Parents' Guide to

44 Pages

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Informative but dry docu on beloved children's magazine.

Movie NR 2018 91 minutes
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While it's an informative and comprehensive look at Highlights Magazine on the occasion of its 70th anniversary, this documentary gets lost in the inner workings at the expense of the overall story. While the day-to-day working realities of editors and designers in the Highlights office might be interesting for superfans of the magazine and for those wishing to pursue a career in those fields, watching others read manuscripts or stare at computer screens isn't the most engaging fare. Too often, the behind-the-scenes of how the magazine gets made takes precedence over Highlights' evolution from beloved children's magazine and staple of doctor's offices everywhere to a magazine rooted in ideals and tradition that must constantly address the contemporary reality of putting out a print magazine for children who are surrounded by portable electronic devices and digital media.

Despite being dry at times, the documentary manages to strike a nice balance between the nostalgia one might feel for Goofus and Gallant and how the Highlights of today is a magazine that's willing to address the concerns of today's children. That mean that beside evergreen topics like first crushes and arguments with close friends, Highlights also addresses kids' concerns about climate change, mass shootings in schools, and how "family" is defined now as opposed to when the magazine started in 1946. Even in the midst of so much change, the "Fun with a Purpose" ideal comes through in 44 Pages, from everyone working at Highlights to what comes out in each issue.

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