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Apart from the rainy season, one of the things I used to look forward to most as a child was arrival of ‘World’ magazine, as National Geographic’s junior publication was then called. It was usually three months late, but I loved it. Even out there at the foot of the Sahara, America managed to get me, with features about out-of-my-world wonders such as bubblegum and denim sitting next to ones about Tutuankhamun and icebergs.

(Sound of penny dropping… was I a victim of the US propaganda machine?!)

Many years later, we received a copy of today’s version of the mag. National Geographic Kids is a very different beast. It’s a designer’s playground, with every spread packed with very short, bright, pocket-stories, lists, quizzes, cartoons and competitions. No longer features, sadly. But it’s still got stacks of non-fiction, general knowledge nature-world-adventure stuff presented in a fun way.

It kept my nine-year old quiet for ages this summer, reading at night with his head-torch while the Welsh rain hammered down relentlessly on our tent. The long, golden silences were interspersed with sudden slightly alarming, muffled statements from his sleeping-bag such as, ‘There’s a black bear that can open sandwich boxes,’ and ‘Goldfish have only a three-second memory,’ and ‘It takes 11,000 litres of water to produce one pair of jeans,’ (denim feature flashback!).

Asked which magazine is his favourite, the answer is still, unhesitatingly, The Beano. But National Geographic Kids comes second, and frankly, there’s not a lot that can compete with Dennis the Menace in our house at the moment, so that’s pretty good going.

The full price of a year’s subscription to Kids is £38.50. At the moment, you can get a 12-month subscription for £28 if you go through their website. But because I’d love other children to get it, Looking for Dragons has negotiated another £8 off their own existing special offer. So, until further notice, you can get 12 months of the magazine for £20 by clicking here. (Not an affiliate link.)

Enjoy it!

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