FOR PRE-SCHOOLERS Sesame Street has ``fun'' as the key word in this full-color magazine. Big Bird and other familiar friends from the popular TV show lead the youngest readers through an array of stories and activities. Ages 2-6. $13.97/year. P.O. Box 52000, Boulder, CO 80321.
Your Big Backyard targets very young naturalists. The magazine bursts with full-color wildlife photographs and simple activities, and comes with a four-page wrap-around with information and suggestions for parents and teachers. Ages 3-5. Published by the National Wildlife Federation, which produces Ranger Rick magazine (also recommended) for slightly older readers. $10/year. Zoobooks, 3590 Kettner Boulevard, San Diego, CA 92101.
FOR AGES 6-14
Cobblestone, Faces are theme magazines, the first devoted to history and the second to world culture. Both are black and white, and contain an abundance of well-researched articles, as well as recipes, games, activities, and more. Ages 8-14. $21.95/year each. 30 Grove St., Peterborough, NH 03458.
Cricket is an award-winning mix of fiction, poetry, feature articles, and monthly contests. Ages 6-12. $29.97/year. P.O. Box 51144, Boulder, CO 80321.
Merlyn's Pen gives students center stage: The quarterly features writing by junior high and high school students, grades 7-10. $14.95/year. P.O. Box 1058, East Greenwich, RI 02818.
National Geographic World, like its parent, is a class act. A recent issue included an interview with chimp maven Janis Carter, an article on nebulae, and a visit to a Twins Day Festival. Ages 8-14. $10.95/year. P.O. Box 2330, Washington, DC 20077.
Penny Power is published by the folks who bring us Consumer Reports. It contains critical looks at advertising hype, plus tips on money management and topics of current interest, as well as young readers' ratings of TV shows, movies, and products. Ages 8-14. $11.95/year. Consumers Union of the United States, 256 Washington St., Mt. Vernon, NY 10553.
Sports Illustrated for Kids, begun last year, is already a smashing success. Interviews and articles on athletes (male and female) are interspersed with lighter fare - collectible sports cards, puzzles, cartoons. Ages 8-13. $15.95/year. P.O. Box 830607, Birmingham, AL 35283.
Stone Soup has original stories, poems, book reviews, and art - all by children. A short activity guide is included. Ages 6-13. $20/year (bi-monthly). P.O. Box 83, Santa Cruz, CA 95063.
3-2-1 Contact focuses on science and technology. Recent issues explored dinosaurs, summer science experiments, and do-it-yourself computer programs. Ages 8-14. $15.97/year. P.O. Box 51177, Boulder, CO.
``Magazines for Children,'' edited by Donald R. Stoll (Newark, Del.: Educational Press Association of American & International Reading Association, $5.25), covers more than 100 periodicals. Organized alphabetically, with both a subject and age/grade index at the back, the booklet contains a brief description of each magazine as well as information on ordering, price, and target ages. Available in most public libraries, or can be ordered at a bookstore.