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

National Geographic Little Kids

National Geographic Little Kids

Spring 2015 Magazines
Ages: 3 - 6 yrs.
Newsstand Price: $3.99
Subscription Price: $17.95 / 6 Issues

This National Geographic adaptation for young readers provides an appealing mixture of animal photography, nature trivia, and learning games. Each issue features a cover story about a particular animal, describing a few key facts and following up with a look-and-find game or a maze featuring that animal; in general, each issue contains at least one or two additional animal stories. A naming activity in the beginning of each issue presents children with a page of objects or animals revolving around a common theme-things with stripes, or things one finds at the beach, for instance. The name of each object is printed below the photo, with the first word missing, so that children can begin to practice sight words and letter sounds using easily identifiable words and pictures. Sorting objects and identifying differences between two nature-themed photos also appear regularly as activities. The nature trivia is well written for pre-school children. Facts are well chosen, brief, and to the point, and animal sizes and weights are not written in inches or tons, but in comparative terms that young readers can understand (hippos, for example, weigh as much as 150 five-year-old children, and Tyrannosaurus Rex teeth are as long as bananas). National Geographic Little Kids tends to focus on animals that American children are unlikely to find in their backyards, which is to be expected of a National Geographic publication; it is geared more toward teaching children about the excitements of nature photography in faraway places and less toward encouraging them to explore their own communities. What it does, however, it does very well, and young readers and parents will enjoy learning about these beautifully photographed animals together.

Naomi Lesley   ©2015 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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