The Magic School Bus

Common Sense Media says

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
Not applicable
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.

Parents say

Kids say

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?


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

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more


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, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 16 years old Written bymkalv October 21, 2010

Fun, educational show.

This is a classic show. Its far from perfect, but it does make learning fun, so I give it points for that.
What other families should know
Educational value
Teen, 13 years old Written bymanay_4511 September 15, 2010

The best show ever!

This is the very best show for children of all ages.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 5 and 5 year old Written byBarby40 August 2, 2009

Great show!

My kids are 5 1/2 and have been watching since they were 4. It always keeps their attention and they learn about science!


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