Magazines for Kids & Parents

Archived Q&A and Reviews



Magazines with people of color for school collages

Oct 2006

I am a teacher in a very diverse school and I use lots of magazines as raw materials for collages and pictures for writing prompts. The problem is all the magazines and catalogs I have almost exclusively picture white people, so I am looking for magazines that picture people of color. I bought a couple of Esquire magazines and a People in Spanish, but the ads and much of the content of these were way ''too much'' for 3rd/ 4th graders. Too much sexual content and alcohol/cigarette advertising. I'm looking for an inocuous magazine with a minimum of ''adult'' content! Please help! I would love suggestions. Thanks! Desperately Seeking Diversity

Oprah's magazine always features a lot of racial minorities, usually is a very positive light. You might also look at Sports Illustrated for Kids. Anon

African American magazines with generally positive and uplifing content- ''Ebony'' ''Black Enterprise'' and ''Essence.'' All of them are usually available in most local bookstores and magazine stores. Diane

You could try Essence, Ebony, Black Enterprise or Jet magazines for African-Americans. Sharlene

Black/multicultural magazines that might be appropriate for the classroom = Ebony, Essence, Black Enterprise, Oprah, There are tons of HipHop magazines which are extremely popular, but which might prove inapproariate for the younger ones. Nevertheless, you may want to check out . . . Vibe, Source, XXL, Sister-to-Sister Don't know of any specifically targeted to black and hispanic kids. anon

Essence Magazine and Ebony Magazine would be the best options, most probably: They have few if any erotic photos, and both have lots of attractive ''family'' scenes and healthy advertisements. On the other hand, the magazines with the most diverse content and readership (black, Asian, Latino, etc.) are usually music magazines: Vibe (especially), XXL, Source, Sister-to-Sister, etc. The photos in these mags can sometimes be a bit sexually suggestive, though. You'd have to leaf through a few of them and make your own judgment. Good Luck. Antoinette

Someone else will probably mention this, but can you track down old National Geographics? So many different kinds of people from all over the world living their lives! Hilary

Try ''O: The Oprah Magazine.'' You'll find photos of diverse folks, and it's a good read too. Auntie M

Try Mothering magazine. They are making an effort to include more people of color. Don't know if they've succeeded. I haven't seen it in a few years. good luck

Here are a couple of magazines that have some people of color with positive images are, Essence, O, & Jet. Good luck! Shelly

Dear Magazine Challenged,
There are some good magazines depicting people of color in very positive ways out there. For African American images, I would try Ebony, Black Enterprise, Latina, Hispanic and Essence. These are pretty common and can be found at Barnes and Noble. Also try DeLaur's Smoke Shop on Broadway (between 13th and 14th) in downtown Oakland. It has a very diverse collection of magazines -- maybe more than Barnes and Noble!

You might also try Marcus Books in Oakland. It's a African American book store with some magazines. Also Shades of Sienna at 582 Grand in Oakland (near Grand Lake Theatre)is a childrenof color focused bookstore

I'd also check out the magazine Teaching Tolerance. It's published by the Southern Poverty Law Center and can be subscribed to via the web at It has great positive images of people of color and also suggests activities for kids and teens related to the articles. It's a great magazine.

Hope that's helpful A fellow educator who loves magazines

Good-quality children's magazine for 5-year-old

Sept 2006

My mother wants to send my son a monthly magazine, so he can have the joy of receiving reading material in the mail. My son is 5, but loves to have things read to him from chapter books (i.e. he does not need the pictures anymore to understand the story); however, he does like to look at pictures by himself. His grandmother had started with the National Geographic children's magazine, which we assumed would be good due to the excellent quality of the adults' magaine. After receiving the first couple of issues, we have been appalled. Every other page is an advertisement, and there are very few actual articles; mostly it's packed with little ''sound bite'' type bits of information. My son has been quite uninterested in it, both for looking at, and for having it read to him. So, what I am hoping is that someone can recommend something better to me. I know magazines have ads, but is there a magazine for younger children out there with fewer of them (or at least with them concentrated at the end of articles) -- and more importantly, with interesting articles or stories? It can be nature, science, or literary-oriented. It just has to be good quality. Karen

We have enjoyed the children's literary magazines published by Cricket ( For pre-readers there is Babybug; for early readers there is Ladybug; then Spider; then Cricket. Enjoy! Stephanie

I highly recommend the Cricket family of magazines - we get BabyBug for my 18 month old, and love it. they have like 20 different magazines, all educational and thematic, and I'm sure you could find one that your son was into. I don't believe they have any advertising in any of their magazines. Jennifer

Chirp is a good magazine for children ages 3-6. I think children 7-8 would like it as well. I like to read it myself. We recently subscribed to Nat Geographic for Kids as well, and have been disappointed with it.

Try Cricket, a children's literary magazine with stories and poems. I read it as a child, 25 years ago, and loved it. I can't wait until my son is old enough for it, he's 17 months, so it will be a while! I do have a stack of them I saved, and a stack of children's history magazines if you want them, free. If so email me. Elizabeth

I highly recommend subscribing to Your Big Backyard, a monthly magazine for 4- to 7-year-olds published by the National Wildlife Federation. My 4-year-old loves it so much that we keep and reread old issues. I believe you can subscribe online at It's a nature/ science magazine with stories and articles, games, and NO ads Madeline Johnson

Check out the offerings at -- they have both science-oriented and literature-oriented magazines for children of all ages. We've been subscribers to Babybug and then Ladybug for years; my 5-year-old son really enjoys Ladybug (for ages 2- 6) and, when our current subscription expires, will ''graduate'' to Spider (ages 6-9). There are NO ads in these magazines -- except for bind-in cards advertising the publisher's other magazines. The subscription price is a bit high, but well worth it...especially considering there are NO ads, and the quality of the magazine is excellent.

We also subscribed for a while to Your Big Backyard, which is published by the National Wildlife Foundation -- they also have Ranger Rick for older kids and Wild Animal Baby for younger ones. Also no advertising. A bit less expensive to subscribe. If your kid is into animals, an excellent choice -- our son is of a more mechanical bent so didn't like it quite as much as he does the ''general interest'' stories in Ladybug. But it is a good quality magazine -- and no ads!

Finally, there is Highlights -- to which I subscribed as a child and remember very fondly. We haven't tried it for our kids yet because -- although they do have some features for pre-readers -- more of it is aimed at grade schoolers, and I don't recall whether they have any advertising or not. But an excellent magazine, and worth keeping in mind especially if your son is beginning to read. Hope that helps! Holly

The ''Cricket'' family of magazines is excellent -- they have one for every age Anon

I agree that all the ads in kids' magazines are appalling. Carus Publishing has great kids' magazine, ad-free. Specifically for a 5 yo are Ladybug and Click. If you find these are too young, you can change mid-subscription. They cost a little more, but they're high-qualilty. Most Berkeley libraries have them in the children's periodical sections if you want to take a look first. Katie

I grew up with a wonderful children\x92s literature and art magazine called Cricket, which is aimed at ages 9-14. They have since expanded their selection based upon your child's age; Babybug 6mos-2years, Ladybug 2-6years, Spider 6-9years, Cricket and Cicada 14 and up. Each edition is filled with stories and art work by some of the finest writers and artist currently producing. Contributing artists to Cricket have included Trina Shart Hyman, winner of the Caldecott Medal for Saint George and the Dragon, and Brett Helquist, artist for the Lemony Snicket series. The writing is just as wonderful and the whole package is created to spark a child's imagination. The website you will want to look at is Carus Publishing also offers a series of science and discovery magazines for children starting at age 3, a series of history and culture magazines starting at age 7 and some wonderful books. Enjoy! Shay

Try Ladybug or Click for ages 3-6. No advertisements. Age appropriate material, lots of illustrations. They also publish Spider, Cricket, and other children's magazines for older children. I used to read Cricket long ago and my son age 4 enjoys Ladybug (stories) and Click (includes science and nature material) Joanne

Check out ''Ladybug'' magazine, and other magazines from the same publisher, at My mother got my son a subscription to ''Babybug'' as an infant, and to ''Ladybug'' since his second birthday -- he was a bit young for it then but has grown into it since. There are absolutely no advertisements at all, except for a few of those tear-out cards (which I always tear out and discard). There are several stories, poems and cartoons per issue, including a few which feature the same characters each month. My son absolutely loves this magazine -- I end up reading each issue to him several times over. The same publishers have a magazine called ''Click'', geared to 3-7 year olds, which has a natural science theme (I may get a subscription to this one too). I definitely recommend them! Diane

I really like the Cricket magazines, my 3.5 year old gets Ladybug. There's a nice variety of shorter and longer stories, poetry, cartoons, activities and it's beautifully illustrated. Plus: NO advertisments! Ladybug Fan

I know what you mean about the National Geographics, Kids magazine. It's quite a surprise to see such a Saturday morning cartoon magazine coming out of such a reputable organization. We get it, and while some of it makes my son laugh (he likes the sport comics alot), it's not a real crowd pleaser at our house. My five-year-old son's hands down favorite magazine is Ranger Rick, put out by the National Wildlife Federation. It's got no ads, and the focus is on animals and the environment. We read every issue cover to cover, and sometimes twice. Ranger Rick is for kids age 7 and up, but I find my son really appreciates the level of information. NWF also has a magazine for 3 to 7-y-o's called Your Big Back Yard. We still get that one too, and my son still loves it, though not as much as Ranger Rick. We also get Click and Ladybug from Carus Publishing Again, high quality, no ads. My son prefers Click, because it's more science and real world based while I like Ladybug which is more dreamy and story based. Carus also has magazines for different age groups, and we are looking forward to growing with them. Carolyn

I faced a similar dilemna until I discovered two magazines that are absolutely terrific: Ladybug and Spider. My son, who is four, adores them both. We save all the old issues and reread them regularly.

Both magazines are published by the same company, Cricket Magazines (, and contain top quality stories and illustrations from well-known children's artists. Best of all-- there's NO advertising. They are readily available---I found them at our local newstand in Noe Valley (SF). (Actually, try the library---they probably subscribe). Anna

Check out the magazines at Carus Publishing (Spider, Cricket, etc.). They have many others, and I think they are wonderful! For older readers, I first read here about Moo Cow Fan Club, and that has proved to be a wonderful magazine as well. Claire

I haven't read it myself, but you may like Stone Soup, ''the literary magazine by children'' ( which Ms Magazine has called ''the New Yorker of the 8-13 set.'' Also, back in the 1980s when I was little, I used to subscribe to a wonderful children's literary magazine called Cricket. I don't know if it still exists, but if it does, it might be more age-appropriate for your 5 year old. Julie

My son receives Highlights for Children and loves it. There are no ads, but lots of nice stories and other interesting things for kids. Yvonne

''Your Big Backyard'' is for children 3-7 and is published by the National Wildlife Federation (also publishes ''Wild Animal Baby'' for kids 1-4 and ''Ranger Rick'' for kids 7 and up). My nephews, 3 and 5, have enjoyed it immensely for the past year, and I just subscribed for my son. It regularly features animals (a centerfold poster in each issue!), articles, games, science and art projects, and recipes that are fun and hands-on and very accessible for children in this age range. My sister reports that there are very few/possibly no ads! Here's the site: Alison

Muse or Ranger Rick. My son is 9 now, and has been getting both for a few years. Both are monthly highlights for him. I think Muse may come in a younger version as well. Kean

Check out Ladybug magazine. They first started publishing when my kids were about 4. Don't know about the currrent quality, but they were top knotch back then (my kids are in college now). If you Google ''Ladybug'' you'll be guided to the right site. They were literature- oriented, with wonderful illustrations, often by famous children's book illustrators. Every month's issue would contain a poem, a short story, an episode (tbc), a graphic-arts (comic book style) one page story, etc. Something for everyone. It was a very traditional format-----all the illustrations, too----no science fiction, monster, smarty-pants humor, etc. My kids didn't like Highlights----only the Look for the Pictures page. My kids also liked Zoobooks and Ranger Rick magazines----don't know if they're still around. They were good quality natural science/ environment/animals magazines. Neither Ranger Rick, Zoobooks, or Ladybug contained ads. Ranger Rick occasionally mentioned the work of its parent organization, The Wildlife Fund, as it pertained to specific articles. That's about it. Good luck. Older mom

I highly recommend Kids Discover I got a subscription for my nephew and he LOVED it. No ads and each issue is focused on some theme like ''OCEANS'' OR ''FLIGHT'' It's more expensive and it might only be 10 issues, but totally worth it. anon

''Your Big Backyard'' Magazine from the National Wildlife Federation is wonderful (see and click on ''magazines'' tab). It's for 3-7 year olds and is the followup magazine to ''Wild Animal Baby'' which is also fun for younger kids. Each issue is filled with great nature photos, essays, games and NO advertising. It comes once a month (roughly) which gives my daugther and I enough time to really enjoy each issue before another comes. We love it! Rita

LadyBug and Spider Magazines are fantastic. Best of all there are no advertisements. Susan

We had the same reaction to the National Geographic kids magazine. We have liked the series of magazines put out by Cricket Publishing. They do not have advertisements and they have a range of publications for different age groups and interests. You can get information on their website. Just look for Cricket Publishing. likes no ads

My 4.5 year old son loves Your Big Backyard (from natl wildlife federation) and Highlights. Both are easily googled. Paula

My son recieves My Big Backyard, from the National Wildlife Federation. 1-800-611-1599, $20 year 12 issues. We enjoy it. It is only about 30 pages, and the pictures are great. Not a lot of reading content but it seems age appropriate and with little or no ads. In each issue their is a craft, poster picture, recipe, games and a ''cut out'' make your own book. Big Backyard fan

Not all kids' magazines have ads. Check out for great kid magazines for all ages with no ads. And the content is great, too. Ruth

My 6 and 3 year olds (especially my older boy) adore Click: No ads, great mix of facts and fiction, fun themes and activities. It isn't cheap, but the lack of ads makes it well worth it. They have it at the Berkeley Public Library if you want a preview... as well as other good kids magazines. I think Ladybug is for slightly older kids, we haven't tried it yet -Charis

Maybe one of the Carus Publishing magazines will suit you. Their classic is ''Cricket'', it's probably for a bit older children, but ''Ask'' or ''Click'' might be a good idea. Pegasus Books in Berkeley carries some of them, you can take a look there; or to browse their entire collection: anon

I get Highlights magazine subscriptions as Christmas presents for several kids in my family and they all like it. sounds like it would be perfect for your child. highlights fan

My kids love Ladybug and Click magazines -- and they're ad-free. Ladybug is literary: beautifully illustrated stories and poems. Click is science-based. You can find them at Elisa

My daughter enjoys Ladybug and Click, both by the publisher of Cricket but for slightly younger children. Neither magazine has ads. She also likes Your Big Backyard put out by the National Wildlife Federation. Also no ads. Happy reading! Lisa

We love ''Your Big Backyard'', published by the World Wildlife Federation. There is one longish story in each magazine, but mostly it is short articles and ''to do'' pages (e.g., mazes) with lots of fantastic pictures and blurbs about all kids of animals. I learn things too! And there is no advertising. anon

Science Magazine for Kids

Feb 2005

In November or December, on one of NPR's radio talk-show programs, I heard a recommendation for an introductory science magazine for young kids. I didn't write down the name and a Google/NPR search hasn't come up with anything. Any recommendations or suggestions? Thanks.

I'm not sure what you want in a science magazine or how young the child (or children) are, but my son gets a magazine called ''Click''. I think it's from the Smithstonian, and they have a variety of magazines for children of different ages. Click is probably appropriate for 4 to 8 year olds. My son and I both love it. Each issue focuses on a different topic. Many, but not all, are related to nature and the environment. Topics have included the sea, the jungle, eyesight in animals, how books are made, camouflage, seasons, etc. There are also the children's magazines put out by National Geographic (Your Big Backyard for the very, very young and Ranger Rick for slightly older.) Nanu

I didn't hear the radio program you refer to, but I can HIGHLY recommend the magazine ''Muse'', which is published by the Smithsonian in partnership with Carus, the publishers of Ladybug/Spider/Cricket magazines. My 12 year old daughter has been devouring every issue since she was 9, and is constantly surprising me by the depth of her knowledge of science and history, gleaned from ''Muse''. There are also science/exploration magazines by the same publishers for younger readers - ''Click'' is for ages 3-7 and ''Ask'' for 7 to 10. I don't know these as well since we found ''Muse'' when my daughter was older. You can get a copy at the Berkeley Public Library if you want to get a feel for them - check out a back issue on a topic of interest to your child. ''Muse'' is engaging and well-written, and I believe it is part of what has helped to sustain my daughter's continued interest in science. =Natasha

When I was a kid I LOVED Ranger Rick magazine. Now I am a scientist. I checked amazon, it still exists! Spikes' mom

Not sure what the magazine was that you heard about, but my son, the science buff (11-y-o now) has loved Kids' Discover for several years and recently also started reading & enjoying Oddysey. Good luck! Susan

This is not exactly what you asked, but I would NOT recommend National Geographic Kids magazine. My daughter got a subscription for Christmas last year and while she very much enjoyed getting a magazine in the mail every month, I was pretty disturbed by the amount of advertising that masqueraded as text. There were ''articles'' on the new Harry Potter movie, new electronic products and so on -- in a magazine allegedly about nature. If your child is about 4-7 y.o. Your Big Backyard really is about nature, mostly animals, and doesn't have advertising. D.

Take a look at the offerings here:

They publish a number of science magazines for various age groups. I have personal experience only with the ''literary'' magazines but have always heard only good things about everything this company publishes. Holly

National Geographic puts out a version for kids that looked good. There's also a magazine called ''Junior Rick/Ranger Rick'' or something like that that is supposed to be good. Ellen

Kids' magazine recommendations for gifts

Dec 2004

I was thinking of giving magazine subscriptions to some of the cousins for Christmas gifts. They range in age from 6 to 17, right up the ladder. The magazines don't have to be strictly educational, just something they would actually enjoy reading. Any recommnendations? Dawn

Try Moo Cow Fan Club Magazine. Don't let the strange title throw you; this is a FABULOUS children's magazine! There are no advertisements and plenty of really interesting and engaging stories and drawings. My children (ages 8 and 10) love this magazine and my niece and nephew (ages 11 and almost-15) also enjoy reading it when they're visting. Check out their website: - Sharon

I got my daughter (almost 8) a Highlights for Kids subscription two years ago (I had one when I was a kid, too), and she gobbles it up every month - reads the stories, does the puzzles, etc. It's wholesome and educational without being stuffy, and there are no ads (unlike NatGeo for Kids, which is one big ad for the Cartoon Channel.)

She also loves Zoobooks (check out, a monthly glossy covering one neato animal a month, and she loved My Big Backyard when she was younger. I am looking into getting her American Girl when she's a smidge older.

I don't know too much about the older kids, maybe a subscription to Popular Science, if they're into that? Good luck - Magazine subscriptions make great gifts. My dad and I give each other gift subscriptions every year. Julie

I really like the Carus Publishing Group. They publish Cricket, Spider, etc. but also many less well known magazines that cover an amazing array of topics and age groups. Their web site is We get Faces, Appleseeds, and ASK, all of which my 8 year old daughter enjoys. She also likes American Girl, and I think it seems like a quality publication as well. Claire

You can't go wrong with any product from the Ladybug magazine group. They have them for all ages. Great reading and they're wholesome without being ''educational.'' Jennifer

We've used Highlights for younger son still likes to do the ''find the hidden things in the picture'' activity. They have stories, activities, ethical issues, stories about various cultures, holidays, etc. Also ZooBooks puts out a Mazazine for the nature-interested kid. We used to get Ranger Rick which also has a line of good mags as kids get older. Ladybug, Sports Illustrated has a kids issue as well as a teen issue. My 13 year old now gets Mad Magazine, and an Anime magazine. If you check on line you could probably find dozens of kid mags. Good luck....great idea anon

Here are two suggestions: has subscriptions for a variety of ages National Wildlife Organization ( has a nice series of magazines like Wild Baby Animal (1-3), Your Big Back Yard (4-7), Ranger Rick (7+) Linnea

The National Wildlife Federation (NWF), has magazines that are nature based and full of activities and stories, poems and facts. We've been getting them since my child was a baby. Your Big Backyard, ages 3-6 Ranger Rick for 7-13. If those don't appeal to you, Cricket publishing has several literary, art and science based magazines. Also, Smithsonian and National Geographic both have youth versions. They all have websites. It's a gift that lasts a year. We love it. linee

We recently gave Popular Science to an 11 year old boy. It was a big hit. anne

My 9-year-old daughter (3rd grade) likes Kids Discover magazine, which she has been getting for about 2 years. She really reads them this year, but enjoyed looking at the pictures and reading some of it in 2nd grade. It was too much for her as a first grader. Kids Discover is not just about science, each magazine features one topic - once it was ''Money'' - that was a big hit, surprisingly! Highlights, an old standard in waiting rooms, is generally popular with elementary school kids nancyf

you might check out New Moon magazine for any girls 9-13 on your list-- lots of the content is written by girls themselves and is very empowering and enjoyable. --eowyn

My 8yo son really enjoys Ranger Rick. Its focus is on animals. Every month it has stories about really neat animals, plus puzzles and riddles. You can find it online at Ruth

I don't have kids that age, but I remember really enjoying National Geographic Kids as a child - it's geared for ages 8-14, but I think we probably started when I was 5 or 6. It's 10 issues (1 year) for $20. It's nice because it covers a lot of different topics - animals, science, faraway places, crafts, etc., often tied to movies or other current stuff (but not in a commercial way, just stuff kids are into). More info at Jeni

Check out the multitude of offerings for that age group -- fiction and non-fiction -- at I'm more familiar with the magazines they publish for younger kids (my son LOVES his Ladybug), but I've never heard a bad review of any of them. Holly

Of course, it depends a little on their interests but here are a few ideas (I prefer magazines for kids with no -or very little - advertising). Google any of these titles for more information.

New Moon (my absolute favorite for girls age 8-13. Mostly by girls, but very professionally done; celebrates the specialness of every girl) American Girl (girls, age 9-12) Spider (mostly stories, ages 6-10) Click (science/exploration, ages 4-9) Muse (by the Smithsonian; science/history/art age 9 and up) National Geographic Ranger Rick (nature, ages 3-9) Mental Floss (for both boys and girls at the older end of your age-range, as well as adults; does have advertising, but none for tobacco or alcohol) Kids Discover (age 6-12 and up; lots of interesting information on all kinds of things).

Some I do not like (some are just non-stop ads for themselves): Nickelodeon; Nintendo Magazine; Girls Life (GL) R.K.

For kids 8 to 13 I recommend Stone Soup, which is a creative writing mag for kids based out of Santa Cruz. The quality of the writing is superb and it's all written by kids, so it's very inspirational. Nicole

Cricket and all the other Carus Publishing magazines. Spider, Cricket, and Cicada have short stories, and other magazines like Muse and Dig are nonfiction. Jennifer N.

Do you like Ladybug Magazine?

Jan 2003

I would like to know if anyone knows about Ladybug magazine for children ages 2 to 6. It is published by I am interested to know what it is like and if folks find it ggod for their children. I am particularly interested to know about its content in terms of advertising of products and how it deals with gender issues. We currently subscribe to Baby Animals from an environmental organization and really like it. Thanks for any info you can provide. Siana

The Ladybug/Babybug/Spider monthly publications are absolutely wonderful. There are no advertisements. They are very sensitive to ethnic and gender issues (in fact, my son gets more diversity exposure in these books than he does in our neighborhood). My son at 18 months loves Babybug and my niece has gone through the whole series. My mother, who has been a reading and language arts specialist for public schools in southern California since the 1960s and teaches university teacher education courses on early childhood reading, is very supportive of them and always gives them as new baby gift subscriptions to friends and family. [She is also very picky; I remember that she abhored the children's publication ''Highlights'' and as kids my sister and I could only read them in doctors' offices because she refused to bring one of them into her house...]. All the many children she has given subscriptions to Babybug or Ladybug to have really enjoyed them. kb

LadyBug is a terrific magazine, and I recommend it highly. I subscribed for my oldest son and we are re-reading those magazines now, 7 years later with my 2 year old. The issues don't date, so if you can keep them around, you can re-use with younger sibs. We get a full hour of enjoyment out of a Ladybug magazine, including the little craft project. Myriam

We have been getting Ladybug for over a year. I think that it is very nice. No ads at all, and the stories and cartoons are about all kinds of boys and girls. Every magazine has a theme, often about the season, and the poems and stories all fit into the theme. There is often a nice pull out activity page that we enjoy. My daughter is 3 and I would recommend it. Joan

We have subscribed to Babybug and Ladybug. They are both very groovy and hip in terms of gender issues, mixed race families, environmental stuff -- very gentle and loving, with a nice mix of fiction and more factual stuff, as well as poems and songs and craft ideas. There is no advertising, except for Cricket's other mag products. Wendy

We are big fans of the Cricket Magazine group. My toddler's Baby Bug magazine just expired and we are considering the next step up...Ladybug. My older daughter used to subscribe to Ladybug when she was younger and it was very good; she currently subscribes to the Spider magazine in the series. My toddler is in-between Baby Bug and Ladybug now (she's almost 2 1/2) and some of Ladybug stories seem geared for older children (long stories), although it is advertised as being for 2-6 yr. olds. In any case, they are all very high quality magazines. I don't recall any advertising of products in the magazines, just stories and poems with beautiful illustrations. The only downside is the price (about $37 dollars, which seems high to me). I would recommend not only the Ladybug magazine, but the others as well. You can check them out at bookstores, too. I recall that Pegasus/Pendragon on College Ave. has some of the magazines, but I can't recall if it was Ladybug or Spider. Good luck

Hi, They actually sell this magazine along with New Moon at the book store, Pegasus on Solano Avenue and most likely at Cody's on Fourth st. or on Telegraph, all in Berkeley. I have not read Ladybug but just saw it last night! My daughter read New Moon for awhile at age 11 and 1/2 and loved it. Very New Age and responsible. Why don't you go in and look through it? I wonder if Ladybug is a spinoff from New Moon for younger kids? That was what I thought when it caught my eye last night as the cover style seemed similar. Catherine

We've been loyal customers of Cricket magazines since my eldest was born four years ago. Someone got us a subscription to Babybug, and when she turned two, we changed it to Ladybug. I'm impressed with the magazine on several levels. It is beautifully done with lots of different styles of art. They seem to pay special attention to representing families other than middle America; there are lots of people of color, biracial families and on occasion, a gay family. Its a bit pricey, but given there are no ads, its totally worth it. And you get a lot of mileage out of it. I think in terms of gender issues its great. They often have girls doing typically boy things and vice versa. I rarely find myself cringing at reading a story! Hope this helps. Hilary

We love LadyBug magazine. The only advertising is for publication-related products and books, and they are not in the actual issue but in tear-outs. They have good stories that cover fun, diversity and different things that children experience, from moving to new towns to death. They have poetry and beautiful artwork in every issue, and a fun cut-out papercraft or game in the back. We still have 3 mobiles hanging in the livingroom that we made from our magazines. They used to have a parents' section attached to the back with articles by Mr. Rogers, but have replaced this with an online version. I recommend LadyBug! Jeanne

Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. No ads, short stories and poetry, nice repeat features so they start looking for characters over and over. Running themes (water, winter, planting, beds, etc), cultural diversity (a story about Divali, a story about a little boy from Africa who is afraid his American friends won't like his favorite meal at his birthday party (they do), etc. etc.) and gender diversity. Well done, not commercial, works well for a range of ages. My daughter is five, and has loved it since we began subscribing when she was three and a half. They sometimes have it at the library if you'd like to check it out. If they don't have Ladybug, you'll be able to get a feel for it by looking at the older kids version, Cricket. Carrie

We don't get Ladybug, but instead receive the version for under- twos, Babybug. My kid loves it. I have read every issue until they are memorized. There are NO ads in Babybug, and it shows both boys and girls in all kinds of situations. In fact, there is an ongoing story about a non-gender-specific kid named Kim and his/her pet bunny. The author is very careful not to label Kim as either a boy or a girl.

My 16 year old cousin has read her way up the Ladybug ranks, and is now enjoying Cicaida, their magazine for teenagers. I highly recommend these great publications. Catherine

We don't currently subscribe to Ladybug, but my son has enjoyed it in the past. We got babybug for two years and just loved it, but the subscription cost is rather high so we didn't ''move up'' to Ladybug, just read it at our local (Richmond) public library. I can't remember how it deals with gender issues, but as for advertising, the only ads in it are for other magazines in the ''bug'' family and those are low key and easily ignorable. You might see if your local library subscribes -- that way you could see some issues before you decide. I think it's also available in some bookstores. Liz

Sorry I can't offer an opinion about LadyBug magazine, but my 4- yr.-old loves Your Big Backyard published by the National Wildlife Federation - It has great photos of animals, games and information mostly relating to wildlife. R.L.

You might try reading a few issues in the library. All Berkeley branches have a subscription, and you can check out the back issues. They don't carry any advertising, and are very good about presenting a diverse range of people. My toddler likes it okay, but the magazine format tends to make things a little thin for his tastes--just when he finds a story or topic he's interested in, he turns the page and it's over. Because of that, we rely on library issues rather than subscribe. Carolyn

Ladybug magazne is great. There is no advertising. Just stories and poems- usually very good. Check out your local library for a sample. They probably have it. Ellen

My daughter loves getting her Ladybug Magazines in the mail. But I think she liked Babybug even more (thats a stiffer paged simpler version for younger kids). Babybug was one of the first books she regularly requested as soon as she could talk. There is no advertising in Ladybug or Babybug (except those tear out cardboardy pages advertising their own magazines). Both are racially diverse and don't gender stereotype. Each month Ladybug has a 'Molly and Emmet' episode (about a girl and her cat), a cartoon about a set of twins, and story with a black girl and white boy (or vice versa?) who are friends (in the December issue they went to a Kwanza celebration together). There are some poems, a song (which you can hear on the internet) and a couple of longer stories with less pictures. There have occassionally been interactive read along stories that mix pictures in with the words so a non-reading child can help you read. There is also a cut out at the end - usually an art project, but this month it was a calendar. Anyway, as a parent I think they're great. elizabeth

There is no advertising in any of the Cricket publications. As for gender issues, I cannot think of anything I've seen or read in any of their publications that ever made me think ''wait a second...''. They're so good at depicting multi-cultural mixes and genders doing any old thing that it's become ''invisible''. Most libraries have them, so check out a few issues. SL

My 4.5-year-old son has been receiving Ladybug for nearly 2 years now and loves it. There is no advertising in the magazine and I believe they do a great job representing people of all races and gender in very positive ways. You can buy copies at Cody's if you want to check one out for yourself. Sara

Ladybug has no advertisements and uses no commercial characters. There is a parents' portion that often has really nice articles by Mr. Rodgers of the Neighborhood. Sally

Ladybug (and the publisher's other chldren's magazines) has NO ads. It is wonderful (but not cheap). Most libraries should have it so you can look at it. Individual issues are available (and can be browsed through) at Pegasus books (probably other store, too) R.K.

I've only read one of the magazines but I like it a lot! I'm planning to order it. In terms of gender equity, there's a story abt a dad and daughter baking cookies for the mom. There are no ads or product placement. Kristine

My son loves Babybug. (There are plenty of boys pictured in the other 'articles'.) I definitely add my voice to the general approval of these mags. Holly

Toddler Magazines

Jan 1999

As a toddler my daughter was given a gift subscription to Ladybug Magazine. It was really great and she liked it a lot. It's made with heavier paper stock, so doesn't tear easily. The only problem was that it was very pricey which is why I didn't re-subscribe. Let me know if you're interested and I'll get more info for you. I'm sure we still have some old copies lying around. Cathy

There is a series of bug magazines your child can grow up with called Baby Bug, Ladybug, Spider and Cricket to take them from toddlerhood to adolescence. We have subscribed to all but Baby Bug, which wasn't available when my daughter was the age for it. The entire series is great, with quality stories, poems, projects, and educational articles. My complaint about many children's publications is that they are too earnest and not fun. This series is good quality and fun as well. Eleanor

My daughter has a subscription to LadyBug, which is from the Cricket magazine group. They have a Web page: We really enjoy LadyBug, which is for ages 2 and up. They have wonderful illustrations, poems, stories and cut-out activities. There is a parents' section at the end of each issue that has a nice essay by Mr. Rogers of the PBS Television show. I recommend it! Jeanne

Babybug for birth to 3 yrs--publishers say to 2 yrs but my daughter still enjoys it at nearly 3 Ladybug for 2.5 to 6 or so-publishers say from 2 yrs but Babybug is a lot more fun for that age Your Big Back Yard--published by National Wildlife Federation for the preschool set.

Babybug takes such pleasure in language--it is enjoyable for grownups to read. Ladybug and Your Big Backyard both have combinations of poems, stories, articles, projects, and mazes. All 3 include information for parents or caregivers, like tips on how to expand on the articles, information on child emotional development, and easy cheap arts and crafts projects. Sally


We liked babybug and it's followup Ladybug. They are published by the folks who do Cricket magazine. Babybug has almost a boardbook feel to it. We got it when my six year old was a toddler and we now re-read the magazines we got then with our two year old. They have a trial subscription available on the web.

Another one that both kids seem to enjoy is Your Big Backyard which is published by the people who do Ranger Rick. My two year old loves anything with animals, particularly anything with baby animals, and there are almost always a few of these. It's published by the National Wildlife Federation. They have a web site that you can look at to see if your child might like it: Myriam