Yes & No Books

Yes & No Books

Those long family road trips could be ever so tedious, sitting in those cramped quarters and enduring the taunts of your equally bored siblings. For parents who yearned for a little backseat peace and quiet, a Yes & No book provided miles of quiet entertainment. With a nifty invisible ink pen included, and a plethora of games contained within, these books worked like magic.

We owe our thanks to a company called Lee Publications, who first introduced a line of “Magic Pen” books in the mid-1970s. Filled with games and puzzles, they all worked in the same way. At first glance, there was plenty of white space on those pages, but a few swipes of the yellow-tipped marker pen revealed invisible information on the page.

Multiple choice trivia games were the most popular of the books, but the fun didn’t stop there. You could also play sports games like Football and Baseball, as well as many of the classics such as Hangman, Tic-Tac-Toe and Battleship (their version was called “Fleet”). There were also books with mazes, word games and even a whodunit detective game called “Lineup.”

While most of the books were intended for solo entertainment, some offered rules for multi-player play, just in case you wanted to distract your sibling from hitting you in the arm. And, if you didn’t want to tax your brain too much, there were also “Magic Pen Painting Books” where all you had to do was color with your magic pen. No matter what games you chose, the technology ensured that you couldn’t cheat, which kept all of those sibling challenges on the level.

There were a few minor drawbacks to the books. For one thing, they could only be used once. Second, the wonderfully magic pens weren’t so magical should you leave the cap off for an extended period of time, as they tended to dry out rather quickly, leaving you with a book you couldn’t use. Thankfully, most roadside venues like Stuckey’s were well-stocked with Yes & No books. With a little polite begging, you could be back in business in no time, fresh pen in hand to help tackle the boredom of the backseat.

If you have fond memories of using a magic pen on those Yes & No books of yesteryear, we hope you’ll take a moment to share your recollections in our comments section below.

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