Maybe it’s the magazine’s ambiguous approach that makes you wonder what Ask is all about. Its name an acronym for arts and sciences for kids—a broader subject spectrum than most kids’ magazines. But while comparatively lean on pages (32 per issue), these pages prove to be an entertaining mix of converging topics chosen to fascinate the young “curious minds” it targets.
Check out one recent issue and you find that the first 16 pages are heavy on science, with stories ranging from gorillas singing for their supper, to how male elephant seals get to be the boss seal, to the life of a queen bee. Issue after issue, Ask delivers more science than arts—despite its name. But, subjects collide and collaborate here, with the last half of that same issue including features about history’s good and bad kings and queens, and how one tall kid in the 1930s changed how basketball is played. See what it did? The issue is tied together by a “Who’s the Boss” alpha tales theme.
Recent cover stories support the magazine’s science bias (not a bad thing), including one all about glass, and another all about bicycles. But dig deeper and you’ll find that stories in the glass issue about the history of glass making; and in the bicycle issue, stories about the history of bicycles, an artist who makes bike sculptures, even a feature about 19th-century bike-riding soldiers.
Ask magazine issues weigh in on a thematic topic—such as the link between tigers and tabby cats that ends up being all about felines—and then explores connections in history and the arts. Departments at the back add subject diversity. Despite its questionable bent for too many zany cartoonish illustrations when historic photos would be more effective, Ask features high-quality content and writing that successfully connects science to the arts and history.
All Cricket Media magazines are ad-free; while subscriptions are auto-renewed, the publisher sends reminder notices enabling subscribers to continue or cancel subscriptions at any time.
Don Oldenburg ©2018 Parents’ Choice
A former feature writer and consumer columnist at The Washington Post for 22 years, Don Oldenburg is the Director of Publications and Editor of the National Italian American Foundation, in Washington, D.C. He regularly reviews books for USA Today and is the coauthor of “The Washington DC-Baltimore Dog Lovers Companion” (Avalon Travel). The proud father of three sons, he lives with his journalist-author wife, Ann Oldenburg, in McLean, VA.