Last Tuesday was the start of one of our favorite summer activities: the library's Summer Reading Fun program.
Oh boy, oh boy. We read like the crazy cats that we are, and add up those minutes which can be redeemed for prizes and awards and gift certificates. I'm so jealous that Sydney and Jules get to participate in it, wishing that my reading time counted too so I could enter my minutes in the drawing for a spa day. Because really, is a person ever too old to be rewarded for reading? I think not.
To fully participate in the program, the kids are expected to read from (or, in our case with Sydney, read to) different genres. They read mysteries, science fiction, books about nature, books about different cultures. Last year, we had no trouble checking off the different genres, except one. Magazines.
While Sydney may occasionally flip through a People magazine, I don't think that exactly qualifies. Sure, it's riveting reading, but you know. It has its limits as far as "literature" goes. But I couldn't think of what kind of magazines she should be reading. I had grown up reading Highlights (oh that Goofus and Gallant, they were a kick, weren't they?), and even though the knock-knock jokes were funny enough I didn't think Sydney would like them much.
So, I wandered through the children's section at our library and randomly picked up a magazine that I thought looked nifty enough. It had some lovely illustrations. It had interesting stories. It even had a "find the object" page, which was (and still is) one of Sydney's favorite activities. The magazine I happened to pick up was called Ladybug.
As it so happens when the stars twinkle brightly and the wind blows softly, many moons later I was asked by Parent Bloggers Network if I wanted to review Ladybug magazine. Did I? A magazine that encourages child literacy? A magazine that Jason's mom--a preschool teacher for two decades--loves to a hundred little buggy pieces? Indeed, I would.
And just as I had been smitten with the magazine last summer, I was in love all over again when we started receiving copies a couple months ago. It has wonderful pictures on high-quality paper, and plenty of classical literature sprinkled throughout. There's always a song to learn, and reoccurring characters from issue to issue. It has craft suggestions for the kids, and nearly always includes a pull-out craft that we can make into a book or mobile.
February's issue even had a beautifully illustrated poem by Robert Louis Stevenson. "Picture Books in Winter" has now become one of my favorite Stevenson poems. Lovely.
We also receive High Five, which is the pre-school version of Highlights, and would probably be Ladybug's nearest competition. There are some similarities between the two magazines: stories, music, craft activities. While both include plenty of diversity in the characters, High Five seems to have more emphasis on bringing in different languages. Ladybug, however, is printed on better paper, and does overall have a greater artistic rendering. It's more expensive than High Five, but I suspect that's due to the magazine itself being of higher quality. When my mother-in-law saw a copy of Ladybug on our table, she was tickled pink that Sydney was able to enjoy that magazine too, even though she was the one who got Syd the subscription to High Five. As she says, "High Five isn't as expensive, but Ladybug is really my favorite."
Overall, we have become big fans of Ladybug magazine, and I think now that Jules is finally past her "ripping up magazines" stage, we might be getting her the baby version of Ladybug, called Babybug.
They already love reading, and magazines are a cool way to add some extra variety to our reading schedule. We are already one step ahead of the genres to check off for the Summer Reading program. Magazines? Check.
This review was brought to you by Parent Bloggers Network.
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