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I've got two reviews, feel free to add yours. I'm on the lookout to see if there are any other good ones.<br><br>
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC'S KIDS<br>
My mom subscribed my DD to this magazine. I could see why - National Geographic is a good magazine, lots of opportunities to learn about biology, anthropology, nature and so on. The cover promises good information on various animals and such.<br><br>
But this magazine gets a HUGE thumbs-down from me, so much that I am considering throwing away the rest of the issues we receive rather than read through them with DD. The magazine is FULL of advertisements, and in my opinion the advertisements are entirely inappropriate and manipulative. For example, the latest issue featured a little booklet (and DD loves little booklets) that advertise various products under the guise of games. For example, there is a Skippy ad that consists of a maze, you help the elephant get to the peanut butter. My 4 year old doesn't even read but she knew it was peanut butter (though not Skippy, we don't buy Skippy) - but that's just the point, the ad familiarized her with the product and brand in a way that really engaged her. The advertisers would be proud, I'm sure.<br><br>
At the end of this booklet there was something that got me even madder. This was a game where they provide a child a "grocery list" and the object is to find all the items on the list in the picture of the store. Most of the items were generic staples (bread, milk, cheese, lettuce, etc.) but about 1 in 3 items were branded products (like Kellogg's Pop Tarts or whatever). My 4 year old really wanted to play the game so I just read her the generic items but she surely noticed the products too. The point of this "game" is to further familiarize the child with the products and brand, and show them WHERE TO FIND THEM in the store (you could see the Pop Tarts were in the cereal aisle, for example). I can't tell you how awfully brilliant these marketers are. They seriously taught my kid about their products.<br><br>
Anyway, that's just an example. The magazine is STUFFED with ads, and they are all very engaging toward kids, with games or pictures or whatever.<br><br>
Ignoring the ads, for now, the content of NG Kids is also extremely disappointing. The layout of the magazine seems geared toward kids with chronic attention overload. Every page just screams for attention, there's factoids everywhere (but not much substance behind them). Everything competes, visually. Much of the content is consumer-based even if it's not an explicit ad - and some of the content is in fact an explicit ad (recent issue had a 2 page spread about the upcoming Toy Story 3 movie - this was supposedly actual content, not an ad).<br><br>
Reading it seems like you'd have to be hopped up on coke to get through it. There is no common theme or context, no gentle learning, just competing factoids with nothing deeper. I feel this magazine is doing a true disservice to my daughter.<br><br><br>
HIGH FIVE (HIGHLIGHTS)<br><br>
I appreciated this magazine from the start, but now having the above magazine for contrast makes me appreciate it even more.<br><br>
The content and layout are calm, gentle, thoughtful. Throughout the stories are opportunities for parent and child to discuss thoughts and ideas. The illustrations are, rather than explosive with NG Kids, calm, loving and a good basis for further conversation. Open-ended questions are asked throughout the magazine. Plenty of space is given to stories.<br><br>
The stories themselves are calm, loving and insightful (and well written). The magazine is multi-cultural and shows multi-generational relationships. This magazine (written for younger children) assumes parental involvement.<br><br>
There are no ads at all save for mail-in cards for Highlights (sister publication) and maybe some related books. These advertisements are aimed toward parents exclusively, not the children. They are not distracting, and are appropriate for the context.<br><br>
DD and I seem to read through each issue 3 times because we enjoy it so much, and there's more to think about with each session.<br><br>
There's activities and crafts. Honestly I don't usually do the cooking craft with DD because it almost always involves some candy type thing (this month has "apple smiles," a cute snack with apple slices, cream cheese and mini-marshmallows assembled to make a smile. I think it's cute but I'll pass on the marshmallows in the house). But honestly, I think most parents would be fine with the recipes, they aren't pure junk or anything. That's the only thing I can think of that I'm not 100% pleased about.<br><br>
So what magazines do your kids read? What do you think?
 

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I agree-- High Five is just wonderful. I would recommend it to anyone with children ages 3-6. It's exactly what you said-- gentle, inclusive, enriching, nurturing, and fun. They really do a superb job.<br><br>
I clicked on to this thread to throw in my two cents about High Five and hopefully get some new ideas for more magazines. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lurk.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lurk">
 

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I agree with your assessment of NGK. Ds got it from a relative as a gift and I find it pretty awful.<br><br>
I got Cricket magazine back in the day (when they had the likes of Lloyd Alexander on their board! I still have all my old issues) and I still think it's the best, most literate, artistic, high-quality kids' magazine out there. It's more for the 9-12 age range.<br><br>
However, we have also enjoyed some of the other mags in the Cricket "family," Babybug, Ladybug and Spider.
 

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Agreed about NGK. My DS got NG Little Kids for awhile and then we got some free copies of NGK. Big difference. Interestingly the Little Kids version has no ads.<br><br>
Another good one I got for my niece: <b>New Moon for Girls</b> (ages 8 and up).
 

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All of the Cricket magazines are excellent: (they have different ones for different ages and interests)<br><br><a href="http://www.cricketmag.com" target="_blank">www.cricketmag.com</a><br><br>
(There are no ads at all in any of their mags.)
 

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Agree with everyone so far, but I think High Five gets super repetitive. My DD is not a fan of repetition, and she caught on to the patterns of that magazine really quickly. It soon lost its appeal. She got PuzzleBuzz too from Highlights and I have the same comments about it too.<br><br>
She got <a href="http://www.zoobooks.com/" target="_blank">Zootles</a> for a while, but it was during a period in which she didn't like magazines. I loved them, and I saved them all. I think I'm going to get them out again so she can practice reading with them now. I keep thinking about getting Zoobooks now but haven't yet.<br><br>
She also got <a href="http://www.nwf.org/Kids/Your-Big-Backyard.aspx" target="_blank">Your Big Backyard</a> for a while, and it was pretty good.<br><br>
For Cricket-specific titles:<br>
She's also used to get BabyBug and LadyBug from Cricket--she obsessively loved BabyBug as an infant, but was less thrilled with LadyBug.<br><br>
She gets Click right now but I think it's too young for her. I explicitly told MIL to get her the next one (I think it's Appleseeds?) but she ignored me and got the one she wanted. I think the content is too watered down for DD's interests.<br><br>
DD is 5 years, 9 months.<br><br>
Holli
 

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<span style="font-family:Georgia;">Oh that's too bad about NG Kids. We get NG Little Kids and it is just marvelous. No ads, bright eye-catching pictures, simple activities and thought provoking.<br><br>
We also really enjoy High Five!!!<br><br>
I'm thinking of subscribing to one of the BabyBug, LadyBug, Cricket set but I'm not sure which one yet.<br><br>
We heart magazines at our house!!</span>
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I didn't know there was an NG Little Kids. I wonder if I could switch DD's subscription to it. I didn't mention it in my review, but NG Kids is too old for my DD - not their fault obviously. That would be a huge relief if we could get rid of the NG Kids and replace it with something better.
 
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