I get tons of offers to review all sorts of odd things: snack foods (no thanks), prenatal vitamins (not pregnant), infant video games (did you read the title of my blog?), celebrity this and celebrity that (my interest in celebs = ZERO). Do any of these marketers actually READ my blog first? I rarely accept a review offer.
Well, a while ago I got a very nice email about a publication that sounded pretty good and well-matched to Unplug Your Kids. Blue Lake Children’s Publishing wanted to know if I would be interested in reviewing their bi-monthly “magazine” (really more like a little book) for 2-6 year-old pre and early readers. The magazine is called Tessy & Tab, and after checking out their website, I decided that my 4 year-old and I might like to give it a try.
The verdict? We love it!
As I mentioned before, Tessy & Tab is more like a small stiff paperback book than an actual magazine. This is helpful if you have destructive little-ones! But as Heather of Blue Lake explained, “kids like the word ‘magazine.” Your preschooler will love getting their own “magazine” twice a month in the mail.
The main characters of Tessy & Tab are a duck named Tessy and a kangaroo…obviously named Tab. Each 14 page issue features Tessy and Tab doing fun things that children will enjoy learning about, or are perhaps familiar with. My packet included issues about flying kites, ice skating lessons, learning to write, making pizzas, a yoga lesson, and crafting jewel mugs.
The subject matter was very interesting to my 4 year-old and the bright and simple illustrations were fun for her too. The text is basic and the font is large, dark, and easy to read. My daughter was pleased that she could sound out some of the words herself, and LOVED the part where she got to do an “I Spy” finding different pictures and words that appeared throughout the story. I think she sat quietly on the sofa for at least half an hour working on her packet of Tessy & Tabs.
From a parent point of view, I like the following:
- Each issue is based on the Six Skills for Early Literacy: 1) Print Motivation (kids LOVE getting mail!) 2) Print Awareness (a word in the text always appears somewhere in the illustration) 3) Building Vocabulary (learn words by recognizing pictures) 4) Narrative Skills (…a beginning, a middle, and an end…) 5) Letter Knowledge (a featured letter every month) 6) Phonological Awareness (emphasis on syllables and rhymes).
- I can do more than just read the content aloud. There are also a few activities, some of which my 4 year-old can do on her own.
- The featured letter and number are useful bi-monthly teaching tools that might especially be helpful for homeschoolers.
- There are three “Story Questions” at the end of each issue. The questions check to see if your child remembered and comprehended the story (there are visual hints too). A good introduction to the idea of “reading for comprehension” which they will face for many, many years to come in school.
- Twice a month is ideal in my mind for publications geared to children so young. Although it flies by for us grown-ups, a full month’s wait is a Very-Long-Time when you are 4ish.
- The website has printables, learning games, and activities that go along with each issue.
And last, but DEFINITELY not least!!!
- Tessy & Tab has no advertising. I don’t have to endure tortured requests for Disney princess fruit snacks or Sponge Bob sneakers after we read an issue.
I have subscribed.
If you decide to subscribe and like this magazine, please tell your friends about it. If you have a blog, please write about it.
Blue Lake Publishing is a low budget operation and it does not accept advertising. I really respect this attitude and I wish them well. I also thank them for bringing Tessy & Tab to my attention!