The tone is conversational and frequently humorous, but this well-researched, graphically snappy science and technology magazine for ages 9 to 14 is notable for the seriousness, scope and clarity of its subject matter, presented as both quick-read short items and as long-form articles accompanied by stunning photography. You couldn’t be bored by last September’s “Boredom” issue, for instance. It was a dynamite exploration of that feeling from different perspectives—boredom as a path to creativity, our physiological response, efforts to prevent boredom in zoo animals, how doodling helps in the retention of information, and more. The issue that revolved around last summer’s solar eclipse was another wow, going far beyond a pin-hole camera how-to and “where and when” guide, launching into space with a pictorial dissection of the sun’s anatomy, an interview with astronomer Marla Geha, NASA’s “Eclipse Balloon Project” (involving high school and college students across the United States); and fascinating articles about the end of the Cassini spacecraft’s Saturn mission and OSIRIS-Rex, the spacecraft set to make history when it lands on the asteroid Bennu. Fans on the readers’ pages (girls and boys) clearly revel in the content and participate with published questions and contest submissions related to subject matter. A group of breezy cartoon teens and cartoon hologram character “Ms. Acorn” pop up through the pages and in graphic novel-style comic strips as the magazine’s hosts (replacing the original nine “muses” that populated the publication before its 2015 merger with Odyssey magazine).
Lynne Heffley ©2018 Parents’ Choice
A freelance writer and editor for the arts and non-profit organizations, Lynne is a former staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, where she established the paper’s first weekly children’s arts and entertainment beat.