The Magic School Bus Series

 
Smart science-based series mixes facts and fun.

What parents need to know

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

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
Not applicable

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

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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?

QUALITY
 

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!

Families can talk 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

Author:Joanna Cole
Illustrator:Bruce Degen
Genre:Science
Topics:Cars and trucks, Great girl role models
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Scholastic Press
Publication date:July 24, 1986
Publisher's recommended age(s):6 - 9
Read aloud:6 - 9
Read alone:7 - 10
Available on:Paperback, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback

This review of The Magic School Bus Series was written by

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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