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

Boys' Life magazine

Boys' Life magazine

Spring 2014 Magazines
Ages: 7 - 17 yrs.
Newsstand Price: $3.95
Subscription Price: $24.00 / 12 Issues

The slogan of Boys' Life Magazine is "For All Boys." Although largely designed for and most relevant to Boy Scouts, this time-proven publication of the Boy Scouts of America undoubtedly does have content of interest to many boys. Unfortunately, the editors seem unsure how to balance the magazine's double duty appeal. In short, Boys' Life Magazine is primarily a publication for Boy Scouts. But it also wants to serve as recruiting magazine that appeals to boys who aren't Boy Scouts.

In a recent issue, for instance, one feature examines the hourly happenings at ESPN Sports Center, a generic look at tornadoes, and pages on how to make Fathers' Day gifts, but shuffles in stories about Boy Scouts springing into action during Hurricane Sandy, a Boy Scout project building a food dehydrator, and a Smart Guys column on "How's Your Scout IQ?"

The entire backside of the magazine is Scout-related comic strips, including "Scouts in Action: (true stories of heroic Scouts). The long-running Pee Wee Harris scouting comic strip, and various scouting Workshop how-to's. Video gaming always seems to elbow into these pages and so does advertising—from Backyard Safari Outfitters and Camping Maxx to National Geographic and Pok√©mon.

All in all, Boys' Life Magazine offers age appropriate content to a general reading audience of present or future Boy Scouts of America.

Don Oldenburg   ©2014 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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