Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Book Review: Tell Me Why Magazine

Tell Me Why is the name of a rare gem of a magazine from the house of Manorama... it is indeed unfortunate that it is not more popular... but more about that later

First, the magazine itself. It is a monthly issue which gives 100+ facts about one single chosen topic every month. Sounds very drab and boring, doesn't it? It is, in fact, anything but drab. The beauty is in the presentation as well as the content. The presentation is very slick, upmarket, printed on quality paper, the layout very brisk and to the point with full colour features on every single page. That alone makes it sound interesting. If you add to it the content, it becomes a superb magazine. So much so, that while we throw away the other magazines - this is one that is carefully stored away as a future reference material, fun reading and most importantly reading material for our son when he is old enough to understand.

The real beauty is in the content: it is simpe in its wording, the facts mentioned are very interesting and not well known, with attention seeking 3-4 word headings. It is very well supported by full-colour photographs, humour-inducing cartoon / pictorial representations which are usually relevant, that provide an overall fun atmosphere to the magazine. Spread all through the magazine are small sections called "Star Facts" which are set apart from the rest of the content, again in colour. Add to that you have a section called "Amazing" - yes, full colour - that highlights little known facts. And, as the icing on the cake, interesting facts, important or lesser known items are highlighted in a differing colour background. The entire magazine is not presented in the classical column print interface like other magazines, with 2 or 3 equally spaced columns. The presentation is more like a collage, with facts given in stars, overlaid on photographs, in various geometric shapes. Some pages are in 2 column - presentation, with usually one column being in colour. The overall impact is fantastic. This presentation serves a dual purpose: while on the one hand it makes the magazine look interesting, polished and fun; it serves to direct attention to interesting items as well as to highlight important sections on the other.

The sample snapshots I found on various sources on the internet should give you a pretty good idea of the quality of the presentation... A sample of the past few topical editions will give you an idea as to what I am referring to in terms of its interesting content:

1. October 2006 - The Soler System
02. November 2006 - Birds
03. December 2006 - Invention
04. January 2007 - Oceans
05. Fabruary 2007 - Ancient World
06. March 2007 - Cricket and World cup
07. April 2007 - Animals
08. May 2007 - Plants
09. June 2007 - Transportation
10. July 2007 - 100 Great Events
11. August 2007 - The Earth
12. September 2007 - Communication
13. October 2007 - Indian History [ancient days to the arrival of europeans]
14. November 2007 - Festivals
15. December 2007 - Wonders of the World
16. January 2008 - Great Explorers
17. February 2008 - 100 Great Lives
18. March 2008 - Weather
19. April 2008 - International Organisations
20. May 2008 - Deserts
21. June 2008 - Weapons
22. July 2008 - Olympics
23. August 2008 - Computer
24. September 2008 - Egyptian Civilization
25. October 2008 - 100 Great Scientists
26. November 2008 - Continents
27. December 2008 - Revolutions
28. January 2009 - 100 Great Medical Discoveries and Inventions
29. February 2009 - The Moon
30. March 2009 - Great Disasters
31. April 2009 - Insects
32. May 2009 - Metals
33. June 2009 - Money
34. July 2009 - Mythology
35. August 2009 - The Mughals
36. September 2009 - Mountains
37. October 2009 - The Universe
38. November 2009 - Mysteries
39. December 2009 - Sports
40. January 2010 - Diseases
41. February 2010 - Animal Behaviour
42. March 2010 - Water
43. April 2010 - war
44. May 2010 - Prehistoric Creatures
45. June 2010 - World Cup Football
46. July 2010 - Ancient Greece
47 .August 2010 - Story of firsts
48 .September 2010 - Natural Wonders
49. October 2010 - Endangered Animals
50. November 2010 - 100 Great writers
51. December 2010 - Roman Civilization
52. January 2011 - Polar Regions
53. Fabruary 2011 - 100 Great Painters
54. March 2011 - World Wars
55. April 2011 - Mammals
56. May 2011 - Parliaments
57. June 2011 - Reptiles

A sample of the content from some of the latest issues is given below, which will give the reader a much better handle on the content

Countries of the World,  December 2011 "The Kingdom of a million Elephants", "Why are the Philippines Called by This Name?","Holy Surveyors", "The Land of Ice and Fire", "The Land of a Thousand Lakes", "Santa's Birthplace", "King Bluetooth", "The Cradle of Civilization", "Dusty Continent", "Suez Canal", "The Shortest War in History", "Voodoo", "Countries Named After People", "Three Capitals", Rainbow Nations", 

Ambhibians, October 2011 "Ancient Frogs","Why Are Amphibians Colourful", "Hot and Cold", "Wonder Skin", "Toads and Frogs", "Why are Poison Dart Frogs Important", "Poison Glands", "Dont Touch", "Delicate Fingers", "Rain Forest Discoveries", "What are Froglets", "Why Do We Say That Frogs Adapt Themselves To Their Habitat",  "Frogs in Space", "Breathing Underwater", "What Are Efts", "Worm, Snake Or Amphibian"

The content is interesting, and can be for both children - especially adolescent children, who are old enough to understand the above - as well as for adults since a good many facts are not known to even adults! The great pity about this classic magazine is that it is not available everywhere. With the proper level of support, targeted promotions, and emphasis on distribution the sales response is bound to be encouraging for a magazine that has both quality content as well as quality and slick presentation. The lack of availability can be a bit frustrating at times...

In fact, that is the only negative aspect that I can think of regarding this magazine!

If the price of the above package is Rs. 20/- - could you ask for more? I cant! A superb magazine well worth several times its price!


  1. Yes Vishal I also love this magazine, I tried to buy past issues but publisher dont given any reply. So I subscribe it through

    A delightful wonder that you are collecting this for your Son, Same here I am collecting this for my Niece.
    You can read ALL Indian Magazines and Newspapers Online from this website

    1. Sorry for the delay in my response...

      Strange that the publisher did not give any response. I will try and see for myself... and comment in case company replies

  2. Helo it is solar system and not soler system. Please check. I have grate respect for Manorama.

    1. Thanks, friend...

      Typo crept in. Thanks for pointing it out

    2. Few typos :-)
      'Helo' must be 'Hello'
      'grate' must be 'great'

  3. Sir, I am very much impressed with Tell Me Why Magazine.I need a small favour from you, some how you are doing with the job reviewing why don't please provide the digital magazines in the Torrent or on your Blog because it'll be beneficial to many people.Kindly, please provide soft copy.

    1. I dont know whether soft copies are available. I dont have them, sorry to say. You might try and contact the publisher for past issues

  4. I want Tell Me Why August 2009 issue tittle "The Mughals"...How can I get the issue..I really want it...

    1. I think you can purchase the back copies from the publishers, but not sure. Write to them for the same; I too am interested in procuring the back copies; have not gotten around to writing to them yet

  5. 'Tell Me Why' is an excellent series.
    'Deserts' [May 2008] was The Best of all the issues I have read. When I saw front cover, I had thought what much could be covered with 'Deserts' as topic, but the topics were very well divided with interesting information. Deserts are indeed not so dead as they seem to be. Also came across new species of flora and fauna of the desert. 'Deserts' issue was one of the books that made huge impact on my life. [I appreciate the content writer of this particular issue.]
    'Indian History [ancient days to the arrival of Europeans]' made me to like History especially due to the interesting facts that are usually not published in academic books.
    Please continue releasing such interesting issues.
    However, the data popping out on the right scroll bar is very troublesome while scrolling this webpage, and even the Captcha is so tweaky - I have already tried more than 4 times with no acceptance.

    1. Thanks.. I too have noticed this issue.

      Can you tell me how to fix this? I am not too keen on changing to a standard theme; the current dynamic theme works quite well otherwise...