Guest Author - Lorel Shea
Muse is an exceptional magazine. Though it is aimed at “tweens”, gifted readers from about age 7 up can appreciate it. Parents may wish to pre-read or discuss controversial pieces with their children. There are plenty of interesting articles on a variety of topics. Recent issues have covered stone disks in the Yap islands, gamers making real money from selling virtual goods, racial prejudice, genetics, and snowflakes.
Muse magazine does not contain any advertising, other than subscription offers from the publisher. It's quite refreshing. Some of my family's other magazines (Sports Illustrated Kids, for example) are filled with ads for junk food and toys.
A full page in Muse is always devoted to Larry Gonick's “Kokopelli & Company”, a cartoon featuring the magazine's quirky cartoon mascots. These tiny creatures also cavort on pages throughout the magazine. Bo's Page is another regular feature. Here, readers may learn about a scientific experiment to discover how ants find their way home, or why gorillas eat wood, and vote as to whether humans will survive to the year 2100. The Q & A section has answers to queries submitted by readers. Examples questions are “would time travel actually be possible?” and “what happens when you blow a (soap) bubble in winter?” . Robert Coontz and Rosanne Spector provide clear, and often humorous, answers. Ivars Peterson is the Muse math guru. His “Math Page” offers suduko challenges and other math puzzles as well as articles such as “The Simpsons and Math”. Every issue of Muse offers a contest of some sort, tucked into the corner of a two page spread honoring winners of the previous issue's contest. Kids are invited to become living art in a tableau vivant, or to design imaginary money.
I highly recommend Muse for both boys and girls.