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

Ranger Rick Jr.

Ranger Rick Jr.

Spring 2015 Magazines
Ages: 4 - 7 yrs.
Newsstand Price: $3.99
Subscription Price: $19.95 / 10 Issues

For new readers who love animals and the outdoors, Ranger Rick Jr. offers a mix of animal-themed stories, nonfiction, and literacy activities that are age-appropriate and packed with appealing visuals. Each issue begins with a feature called "That's Wild," which presents photos of various animals, each captioned with an entertaining or unexpected fact. A cover story for each issue reviews a single animal (or class of animals, such as vertebrates) in more substantive detail, using accessible language and sentence structure for emerging readers. Each issue also contains one or two puzzles and games, which vary from month to month, and might include seek-and-find pictures, matching games, categorization, or instructions for drawing the animal of the month. Fiction features include a monthly story featuring Bonnie and Chester, which replaces a few words in each sentence with pictures to help children "read" along, and a closing story relating the humorous adventures of Ricky and his animal friends. A one-page "Green Time" feature encourages children to spend time outdoors, but its one-sentence instructional format is almost too brief. Similarly, the craft ideas on the back page are creative and interesting, but hidden by the formatting; more importantly, they often require the parent to go online to download and print off patterns, thus incorporating an extra step that make the crafts less likely to actually get done (at least in our house). These are relatively minor issues, however. For young readers who just want good, interesting, and varied reading about animals (both the wild kind and the fictional anthropomorphic kind), Ranger Rick Jr. will provide plenty of wonderful fun at a very affordable price.

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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National Wildlife Federation

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