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O for a Muse of paper!

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Am staying at Bhadrika & Steve's in Somerville at the moment. (I keep being startled by the fact that Wolf is 8 and Jazz is 10. When I was a kid I got annoyed at adults for saying "You've grown so much!" so I try not to say that to kids, but sometimes it's an effort.) They recently started subscribing to a kids' magazine called Muse; Jim M. and I spent a while last night leafing through the magazine, and I gotta say I'm really impressed. It's a magazine of "science, history, and the arts" from the publishers of Cricket and Smithsonian.

It's smart, it's funny, and it apparently appeals a great deal to somewhat geeky kids (both boys and girls). It's got spot illustrations by Larry (Cartoon History of the Universe) Gonick; it features a cast of "muses" from all over the world who occasionally interject comments in little cartoons in the margins, such as Chad, the muse of hardware, from Mali; Aeiou, the muse of software, from Ulan Bator ("In my spare time, I make lists of things to do"); Kokopelli, the muse of tunes and tricks, from Arizona; Bo, the muse of factoids, from Abkhazia; and Mimi, the muse of getting along with people, from the Australian outback. (Plus four others.)

Each issue has an entertaining letter column; a page of factoids (five or six mini-articles, one of which is always false); feature articles on what really killed Napoleon, or parasites, or Phineas Gage (the guy who survived an explosion that blasted a 13-pound iron rod through his brain and changed his personality), or Rube Goldberg machines, or Horatio Hornblower, or old musical instruments. In one issue there's a list of the top ten ways to tell when someone is trying to sell you a fake perpetual motion machine; in another, there's a reprinted excerpt from a Thurber piece about the difficulty of looking through a microscope.

Those of you with kids in the appropriate age range (it's supposed to be for kids 10 and up, but smart 8-year-olds can enjoy it too)—or without kids but with an interest in science education—should check it out. Good stuff.

Oh, and there's a Muse fan page, run by one of the contributing editors, that provides more info about the magazine; it describes the magazine as (among other things) "A playground where the best explainers in the business hang out with the funniest, most curious readers anywhere."

3 Comments

Wow, I never expected to see the word "Somerville" in your journal, Jed. Enjoy all its densely-populated glory while you can :) (or at least the Diesel cafe in Davis Sq).

Also in Somerville,
marymary


:) I've been coming to Somerville for a long time. My first WorldCon was the 1989 Boston WorldCon; I stayed with my friend David V.S., who at the time lived within a couple blocks of Teele Square; each day of the con I would walk to the Davis Square T station and take the T to the con.

(Well, except for the nights when I stayed at the con filking 'til 4 a.m. and caught a few hours' sleep under a covered table or in a closet, hoping hotel security wouldn't notice me.)

Anyway, various college friends of mine have continued to live in Somerville ever since, and it tends to be where I stay when I'm in Boston.


*looks at schedule. Pokes it with stick. Can't find anything to move that would let me come to Somerville today and pester you nifty people. Dang!*

Hope y'all having a **great** time!


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