A small, independent publisher, Luma Works, had much the same views as me, magazines aimed at children nowadays are full of adverts and plastic toys. I don't like them and my children don't like them! They get bored within 2 minutes and abandon it in the corner of the room and lets face it most magazines nowadays cost more than a paperback book (I know which I'd rather spend my money on). They remembered Storyteller fondly and thought it was high time the world had another story magazine for the new generation.
Storytime is about parents and children reading together, sharing great stories without an advert break. YES - the only advert you will find in this 50 page magazine is how to subscribe for even more great issues.
I was excited when I heard about this magazine but I was worried .... what if it didn't live up to my childhood memories? What if it was soo much better and tainted my memories? What if my children didn't enjoy it as much as I used too?
Storytime sent us a couple of issues so we could see for ourselves and make a decision, we are hooked (and considering buying the back issues as we've missed a whole year of stories).
From the moment you see the front cover with it's bright illustrations you know this isn't going to be a run of the mill magazine. Add to that the thick, high-quality matte paper ensures the magazine will last after being read (and read .... and read) not like most run of the mill magazines that almost rip before you start.
Each issue has different genres of story, fairy tales, poems, myths and legends and folk tales which fit really well with the curriculum in schools, it also gives me an option to share the type of story I'd not normally read with the boys. With short, snappy, stories even the more reluctant of readers are encouraged to dip in and out of it.
Not every story is 'finihsed', some of the more famous ones, for example 101 Dalmations and Peter Pan, ask the children to think how they will end. This has it's pros and cons. I love the fact it gets children to think and make predictions but it could deter parents. Noah immediately wanted to know how the story ended, fortunately it was time for bed. We do have the story on our bookshelf (well currently in a box until the playroom is finished) so we can share it together when the time is right. For other parents this may not be as easy, they may not be able to afford to buy a copy of the book which could make them question themselves, hopefully this will lead to them taking their child to the library to find it instead.
The back of the magazine has pages of all the things children love, puzzles, quizzes, activities and colouring in, related to the stories with the same beautiful, fun and colourful illustrations that are shown throughout the magazine to bring it all to life.
Log in online and there are plenty of free downloads to accompany the story. For example Issue 11 tells you how to make finger puppets to accompany their Animal Fair rhyme, these can be printed off the website.
There are also recipes and masks to enhance the storytelling experiences.
The editors and publishers at Luma Works run Storytime as a social enterprise meaning the money they make goes back into producing the magazine and ultimately getting more and more children reading. 40p from the sale of each issue 11 went to Book Trust in support of Book Week.
Storytime is priced at a really reasonable £3.99 per issue and can be delivered all over the world. We've signed up for the next 16 months, if you want to do the same a years subscription* starts from as little as £33.99 for 12 months. Now I just need to get hold of the back issues.
I really hope they decide to realise audio CD's alongside the magazines, I'd happily pay an extra £1 or £2 per issue for this addition.
Disclosure: Storytime sent us 2 complimentary issues to review. All words and opinions are my honest thoughts.
*I would love you to subscribe through my link, if you do please let me know so I can provide you with the requested friend information.