This UK kids Magazine is produced by Panini, and it's a companion to the Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine) produced by the same guys.
The new "Spider-Man & Friends" range is based around Spider-Man, his cousin Spider-Girl, plus Hulk and Wolverine, though there's plenty of guest appearances. You should be able to find plenty of Spider-Man & Friends toys still in the shops, the style is a western/manga cross, and the target group is the 3-9 year old market.
Published every four or five weeks, this UK magazine features a toy taped to the front of each issue. Inside you'll find a four page Spidey & Friends story with three panels per page, captions of 8-20 words per panel. Then there's some nice simple kids puzzles, some coloring, a couple of competitions, and a page or two of Spidey merchandise. Essentially, it's the same format as the older kids magazine, just with a much younger target audience.
This month in "Beast's Story Time"...
Spider-Man and Doctor Octopus are down at Lake Marvel, looking at pond life for their school project. The Thing and Spider-Girl are there too, skipping stones. The Thing can skip stones farther than Spider-Girl.
Actually, I thought that the Thing would have trouble skipping stones. Sure, strength is important, but skill and dexterity are equally as critical. Getting the right stone is important too, and with Thing's fat fingers, he'd have trouble even picking up smooth stones. But I digress.
Ock spots something in the middle of the lake. It's a monster, like in Loch Ness! The guys decide to go investigate. But how to get there? The water's too deep for Ock's tentacles. Frogs jump across lily-pads, but the kids can't do that. None of them can fly either. Spider-Girl suggests floating, like snails, but that's too slow.
Nobody has yet suggested swimming. Spidey and Ock do that all the time, heck they even swim in the East River!
Anyhow, once again it's up to Spidey. He makes a boat out of webbing. It's a very ancient design called a "coracle". That means it's a dish kind of like Captain America's shield. Spidey heads out and finds... a stump that kind of looks like a monster. Oh well, he heads back. At least they found lots of other cool animals.
Meanwhile, a real green monster carefully emerges from where she was hiding behind the log.
As well as this four-page story, there's a page of ads from BigRedWarehouse, a little comprehension quiz, some letter tracing, a two-page coloring spread (with coloring guides), then a big two-page coloring spread without guides, then another Spider-Girl coloring page (with guide again).
Then there's a "draw the other half" page with four hero heads, some letter practice, a maze, a fact sheet about the thing with a couple of other little puzzles, a "find the differences" puzzle. Add a competition to win a fish tank for your home or classroom, and two pages of letters and fan art/photos, with finally a Thing poster on the back cover! What a package!
All this for one pound seventy-five pence? It's a bargain! Four splendiferous webs!