Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978



Spring 2012 Magazines
Ages: 9 - 14 yrs.
Producer: ePals Media
Newsstand Price: $4.95
Subscription Price: $33.95 / 9 Issues

Odyssey promotes itself as the science magazine for children, a refreshingly accurate description. This publication has an intuitive knack for connecting kids in all things scientific at a totally kid level of fascination, intrigue and awe. It's like yanking the table cloth out from under entire place settings of real-life science without toppling a thing, and that's a darn good trick that'll get kids' attention issue after issue. And if a few preconceptions actually topple, hey, that's science.

Consider the November/December issue of Odyssey. The cover story asks "Does E.T. Exist?" Also worthy of a cover line is the feature "Spectator Sport: Searching for Aliens." But these are not your parents' National Enquirer headlines. Young inquiring minds want to know the facts, and Odyssey delivers by investigating some of the edgiest and most compelling scientific x-factors of our time without straying into the pitfalls of pop science.

The stories-including interviews with scientists, profiles, travel pieces, controversial features, historic items and short fiction-are well-researched and well-written without talking down to readers or relying on whacky cartoon graphics like so many kids magazines.

Some of the stories are just so simple and so wonderfully relevant to everyday life, like the piece on why dogs "shake it off," or why you shouldn't pet an armadillo (can you say "leprosy"?), or "The Plus Side of Pus." And then there are the truly scientific takes, such as the piece on "Who Invented Calculus" that focuses on a historic feud, or the laundry list of Edison and Tesla inventions that changed the world.

And it's not all theoretical or historical information. Each issue contains activities for applying science hands-on. Want to make Silly Putty? Or perhaps create your own mirage? Let the magazine help. Odyssey is also loaded with great scientific stories that Leonardo Da Vinci would've devoured when he was 12. The magazine is appropriate for pre-high school grades, and for kids who love science as well as those who haven't yet made up their minds about science.

Don Oldenburg   ©2012 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.

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