Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Backyardigans Magazine

My daughter has keen eyes where fun stuff is concerned. There we were in the grocery story, Mommy concentrating on getting past the animal crackers before anyone notices them, when she grabs one particular magazine out of the mass of them in the books and periodicals section.

"Mommy! Uniqua!"

Over at BackyardigansFans.com there's been a certain amount of discussion about a Backyardigans magazine, but no-one seemed to know where it was. Trust my daughter to find it. It wasn't cheap ($4.95/Canada $5.95) but we got it anyway. I had to write a review of it, after all! Yeah, yeah, that's why I got it. Sure ...

Nick Jr. is calling it a magazine, but it's really more of an activity book, with a section in the middle with articles for parents. You can't subscribe to it and it doesn't say if there are going to be any more issues. It's titled "The Backyardigans Magazine" with "Collector's Issue" over the title. It's marked as being the Fall 2005 issue, and in the block where the bar code is, there is the notation "Nick Specials" and "Display until November 22, 2005"

All of which leaves me not sure what to think. Is this going to be a regular publication, or is this a one off? I'm inclined to think they're testing the waters to see how many of us pick this up. Of course, if they'd PUBLICIZED it, more of us might have been on the look-out for it and that would help their sales, but no. That would be too logical.

Anyway. It's centered around the Tower of Power episode, with one half of the magazine featuring roleplaying being a superhero and the other half of the magazine (flip it over to read the other half) featuring roleplaying being a supervillain (Tasha is in here as a villain, Eraser Girl). There's a two page poster of all the Backyardigans dressed up as heroes and villains in the middle of the magazine saying "You did it!" and urging kids to go have a snack with the Backyardigans after all that playing (featuring apples!)

The parents section has some great articles. There's information about the people behind the show, Janice Burgess, Jonny Belt, Robert Scull and Beth Bogush. There are photos of the kids who sing and voice the characters. A chart of the types of music found in season one was especially interesting. It talks about which type of music is found in each episode and something of the history of that genre as well as where to hear more of that style of music.

If you are concerned about your child pretending to be a supervillain, there is an article about why children love to play superheros and how to use this kind of imaginative play as a positive part of your child's life. They have 12 imaginative play prompts, only one of which involves superpowers.

Dancing is not left out; there is an easy Salsa how-to and an article on the benefits of dancing for your children.

Do expect to help your preschoolers with this magazine. There will be some cutting to do (superhero and supervillain props as well as some puzzles) and, of course, they will probably need you to read it to them.

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