We’re all about animals at our house. My two young children love to watch for “wildlife” in our backyard. Their most treasured books feature animals as the main characters. And their favorite game consists of following each other around making (very loud) animal sounds–most often a lion.
I knew when we got our first copy of Zootles magazine that it was right up our alley. Published since 2003 for children ages 2 to 6, Zootles’ goal is “to turn a child’s love of animals into a love of books.” As a mom, I couldn’t be any happier with that mission, so we sat down to review our first issue.
My kids loved the photos most of all, but as a parent I appreciated several aspects of Zootles, including:
- Each issue not only highlights an animal (the May/June 2010 issue is all about backyard birds) but it also focuses on a letter and a concept. This time it was the letter “B” and the idea of high and low. I like multi-task learning and used the concept to talk to my kids about birds in our own backyard. “The bird on the ground is low.” “The bird in the tree is high.”
- The photography is great, and I like that they featured common birds. While it’s fun to learn about birds in faraway places that we’ll probably never see, my son was excited to see up-close photos of birds he watches every day like cardinals, bluebirds and robins.
- The Resource Center section is a terrific guide for parents about how to continue the learning after you’re finished with the magazine. For my children’s ages, it recommended snapping photos of birds in our neighborhood and making my kids their own bird book. We haven’t done it yet, but it might be a way to occupy a few hours one summer afternoon.
- Each bimonthly issue directs parents online to a “Secret Jungle” that you access with a password provided in the print version of the magazine. For the backyard bird issue, the online component featured different videos of birds in their natural environments. The videos weren’t anything that unusual, but it was fun to log on with the kids when we were finished with the magazine.