you ask your partner to give you, say, a noun or an adjective to fill in the blanks that call for them. Of course, since your partner has no idea what the story is about, when it's read back with his or her proffered words filled in, ribs are invariably tickled; $3.99 ? a bigger junior version is $1 more.

Gary says a much newer game that's also hot right now is Spot It! On the Road, geared to banish feelings of car-trip captivity. Designed for ages "7 to adult," the game consists of 55 cards illustrated with what you may spy with your little eye out the car window. "The scenery comes alive as you search the landscape for matching images ? Spot It! Meets Travel Bingo," says the box's blurb. Enclosed instructions will further enlighten; $13.99.

Other fun options run the gamut from the original Parcheesi board game ? yes, the "true classic," notes Gary ? to the modern Perplexus, a large and complicated plastic brain-teaser that he says is "harder than Rubik's Cube." That oughta keep the little rugrats, as well as adult types, occupied; $24.99 and $32.99, respectively.

Another hot buy right now ? perhaps good for those inevitable rainy days at home or away ? is LCR (Left Center Right), which comes packed in a nifty silvery tin that can be easily re-purposed; $18.99. Suffice to say this multi-player game involves rolls of the dice and the acquisition of chips.

The game is for "ages 5 to 105!" ? should pretty much cover the whole family, no?

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