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

Boys' Life magazine

Boys' Life magazine

Spring 2017 Magazines
Ages: 6 - 17 yrs.
Newsstand Price: $3.95
Subscription Price: $24.00 / 12 Issues

No doubt about it, Boy's Life Magazine is the official publication of the Boy Scouts of America. Bu that's not to say that much of its content isn't perfectly suited to kids who aren't Scouts.

But while this entertaining, educational, busily-designed, 52-64-page publication provides plenty of compelling reading, including stories from the news, sports, history, nature, science and comics, and even encourages readers to explore their world beyond its pages, each issue contains some content that is unmistakably dedicated to its Scouting mission.

One recent issue includes a story about LEGO Ninjago collecting; a feature on identifying biting and stinging insects; a fun look at U.S. eating contests; and a story on harbor pilots. Its departments included a workshop guide to building backyard sprinkler systems and a review of new videogames. Meanwhile, the issue also mixes in features on Scouting's maritime program; Scouts visiting the White House; tips for Scouting camping skills; and true stories about Scouts' heroics in saving a boy from drowning and assisting a traffic accident victim.

In other issues, generic features ranged from aircraft fire fighter training and America's least-visited National Parks, to Scout-specific tales about Scouts traversing glaciers and trekking a Kentucky mountain.

Some of the magazine's longtime cartoons, such as The Wacky Adventures of Pedro and Pee Wee Harris, are insipid and uninspiring; others departments are borderline advertorials pushing all sorts of Scout-relevant products.

Also, Boys' Life magazine does have advertisements-from house ads for an upcoming National Scouting Jamboree and the Boys' Life Warehouse Sale, to commercial ads for Hargrave Military Academy and Tandy Leather products.

If you are a Boy Scout, this magazine, or its online version, is a must. "Just part of Scouting," as they say.

Don Oldenburg   ©2017 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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