Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978



Spring 2012 Magazines
Ages: 9 - 12 yrs.
Publisher: Bayard
Newsstand Price: $9.00
Subscription Price: $90.00 / 10 Issues

The subscription price may seem steep, but DiscoveryBox is well worth it. It's like a bag of pop rocks, bursting with color and zingy stories.

The magazine's content focuses on science, history and nature, and there are tabs on the pages of each section to alert kids to that. For instance, a fun comic strip that spoofs Little Red Riding Hood to teach about allergies has a Science tab at the bottom. In part, I think to remind kids and parents that they are actually learning. It feels too fun.

Regular features include recipes, puzzles, quizzes monthly punch-out cards and poster pull-outs. Most everything in the magazine is delivered in small bits and at rapid fire, which makes it easy to put down and come back to again.

The content is wide-ranging, from a blurb on a London seed bank in one issue, to a short bio of Nelson Mandela, to a feature-length piece on how milk is made beginning with the basic recipe - cow plus water plus calf - and ending with a cutesy flowchart through a processing plant.

It's also unflinching. One issue's history article was on witches. It used a cartoon to depict a historical place and time - Salem, MA, circa 1692 - and while the comics softened it, the message was clear. Ignorance can breed fear and then hysteria and cause us to act in awful ways.

An editor's note on its web site states that DiscoveryBox loads each issue with eye candy because it strengthens reading skills and retention in their target age group. This gives the impression that there are serious people behind the publication with good ideas about children and education, but I can't help thinking headquarters is loaded with Nerf guns and silly string.

Teresa DiFalco   ©2012 Parents' Choice
Teresa DiFalco is an award-winning ghostwriter, writer, and mother in Vancouver, Washington. She's been a contributing editor for Parents' Choice for over ten years. She's a strong speller, a menace at badminton, and makes a decent soufflé.

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