TOS Crew: Nature Friend Magazine

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I’ve seen lots of ads for Nature Friend magazine. For years I’ve looked at the little postcard-sized ads that came in the mail, or in a homeschool conference packet, thought about it for a moment, and then recycled the card.

Then the good folks at Nature Friend sent the TOS Crew two issues of the magazine.

The first thing I have to tell you is that I almost didn’t get to see it! The magazine was an instant hit, and disappeared quickly from sight. I caught occasional glimpses of the first issue, in the hands of one or another of the girls, but it wasn’t until the second issue arrived that I was able to intercept and sit down with a copy.

(I did demand, and got, custody of the first issue as well, as the deadline for this review loomed closer… but I’m under orders to surrender the magazine just so soon as I hit the “Publish” button.)

You really have to see this magazine–hold it in your hands, turn the pages with their incredible images bursting off the page–to appreciate it.

I’ve heard Nature Friend compared to other, secular, nature-themed magazines for children, but the drawback to those magazines is, yes, they are secular and riddled with evolutionary theory. Nature Friend‘s motto is “Helping Families Explore the Wonders of God’s Creation” so you know right where they’re coming from.

Let me use the August issue as an illustration of what the magazine offers. On the cover is a dramatic photograph of an owl in mid-swoop, outspread claws an inch away from grasping an unsuspecting mouse. (When you turn the page, you get a two-page spread of the same photo, only expanded.)

But that’s just the start! You might very well judge this “book” by its cover… because in the Study Guide included with the issue is an article on how to photograph an owl in flight. (As you may know, owls fly silently, so being sure to get such a picture takes some work and planning ahead.) It was fascinating reading, though perhaps upsetting for younger readers as it involves using live mice as bait.

Within the magazine you’ll find articles, stories, puzzles, games, the Mailbox (questions and comments sent in by readers), fun facts, a drawing lesson, and investigations that spark wonder at God’s magnificent Creation!

…and let’s not forget the illustrations, the drawings and breathtaking photos!

(You can see photos at the Nature Friend website, for an example of what you’d see in the magazine. The photo at right came from the magazine website.)

Reader contributions (stories, poems, photographs, and more) are welcome, and one issue a year is completely devoted to reader submissions.

You can subscribe to Nature Friend for $36 a year for U.S. residents (that’s just $3 an issue, worth every penny and then some). For an additional $2 an issue, you’ll get the Study Guide, with additional reinforcement activities (plus answer keys) and lessons.

A subscription to Nature Friend would make a wonderful Christmas or birthday present! (Hint, hint.) If you have grandparents or aunts and uncles who aren’t sure what to give a homeschooling family, let them know this magazine is on your wish list!

As for me, having held the magazine in my hand, having seen our daughters’ enthusiasm, I’m subscribing. (And I’m going to hint to the girls’ aunt and uncles that an upgrade to the Study Guide would make a great Christmas present–for me!)

Edited to add:

Oops! I forgot the discount code! Use coupon code BLOG93 to save $3.00 on a new subscription to Nature Friend Magazine (valid until November 30, 2009).

To read more TOS Crew reviews of Nature Friend, click here.

Disclaimer: TOS Crew reviewers were provided two free issues of Nature Friend for review.

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