The Magic School Bus

 
(i)

 

A fun, frantic, and educational ride for kids.

What parents need to know

Educational value

The show -- which is based on a series of fun and educational books -- encourages learning about all aspects of science.

Positive messages

The show strongly promotes curiosity, experimentation, and learning about science.

Positive role models

Miss Frizzle, though unconventional, is an intrepid heroine, dedicated to teaching and learning. Her kids are a great bunch, too.

Violence & scariness

Some very mild peril during some adventures.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this series carries on the tradition begun in the beloved books it's based on. Wild teacher Miss Frizzle takes her students on adventures of every kind, teaching them (and viewers) about science as they go. At times the lessons may be a bit hard to follow, but there's plenty of learning and fun to be had.

What's the story?

THE MAGIC SCHOOL BUS is quite a vehicle. At the command of schoolteacher Miss Frizzle (voiced by Lily Tomlin), it can transform into any possible shape and size (including a "bathysphere" shaped like a bathtub) and carry a group of kids off to adventures in space, under the sea, or even inside the human body.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

There's lots of fun and learning along the way, though at times the pace is so fast that it can be easy to miss some of the educational value. Some of the effects used in the animation can be pretty strange, too -- the sight of a group of mussels with the heads of children, each wearing a jet pack, isn't something you see every day, but it will keep kids and parents entertained.

The Magic School Bus series strictly follows the formula of the book series created by Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen. From dinosaurs to beehives, kids get an inside peek into the inner workings, history, and function on a wide range of topics.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the explorations that the class goes on in each episode.

  • Also, what kind of field trips does your child go on? What would their dream field trip be? Ask your kids what they learned about at the end of each episode. Did they study that subject in school?

TV details

Cast:Lily Tomlin
Networks:ION, NBC, qubo
Genre:Kids' Animation
Topics:Cars and trucks, Adventures, Book characters, Science and nature
TV rating:TV-G
Available on:DVD

This review of The Magic School Bus was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

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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Adult Written byLowe's man May 16, 2014
 

even worse than Barney

Yes, you read that right. Several years ago MommaFish felt a need to tell her daughter that school isn't going to be like Miss Frizzle's classroom. It had better not be! And if it is, heaven help us! If I would've had Miss Frizzle, I would've asked Barney to come and rescue me and fly me into a purple phone booth. Sometimes, even our enemies are our friends! I saw this show once or twice in the late 90s, and my, was it overstimulating! If I would've had Miss Frizzle, I would've run for cover. Both CAPTAIN KANGAROO and 3-2-1 CONTACT made science fun and entertaining without being overstimulating. Those were much better shows! Another thing, at least according to marykins2004, is that there was one episode where the kids went inside a sick kid. Didn't they ask his doctor for permission first? If they didn't, Miss Frizzle was showing a reckless disregard for HIPPA laws and in the process encouraged her students to do the same. This show may be unwittingly encouraging unethical behavior. And let us not forget the simplistic language used on THE MAGIC SCHOOL BUS. Introduce your children to CAPTAIN KANGAROO or 3-2-1 CONTACT instead. You'll thank me. As for THE MAGIC SCHOOL BUS, let's be glad that it's gone, and let's hope that it stays gone!!!
Teen, 16 years old Written byLordoftheRings1997 December 3, 2013
 

Awesome, though it does promote evolution.

This show is great, and I only have one thing against it. This show does promote evolution, which is my one and only problem with it. For parents who are concerned with that, there are only one or two episodes to skip.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 15 years old Written byGregoryMccormick123 June 24, 2014
 

Classic!

This was a great show. Nice animation, very educational, funny characters, and cool plot. PBS Kids, bring The Magic School Bus back! It's way better than the crap you have today!

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