The Magic School Bus Series

Book review by
Kate Pavao, Common Sense Media
The Magic School Bus Series Book Poster Image
Smart science-based series mixes facts and fun.

Parents say

age 4+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 2+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Kids will learn about all sorts of subjects from these science-based books, including what they can do about climate change, what the inside of the Earth is like, and which dinosaurs lived in different time periods. Because these books are based in fact, they do teach kids that humans are having an impact on climate change, that people and dinosaurs never lived together, and more.

Positive Messages

The emphasis in The Magic School Bus series is on being excited about learning and really looking to see how the world works.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The kids in this class work together and produce good reports to share with readers. Ms. Frizzle has endless enthusiasm for teaching -- especially in the field.

Violence & Scariness

Arthur, in particular, is often anxious about the field trips. Some kids might be scared or grossed out by images of a dinosaur eating another injured dinosaur, or by the bus making a narrow escape from an erupting volcano.

Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Magic School Bus books are part of a science-based series of that teaches kids about a variety of topics, including what they can do about climate change, what the inside of the Earth is like, and which dinosaurs lived in different time periods. Because these books are based in fact, they do teach kids that humans are having an impact on climate change, that people and dinosaurs never lived together, and more. The kids in this class work as a team and produce good reports to share with readers. Ms. Frizzle has endless enthusiasm for teaching -- especially when she gets to take the class out on her magical bus. Because of the heavy text here, these books work better when kids can read them themselves; a read-aloud will simply take too long. One of the classmates, Arthur, is often anxious about the field trips, and some kids might be scared by images of a dinosaur eating another injured dinosaur, or by the bus making a narrow escape from an erupting volcano. The Magic School Bus series has also insipred a TV show, video games, and apps

User Reviews

Adult Written byRosie Y November 17, 2015
There is a difference between the books originally done by Joanna Cole and the books that are companions to the PBS Television series. Joanna Cole's books... Continue reading
Parent of a 1 and 3 year old Written byChristopher P. July 13, 2017

Educational and sass-free

The only show we've really liked having on for the boys is Magic School Bus. The content is solid, the characters likable, and their attitudes are "ca... Continue reading
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What's the story?

\"Almost every day, something weird happens\" in Ms. Frizzle's class as a diverse group of kids -- including whiz-bang Dorothy-Ann and reluctant Arthur -- head into the Magic School Bus, which can transform into a plane, an inflatable raft and more as it travels through time and space. With their wacky but always cool teacher by their side, they go inside the Earth, explore climate change, get up close with dinosaurs, etc. There's a lot of information to absorb: Along with the story's text, kids pick up more information through the students' dialogue, their reports -- which run along the sides of the page -- and detailed illustrations, which show, for example, all the different ways neighbors produce carbon dioxide by working and traveling around their homes.

Is it any good?

There's a reason this has become such a long-standing hit with kids -- and parents, too! For more than 20 years, Ms. Frizzle and her class have helped break down basic scientific information into chunks that kids can easily digest and remember. The fun gimmicks -- like the ever-changing bus and Ms. Frizzle's ever-changing outfits, which reflect each book's theme -- will keep kids engaged as they devour book after book in this series. Because the books are text-heavy, they work better when kids can read them themselves; a read-aloud will simply take too long. But, parents, you should get on the bus, too. You'll be surprised at how much you can learn along the way!

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about their favorite fact from each book. What did you learn during the class' journey?

  • Would you like a teacher like Ms. Frizzle? What would be fun -- or hard -- about being in her class?

  • What would you own dream field trip be?

Book details

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