The Magic School Bus Rides Again

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
The Magic School Bus Rides Again TV Poster Image
Great reboot encourages curiosity about science and nature.
 Parents recommend

Parents say

age 4+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 5+
Based on 4 reviews

We think this TV show stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Educational value

This series is an excellent tool for introducing or expanding on scientific concepts. The pace is so fast that it doesn't expand much on finer details, but the broader subject is presented in an intriguing way for grade-schoolers and it's unique in its immersive style.

 

Positive messages

The characters' experiences emphasize the value of curiosity, taking chances, getting messy, and learning by trying new things. Strong social themes like honesty and taking responsibility for your actions. Ethnic diversity in the class of students.

 

Positive role models & representations

Ms. Frizzle encourages her students to make the most of every learning opportunity, even when it means stepping out of their comfort zone. In doing so, she helps them learn about science and the natural world, but also about themselves and their ability to adapt and grow.

 

Violence & scariness

Some scenarios put the kids in presumed peril, showing them falling down cliffs or being chased by creatures of all kinds, but it never feels like they'll meet any real danger, given their access to magic. Some insects and bugs look scary in life size.

 

Sexy stuff
Language
Consumerism

This reboot is inspired by the Scholastic book series of the same name.

 

Drinking, drugs & smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Magic School Bus Rides Again is a reboot of the popular '90s series The Magic School Bus, itself inspired by the Scholastic book series of the same name. Most of the characters are the same, with the notable exception of the original Miss Frizzle passing the torch to her younger sister, Ms. Frizzle (voiced by SNL's Kate McKinnon). Each episode introduces a broad scientific concept (ecosystems, for instance) and follows the class as they embark on a magical field trip to learn about the concept in a hands-on way. A parallel story involves a lesson that one or more of the characters learn from the experience. Though the educational content is fairly one-dimensional, the show does a great job reminding viewers of the importance of cultivating their curiosity and learning from it.

User Reviews

Parent of a 5 year old Written byMichele R. October 18, 2017

Cures Nostalgia!

I absolutely LOVED this show as a child. It helped foster my interest in the sciences and always investigating things. Now my 6-year-old daughter can feel the s... Continue reading
Parent Written byK E October 7, 2017
Loved the original version and so did my kids. My kids like the new version even more. They walk away talking about science and nature and sharing what they l... Continue reading
Kid, 8 years old October 6, 2017

Good and bad, all at the same time

I think it is okay. I did not like that the animation was different. I liked that they go on the same adventures.
Kid, 11 years old October 6, 2017

Magic School Bus flops!

I didn't like "Magic School Bus Rides Again" because, for one, the animation wasn't good, making the characters look like different students... Continue reading

What's the story?

It's the start of another school year, and students eagerly await the return of their eccentric teacher, Miss Frizzle (voiced by Lily Tomlin). Imagine their surprise when it's a different Frizz -- her younger sister, Ms. Fiona Felicity Frizzle (Kate McKinnon) -- who shows up instead in THE MAGIC SCHOOL BUS RIDES AGAIN! With Miss Frizzle embarking on fact-finding journeys across the globe, she hands over the keys to the Magic School Bus to her little sis and bids the class well on their new endeavors. So begins a new chapter in the adventures of the world's greatest field trip vehicle, which can transform into any shape and transport its riders anywhere they want to go.

Is it any good?

Science class has never been as fun as it is under the direction of Ms. Frizzle, who's every bit as enthusiastic and quirky as her big sister. With her at the helm, the class delights in getting up close and personal with all different aspects of the natural world, from broad ecosystems to the smallest inhabitants of remote islands. Not only does the bus adapt and transform to the needs of the day, but Ms. Frizzle also has the ability to change the kids' sizes and shapes, which creates some comical scenarios and a unique perspective for viewers to learn.

The Magic School Bus Rides Again doesn't mess too much with a good thing, and kids who have watched the '90s series will appreciate the generally consistent cast and overall style of the show. The new kid in class -- Jyoti (Birva Pandya) -- reflects the show's commitment to continued diversity, and its gender balance among the STEM-interested students is another plus.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the STEM topic explored in each episode of The Magic School Bus Rides Again. Was it a new one to you? What examples of it do you see around where you live? How could you explore it yourself?

  • How does Ms. Frizzle encourage her students to experiment and learn? How do they respond when they make mistakes? How do mistakes help us learn? What kinds of topics are you most curious about? Why is curiosity an important character strength

  • Another theme in this series is adapting to new experiences and situations. Is this something you do easily, or is change hard for you? What evidence of adaptation do you see in the natural world?

TV details

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