Storytime is a children’s magazine launched by Luna Works in 2014 packed with “stories to read, love and share”. On the official website, the publishers state that “Storytime runs as a social enterprise … to support parents in spending more time reading with their children, and to work with schools, councils and other organisations to improve the literacy of families across the UK.” For this mission statement alone, the magazine is worthy of support – any endeavour that promotes the love of reading among children should be welcomed with open arms, especially by parents.
But even when simply taken by itself, there is much to praise about Storytime. Every month, the magazine’s beautiful pages bring words and imagination to a generation who would otherwise be spending the whole day playing video games or chatting with friends on social media.
Stories by categories
A typical issue will have a story from each of these categories:
- Famous Fables
- Tales from Today
- Story Teller’s Corner
- Favourite Fairy Tales
- Poems and Rhymes
- Myths and Legends
- Around the World Tales
- Storytime Playbox
- Story Magic
In addition, the magazine features activity pages, puzzles and competitions.
Those old enough to remember Story Teller can be forgiven for thinking that Storytime took inspiration from the 80s partwork which which came out fortnightly with almost identical categories of stories. The two children’s collection are indeed very similar, with the biggest difference being Story Teller had cover mounted recordings of the stories whereas the modern equivalent relies entirely on the printed pages to lure children back to reading.
An ever-growing library
Now in its fourth successful year, Storytime continues to offer an expanding and rich children’s library which caters to all tastes.I don’t think a more comprehensive collection of stories exists. With Storytime, families can have a treasury of tales in their homes that they can dip into, whatever mood the child is in. There are stories to thrill, inspire and amuse, all accompanied by bright, modern and colourful illustrations that bring the stories to life. Fans of Story Teller will probably miss the more traditional and classical illustrations by the likes of Francis Phillipps, Peter Dennis and Claire Mumford but there is no doubt that today’s kids – a generation raised on a diet of animated Disney movies and computer generated images – are attracted to the more cartoony style of the pictures in Storytime.
I do think, however, that if Storytime continues to be published (and there is no sign of it disappearing any time soon), they will run out of “favourite fairy stories” and “famous fables” eventually, and will have to rethink their categories as they turn to more original and contemporary stories to fill the pages. Even now, I no longer recognise many of the stories that are supposed to be classics, such as The Lion and the Rabbit (a “famous” fable) and Dwarf Longnose (a “favourite” fairy tale).
In its first year, Storytime had a story category called Brilliant Books. Every issue, Storytime published the opening pages of famous children’s novels such as The Water Babies, The BFG, Through the Looking Glass and Stig of the Dump. The aim was to entice children to get a copy of the complete novels to find out what happened next. It was a unique way of getting children to improve their reading skills by moving on to more advanced reading materials, but sadly the category was abruptly dropped.
Storytime fans can get added value from the website where they can download such goodies as factsheets, masks, games and cards. A filing box is also available to order for £4.99, designed to store the magazines.
It is a shame that Storytime is now only available by subscription and no longer sold in newsagents, making the magazine that much harder to give to a child, creating a barrier to passing on a love of reading. It would be a wonderful thing if the next time a mum takes a child to a newsagent, she can buy a copy of Storytime as a treat for her child. Now, it requires more effort and bigger commitment to to get a copy in a child’s hands.
Nevertheless, Storytime is a breath of fresh air and very welcome in a world where everything is becoming digital and virtual. Thanks to this publication, the kids of today can still experience the feel of beautifully printed pages and get their imagination fired up in ways that only printed words can.
The addition of audio would make it even better. Luna Works, are you listening?
Storytime is sold at £3.99 per issue.
Watch this video to see what Storytime has to offer: