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Cricket Magazine Group Review by Wendy Jung

Cobblestone Publishing
www.cricketmag.com
Carus Publishing Company
30 Grove Street, Suite C
Peterborough, NH 03458
800-821-0115
http://shop.cricketmedia.com/

Cricket Magazine Group publishes 14 different magazines geared for all ages--from toddlers to teens. Their first publication was Cricket, which has been around for over 30 years. Their magazines cover a large variety of topics, and the 14 titles are grouped within three different subject areas: Literature & Imagination, History & Culture, and Science & Ideas. The magazines themselves are beautiful; the paper is top quality and thick, the printing is clear, and the illustrations and photographs are first-rate. A subscription to each individual title includes 9 issues and costs $33.95 per year, although the subscription cards in each magazine offer a special rate of $27.95 to 29.95 per year. There are no advertisements in any of the magazines, which range in length from 24 (Babybug) to 48 pages (all the magazines for older children). In addition to the stories and articles, each magazine contains a variety of games (such as crossword puzzles and word searches) and/or crafts to make. The publications for older children also include letters to the editors and pen pal letters between readers.

Literature & Imagination: These titles contain fiction and non-fiction pieces in addition to poetry, fairy tales, and cartoons. Some of the works are from well-known authors like Robert Louis Stevenson and Mother Goose, however I did not recognize most of the authors. All of the magazines I looked at in this category were the October publications and included themes like autumn, harvest, and Halloween. Stories ranged from raking leaves with Daddy (in Babybug), to piece on the Andrea Doria, to a fantasy about a boy with special powers who attends a "normal" school. The writing was fantastic, and I found the stories to be age appropriate and engaging. The following titles are included in this category:

Babybug--ages 6 months to 3 years
Ladybug--ages 3 to 6
Spider--ages 6 to 9
Cricket--ages 9 - 14
Cicada--teens

Ideas & Science: The articles in these publications were mostly non-fiction. The magazines seemed centered on one theme each month. For instance, the issue of Click I reviewed was all about caves; it covered where caves are located, showed great photos of what the insides of caves look like, and discussed what lives in caves. Each topic was covered thoroughly and included lots of interesting facts. I learned quite a bit!

Click--ages 3 to 6
Ask--ages 6 to 9
Odyssey--ages 9 to 14
Muse--ages 9 to 14

History & Culture: Again each of these titles focused on one main topic, ranging from Ancient Rome to the Chicago World's Fair to Kids Changing the World. They include a combination of fiction and non-fiction stories and articles. I really enjoyed these because of the depth included on each topic. A variety of websites and books are listed in each for further study.

Appleseeds--ages 9 to 14
Dig--ages 9 to 14
Faces--ages 9 to 14
Calliope--ages 9 to 14
Cobblestone--ages 9 to 14

I left all of the magazines sitting on a living room table for a few weeks and found my kids looking through and enjoying them. Personally, I liked all of the titles in the History & Culture category best, but then I lean that way. We'll be studying Ancient Rome again in a few months, and the magazine on that topic will be a great addition to our studies.

These magazines are not written from a Christian perspective at all, and you will want to peruse each one before handing it to your child. All of the issues I reviewed were October publications, and some (mostly the literature themed ones) contained stories relating to Halloween. Those in the science category had some references to evolution and the beginnings of the world. One whole publication, Odyssey, was about the origins of man; and, well, let's just say that according to it, our closest living relative is the chimpanzee. I didn't put that title out on the living room table.

I've seen these publications advertised for many years and never really looked at them because the price is a bit daunting, especially when my five kids would all want their own subscription. However, now I might be tempted to suggest a couple of titles to the grandparents for birthday or Christmas gifts.\

Product review by Wendy Jung, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, February 2010

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