About four years ago my husband and I were browsing books at a thrift store. His blue eyes sparkled as he picked up a large pile (about 30) magazines and put them in the cart. "Um...no," I said. Who wants magazines laying around the house. But I was corrected, these were not just any magazines. These were Zoobooks. Zoobooks happened to be my husbands favorite childhood toy. I'm serious. So clearly at $0.25 a pop he wanted them all. At the time, we were visiting his parents for Christmas and when his mother saw our purchase she rushed downstairs, searched through some boxes and emerged with about 30 more Zoobooks; saved for 20 years. That is how our animal obsession began about 60 Zoobooks later.
Created by John Wexo in 1980, Zoobooks are designed to be the "all-in-one, everything-you-wanted-to-know-but-didn't-know-who-to-ask guide to the world's most fascinating animals, birds, reptiles, and insects." I have found this statement to be absolutely true. On the website it says Zoobooks are intended for 5 years and older, but by summarizing we started looking at them and reading them to our children at age 18 months. All three girls L O V E them. What kid doesn't like animals. So...as a mother, this is what I L O V E about Zoobooks.
Though called a magazine, Zoobooks are printed on nice thick paper which we have proven can withstand the test of time. Granted some are more "loved" than others and have needed some reinforcement, but over all very nice quality. Each magazine come with 20 pages of full color pictures (no advertisements). The pictures are beautiful, realistic drawings or close up photography. Magazines usually cover one animal type or, like shown above, (Animal Champions and Baby Animals 2, my personal favorites) animals within a theme. They cover facts like habitat, eating, survival, geographic location and some environmental/preservation topics. Also included is a 4 page pullout section with activities, puzzles, enrichment ideas etc. for your child to do. What more can you ask for in a child's magazine!
In addition to Zoobooks, there is Zootles, a magazine tailored for ages 2-6. I haven't seen one in person, but you can take a page by page look at both Zootles and Zoobooks, to decide what is most appropriate for your child.
One last thing. For our daughters unquenched interest in animals, my husband started playing the Animal Guessing Game in the car. One person says "I'm thinking of an animal that is furry, swims in the sea and loves to eat clams." Those listening to the clue guesses "sea otters." My girls can play this over and over. As your child gets more familiar with animals, you will be amazed at what they remember and what concepts they grasp. This is a great way to work on comprehension skills.
So here is the low down: A one year subscription is $23.95 through Zoobooks. There are other purchasing options. You can buy the complete set in soft or hard cover. Also if you are not ready for a full year subscription or you just want your child's favorite animal, you may purchase them separately in soft or hard cover or in sets of 4 in hard cover. If you're like me and you want a deal, I saw some sweet ones on ebay.