Ranger Rick Jr.Spring 2016 Magazines
Ranger Rick's publication for beginning readers, Ranger Rick Jr., offers nature-themed stories, photographs, and puzzles for children not yet ready for Ranger Rick. Each issue features at least two nonfiction pieces about a particular animal. Often, these are seasonally appropriate; the February Valentine's Day issue, for example, gave an overview of how various animals express affection, and April's issue highlighted butterflies and bird calls. The magazine opens with an animal photograph, captioned with a single piece of interesting information that directs children to notice a shape or a particular feature of the animal; this is followed by an animal trivia section. Each issue includes a seasonal story about Ricky and his friends, which brings up some nature-related problem children might wonder about; one story, for example, features Ricky and his friends chasing a rainbow and finding that they are unable to reach it. A few features in each issue invite reader participation, such as search-and-find puzzles and a monthly short story that intersperses words and pictures so that beginning readers can "help" an adult to read out loud. Each issue also contains a pull-out poster of an animal.
Ranger Rick Jr. is beautifully adapted to its target age range. The topics are well chosen, and will be interesting to both children and their adult helpers; April's section on bird calls, for example, gives children and adults something to listen for and to talk about together during springtime walks and playtime. The stories and puzzles are well crafted for beginning readers, and the photographs and illustrations are beautiful and helpfully captioned. The low subscription price and high quality of Ranger Rick Jr. makes this periodical an excellent choice for families, schools, or libraries.