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



Spring 2012 Magazines
Ages: 9 - 14 yrs.
Publisher: ePals Media
Newsstand Price: $6.95
Subscription Price: $33.95 / 9 Issues

Cricket has become a classic title in children's periodicals; as the letters to each issue's "Letterbox" feature demonstrate, many parents who read Cricket faithfully as children now subscribe to the magazine for their own children. I remember receiving Cricket myself, and I was pleasantly reminded of why I enjoyed reading it so much as a ten-year-old. Like the other periodicals in the Carus Cricket series, it is beautifully made and well written for the target age group, with beautiful artwork and many opportunities for young readers to contribute their own work. The stories are varied and high-interest, with pieces by acclaimed authors like Shaun Tan and Francisco Jimenez as well as by up-and-coming writers for young people. There is a nice variety of short pieces, poems, and longer serial stories that cater to readers at varying levels. Furthermore, Cricket includes some beloved non-literary features. In every issue, there is a recipe or craft activity, a selection of children's letters, and a reflection on some issue of etymology or cultural history in "Old Cricket Says" (think William Safire for middle-grade readers). Many of the written pieces in Cricket are openly didactic or educational. This quality can be a positive or a negative, depending on one's point of view. Reading Cricket now, I found myself wishing to be taught slightly less (or at least to be trusted to infer my own lessons slightly more), but children still find the pedagogical stories quite interesting. Regardless of that small quibble, I heartily recommend Cricket for middle-grade readers.

Naomi Lesley   ©2012 Parents' Choice
Naomi Lesley taught middle and high school English for six years. She is currently in a doctoral program at the George Washington University, focusing on American young adult literature.

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