Monday, 4 February 2019

Zizzle Literary Magazine - A review


Aenchanting experience for both adults and children.

I had never reviewed a literary magazine and was keen to see what this one had to offer. First impressions? This bright blue hardbound copy definitely speaks of quality - the thickness of the page and the bright illustrations were a definite plus when I held it in my hand.

I reckon the difference was more obvious after handling those flimsy magazines that my kids pick up at the supermarkets. This one stands out for its solid cover and eye catching illustration. As the caption goes, it is a literary magazine for young minds. Interesting. Young minds include those budding minds yet to blossom into adulthood and those young at heart. Sums up the ethos of the magazine well.

THE MAGAZINE

Zizzle is a literary magazine published in Hongkong but the contributors are from mostly from United States, UK and Malayasia. The foreword shares an interesting anecdote on how the magazine was born. It was initially visualised as a flash fiction for 8-12 year olds. However when the submissions came in, the editors realised its appeal to the adults too. The focus then changed to children's stories that can be enjoyed by everyone. Therein lies its beauty. Instead of compartmentalising it, the magazine has attained a flexible form providing an enjoyable experience for adults and children.

What works:
  • The layout. Each story is neatly spaced with and categorised in terms of reading level - Easy, Less easy, Not easy. It challenges the reader without putting them off. Like that.
  • Author connection. Each story is accompanied by the writer's childhood photograph. A great way of getting acquainted with the writer before digging into the story.
  • The stories are just the right length, a quick bedtime read.  
  • There are tiny quotations that allow the reader to ponder over the story, adding value to the experience.
  • The well planned illustrations bring the stories to life, adding colour and imagination to the pages. 
  • The USP of the magazine is that these are stories about children that adults can enjoy too. Reminds me of the Disney movies that I enjoy watching with my kids. My eight-year-old daughter loved it especially when we read it together at bedtime. 
  • What makes this a holistic experience is how the writers discuss their childhood books and share their experience of reading. A tiny detail that brings the reader and author closer.
  • I also enjoyed reading the author bios where they also talk about idea behind the tale - a lovely insight into how stories are formed.
Verdict
  • My daughter loved How the moon scared the giant. My favourite was the The Road to Valhalla - a story about a boy discovering his voice. 
  • As a learner of the craft, I appreciate the style and the value of these stories. They are extremely high quality and yet accessible to the reader. A big plus in my book.
  • I would think it is ideal for 11-14 year olds although they can also be enjoyed by younger children if the parent reads with them. Like I did. It gave me a chance to bond with my daughter through these stories.
For me as a reader, these were like a box of mouthwatering choco bites - quickly gone, but the aftertaste lingers on for a while. You won't be able to stop at just one.


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