Help your kids get pumped about returning to the classroom with these cool essentials in their backpacks. Yes, we know you'll be snagging some for your office. - By Scott Steinberg and Josh Sens



The word on the new Bookmark Dictionary II is … is … let's look it up. This handy electronic dictionary is a great traveler's companion stocked with 130,000 words and definitions. Best of all, it's slim and flexible, so you can use it as a bookmark. $60. (800) 431-2486, www.zelco.com.



Color us intrigued by Sharpie's new line of retractable markers. Available in eight vivid hues - including berry, lime, and turquoise - they have no cap and require only one hand to operate. $4.89 (2-pack) to $19.56 (8-pack). www.sharpie.com



Whereas many mechanical pencils are a nightmare, Paper Mate's Advancer handles like a dream. This self-advancing­ model mercifully makes constant clicking a thing of the past. $2.38 (2-pack), $3.57 (3-pack), $5.95 (5-pack). www.papermate.com



Keen on doubling your pleasure and productivity? Grab the Tandem, a revolutionary ballpoint pen and highlighter combo from Paper Mate. Combining both tools' best attributes into a single unit, the gadget uses smear-resistant ink and accepts refills. $5.19. www.papermate.com



Close your eyes. Picture an object. Got it? Good. Now, try and put one past Radica's 20Q, the consummate electronic edition of the classic stumper "20 Questions." The pocket-size gadget serves as both an accomplished intellectual sparring partner and an essential traveling companion. $10. (800) 854-9551, www.radicagames.com