A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
Ease of Play
Standard intuitive touch controls are used for interacting with and turning pages. There are also several games that allow kids to do things like move slides around under a microscope, color coral with algae of varying hues, and make animals swim. The most complex of these is a simple matching game suitable for ages five and up.
Violence & Scariness
The kids run into a pair of tiger sharks in one scene, but they don’t attack. Instead, they learn that sharks rarely ever attack or kill people, though they should still be wary of them.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Magic School Bus: Oceans is a highly interactive storybook app from Scholastic Books. Like its paper-and-ink predecessors, it is overflowing with educational content. Nearly every page is laden with interactive elements that help teach kids about the ocean and the creatures within it. The material is factual and innocuous, though there is one mildly scary moment when the kids run into a pair of sharks.
Is It Any Good?
Based on the popular series of children's books and TV series, THE MAGIC SCHOOL BUS: OCEANS is a polished storybook app featuring an exceptional amount of interactive content. Most pages feature a wide variety of objects and characters that kids can tap to be rewarded with dialogue, sounds, and information. There are also eight fun activities scattered throughout the book that have kids doing things like arranging animals in the proper order for a food chain or creating breezes of varying intensity before watching the resultant waves affect a small fishing boat. Several talented voice actors are involved in the book’s narration, and a persistent menu button at the bottom of the screen makes it easy to jump to various sections of the book or any of its activities. It’s among the more expensive storybook apps available for iPad, but the range and depth of content makes it worthwhile; kids are likely to come back to this one frequently.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.