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Polis Report

Gallant Effort

By Richard Sine

We passed the magazine around the office, flooded over with smiles and sighs.

Highlights for Children turns 50 this June, and so do "Goofus and Gallant," "Hidden Pictures" and "The Timbertoes." Its editors are proud to announce that the magazine has barely changed since 1946. The cover designs with their overlapping two-color geometric patterns and '60s script look like something that would be collectible by now, not current. In five decades, it seems only the scale has changed: with 2.5 million circulation, it is the world's largest kids' journal.

What has not changed, exactly? The kids still send in truckloads of letters, drawings, poems, jokes and riddles--now 6,000 a month. Many are still published. The littlest scribes still worry about the bullying brother, the playground tease, the bad grade. Every letter still gets a response.

There are still no ads. The hidden pictures are still pretty easy, except for one or two that are almost impossible. "Headwork" still contains a share of bizarre koans ("Do tears come from your eyes or from your ears?"). And that family of wooden marionettes, the Timbertoes, is as puzzling as ever.

With magazine moguls producing splashy new kids' mags like Zillions (which focuses on investing) the ad-saturated Sports Illustrated for Kids, or the graphically chaotic Nickelodeon, it's heartening to learn that Highlights, somehow, still thrives on pure earnest.

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From the May 2-8, 1996 issue of Metro

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