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

National Geographic Kids

National Geographic Kids

Spring 2017 Magazines
Ages: 6 - 14 yrs.
Newsstand Price: $4.99
Subscription Price: $15.00 / 10 Issues
p>National Geographic Kids is a nature-themed variety magazine that offers articles and activities on a wide range of topics. Each issue has a couple of informative feature articles about animals or travel, but also several brief spreads with miscellaneous facts grouped by headings like "Weird but True" and "Guinness World Records." A section with puzzles and games-fill-in the blank puzzles, photographic guessing games, and mazes-ends each issue. Some issues follow a theme, such as animal love (for February) or National Parks. These themes structure the main articles in creative ways; the Valentine's Day issue, for example, contains photographic essay on chocolate imitations of real-life monuments and buildings, and the National Parks issue contains an interactive flow chart showing kids which parks might match their interests.

The central articles in National Geographic Kids are interesting and substantive, and the photography guessing games and word scrambles are well designed for the target age range. The more miscellaneous introductory feature columns are appealing in concept, as elementary school students enjoy collecting little factoids. Their layout, however, is overwhelmingly busy, and the information bites are designed so as to resemble a collection of Facebook gifs. Often, the introductory pages offer random teasers of material merely to serve as advertisements for more in-depth National Geographic children's books on specific topics and not to provide stand-alone articles in the magazine. Even the central feature articles could incorporate more friendly visual design, with larger print for the main article text and correspondingly smaller font for the screaming headlines. Nevertheless, National Geographic Kids offers a variety of appealing material for children with a range of interests and reading levels.

Naomi Lesley   ©2017 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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