Have you ever walked down the magazine aisle of a supermarket with a child and been simultaneously amazed and horrified that every single magazine seems to come with a cheap, plastic “gift” stuck to the front and contains more advertising than content?
Storytime is a new magazine for children and parents to share that aims to encourage reading and interaction with stories, but without any advertising or free plastic clutter.
From the beginning it’s obvious that Storytime is a very different magazine. The pages are made with thick, high-quality matte paper instead of the usual cheap glossy stuff, and the pages contain not one single advertisement. Inside you will find seven fully illustrated stories, activities, and games related to each of them, and ideas for parents to help engage their children. Some of the tales included in the first issue are “The Hare and The Tortoise,” “Perseus and Medusa,” and “Aladdin & The Magic Lamp.”
The issue is divided into sections such as Famous Fables, Favourite Fairy Tales, and Brilliant Books, which will presumably repeat in each issue. Every story is fully illustrated in a variety of different styles, each one reminiscent of old children’s books (I was reminded of my old Ladybird books). The illustration styles are continued for the games and activities at the back of the magazine. My issue included a coloring sheet of the owl and the pussycat on their boat, a simple hare and tortoise race game, and space to draw in your own version of the Fairy King.
The ideas for parents section includes some information on the stories themselves and questions to ask in order to engage children and get them thinking more about what they have heard.
One question asked children to imagine how they think Alice in Wonderland will continue because the magazine only prints the first section, cutting off when she drinks from the little “drink me” bottle. How parents will feel about being given only the first section of a story which would then require them to go out and purchase a full copy, presumably once a month, remains to be seen.
Although I liked the magazine from an adult perspective, my five year old really wasn’t interested in these types of classic legends and fairy tales. It took a lot of persuading for him to sit down and listen to just one, even though he usually loves books.
It would be nice to see the magazine mix up the more classic literature (Alice in Wonderland, Goldilocks) with more modern styles too. Classic tales are great–they’re classics for a reason after all–but tastes have changed and there are a lot of other kinds of stories out there that will engage different kinds of kids. As it is now, by focusing exclusively on older classic literature children’s stories, the whole package does come across as rather “worthy,” even a little elitist.
I love the idea behind Storytime, but right now it’s just not a good fit for my family. Anything that encourages children to read more, and parents to read with them, can only be a good thing, but I would really have liked to see more variety. As it is, this appeals to a very specific type of parent–parents who aren’t me.
GeekMom received this item for review purposes. In the interest of full disclosure, the editor of Storytime is the partner of a writer at our brother site GeekDad.