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Ranger Rick Celebrates 50 Years with New App, Magazine

National Wildlife Federation (NWF), publisher of Ranger Rick children’s magazine, is releasing a new magazine and related app for a younger age group.

Ranger Rick Jr. will feature specially designed content for children ages 4 to 7. The magazine is designed for beginning readers and is packed with intriguing animal facts and photography. A new character, Ricky Raccoon, will guide children through the 36-page magazine, with the first issue set to release in December.

Every issue will feature Green Time, a page of activities aimed to get kids outside so they can experience wildlife in their own neighborhoods, and Ever Wonder, which will answer kids’ elusive questions about nature.

Though the magazine focuses primarily on photos and activities rather than text-heavy articles, Ricky and Pals gives adults the chance to read fictional stories about Ricky Raccoon to children.

A subscription to Ranger Rick Jr. will include 10 issues of the magazine. Ranger Rick Jr. will also be available for purchase on newsstands, and digital editions of the publication are available for the Nook at bn.com and Kindle at amazon.com.

The app, Ranger Rick Jr. Appventures, is a storybook app designed for iPads. Kids can make their way through animal adventures using the explore, create, and play options. The first app in the series will focus on lions, as Ricky Raccoon appears with his pal Lars the Lion to take children on an animated trip through the grasslands.

With the Interactive Photo Story kids can discover interesting facts about lions while watching videos, looking at animated infographics, and listening to animal sound effects. In Photo Safari, kids can count the lions in Lars’ pride while snapping photos along the way. With Trail tales, kids can write fill-in-the-blank ad-lib type stories, and with the Animal Builder they can create their own hybrid animals.

Every page is designed to have hidden elements kids can touch and discover in addition to the games, facts, and images. “We wanted to be informatie but we wanted to build play and creativity into it,” said Lori Collins, editor-in-chief of Early Childhood Publications.

The interactive app will be available for purchase in the iTunes App Store this week.

American Girl Launches Charitable “Shine On Now” Campaign

American Girl is launching  Shine On Now, a new charitable campaign that encourages girls to give support to other girls in need. The company hopes to donate $1 million in clothes, dolls, books, and money to Kids in Distressed Situations, National Association of Children’s Hospitals and Related Institutions, National Wildlife Federation, and Save the Children.

Starting June 28, girls can become American Girl Ambassadors at shineonnow.com; ambassadors will receive a free, downloadable tool kit with tips and ideas for fund-raising, volunteering, or donating to the four charities. On July 13, visitors to the website can contribute 100 free stars a day to eventually reach 1 million stars. If 1 million stars are collected, American Girl will donate its maximum gift of $1 million.

American Girl will also be launching a new virtual campus, Innerstar University, with a variety of games, quizzes, and other activities. Access to the online world comes with each 18-inch My American Girl doll.