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

Kayak: Canada's History Magazine for Kids

Kayak: Canada's History Magazine for Kids

Spring 2012 Magazines
Ages: 7 - 12 yrs.
Newsstand Price: $4.50
Subscription Price: $14.95 / 4 Issues

Many U.S. youngsters might be surprised to learn that Canada has a history, much less a history magazine for kids. In fact, it has both. And both are pretty interesting, even for those of us south of that border.

This magazine's format is quite small by magazine standards, just a little bigger than "digest" size at 6 ¼ by 9 ½ inches. That may be good for smaller hands eager to finger through its 34 pages of features, short stories, games and puzzles.

Kayak's size and cartoon covers, along with much of the artwork inside, give it a comic book feel. Most of the visual elements in the magazine depict cartoonish characters and scenes (think the Dudley Do-Right and Archie schools of illustration, not super heroes), though the editors do mix in photographic elements. Arguably, all of this is designed to attract a cartoon-saturated demographic to learn a bit of history.

And there is plenty of history inside. Each issue has a theme within the context of Canadian history. The first 2011 issue, for instance, focused on treasure-hunting tales, including stories of the gold craze in the Klondike, dinosaur digging in Alberta, and the unsolved Oak Island "money pit" mystery. All are compelling and easily digestible reads, broken into short topical segments so kids never find themselves dazed by long stories.

Other recent themes targeted historical locations in Canada where history comes alive (such as circa 1744 Fortress of Louisbourg on Cape Breton Island and famed Bonanza Creek in Dawson) to famous Canadian "loudmouths" (early 20th century women's and children's rights advocate Emily Murphy and hockey legend "Terrible Ted" Lindsay, among them). Mixed in are delightful and often humorous short takes on everything from historic Canadian coins and con artists to cowboys and the Klondike. Kid's will also find jokes, "Find It" picture spreads, mazes, short fiction (with word balloons), trivia and word puzzles.

Kayak's only advertising, other than self promotion, appears to be limited to its back cover and inside front cover, though all ads are tasteful and relevant to its readership.

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.

Look for this product at:
Canada's National History Society

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