Newest Review: ... of reading materials are just as likely to fall behind in reading as the boys as are. Discovery Box is an excellent magazine for those w... more
Discover a magazine a bit like National Geographic but for kids
Member Name: Vialdana
Advantages: Interesting facts, good glossy magazine/booklet
Disadvantages: Rather expensive, and aimed towards the younger end of the age range they say it's for.
Discovery Box by Bayard is one of their series of monthly magazines. I was lucky enough to be given some of these for my nieces and nephews, and so have looked through them and talked to them about what they thought of them before reviewing them here.
The Discovery Box Magazine is aimed at the 9-12 year old group, and costs £4.15. It's 55 pages long, glossy and falls somewhere between a magazine and a small book. Unlike the other two magazines in the Bayard Box Magazine range, this one doesn't feature a long story, in fact it's far more magazine than either of the other two in it's style, but think more National Geographic rather than Just 17.
Like most magazines it's quite formulaic in terms of how it's laid out. It begins with a fold out page each month that is almost poster style. However it features something such as Prehistoric Cave men, What lives in a lake, The statue of liberty and how it's made, or whatever. This is followed by a few pages that relate to it, so for the Statue of liberty one, the following pages relate to what it might have been like starting a new life in America between 1820 and 1914. In the one about Cave men, it talks about Neanderthal people and how they hunted, and so on. The content isn't always in the same order, but generally each magazine has a section on History, Science, World, Animals, as well as various bits that come under the heading 'fun stuff'.
Some of the magazine is done cartoon style, other bits are snippets of information in boxes across a page with loads to look at. They include the odd interview in there, as well as the occasional competition. The 'fun stuff' bits vary some, and can include things like recipes, competition results, make it things like a basket ball hoop or pirate hook, and quizzes.
I have 2 nephews and 1 niece who fall into the age range for this magazine - the boys are 10 and 12, and the girl is 10. I was given a variety of these magazines to share with them, and asked them to look through and tell me what they thought. I figure it's all very well me saying what I think, but when it's aimed at kids, it's far better to get an idea what they think too.
~*~ Our thoughts: ~*~
Me - I don't know that I'd be comfortable spending £4.15 on this each month, as although the quality of the paper is high, and it's something that will last, I don't think it's the sort of thing that holds enough of interest for kids to want to return to it over and over again as they might a book. Having said that, the contents in each one was quite good, and I found some of it interesting myself when I read through it. I liked that it had almost the feel of a junior version of National Geographic or Readers Digest - the sort of magazine which I myself enjoy reading.
Nephew 1 (10) - liked it a lot, thought the stuff on prehistoric people was good and so was the stuff in another one on wolves. Said the quizzes were good but the answers should have been on a different page instead so it would have been harder to cheat. When asked if he'd read it again - got lots of nods.
Nephew 2 (12) - Said it was interesting in places, but a bit too much like school stuff. He didn't think it was a good bargain and wouldn't want to buy it with his pocket money because it was much too expensive - he thought it should have been about £2 instead. His favourite bit was in issue 134 where it had stuff about how they make 3d animation and he now wants a book about that.
Niece (10) - found bits interesting, but she prefers magazines with things about hair and makeup and music in them. She wouldn't read it again unless there wasn't anything else to read. She also thought it talked down to her too much and made her feel like it was treating her too much like a kid.
So, there you have it - Our review on the Discovery Box Magazines is a bit of a mixed bag really. I suppose what it boils down to is that if your child is the sort who likes reading facts about real things and is towards the younger end of the scale they'll probably enjoy it if you can afford it. If they're into the pre-teen music and clothes thing already then forget it, this isn't going to hold much sway. Once again it does seem to be aimed towards the younger end of the age group that they are suggesting that it's for however, so maybe they need to re-think who they're aiming these at.
Summary: Not bad, & a really good idea if they could just get the price down a bit & the content up a little.