For four fact filled seasons from 1994 to 1998, "The Magic School Bus" paved the way for kids to believe that science was cool. As the television landscape continues to devolve, it's refreshing to see the Bus resurface in this Complete Series collection. Charming and educational, this animated delight is comprised of 52 thirty minute episodes. Ms. Frizzle (voiced by the distinctive and invaluable Lily Tomlin) takes her class of enthusiastic students on trips filled with fantasy and wonder. Astronomy, biology, geology, physics, chemistry, paleontology, and just about every other "ology" gets a visit or two through the course of the various field trips. However, if you're shopping "The Magic School Bus: The Complete Series," you probably want to know what is included with your investment.
Packaging: The box set looks great. The cover is done in a 3-D lenticular design that already ups the cool quotient. Each of the eight DVDs is enclosed in its own case within the set with complete episode information for easy access. Each individual season has thirteen episodes over two of the DVDs.
Content: 52 episodes at approximately 22 hours of complete running time. Recommended ages 4-10. English or Spanish language options.
Bonus Material: A 24 page kids activity guide is a nice addition (though not the most sophisticated presentation I've ever seen). More valuable is the Parents' Guide. This tool helps you orchestrate lessons with your kids and makes this an invaluable teaching tool. I, personally, love that "The Magic School Bus" advocates parent involvement as opposed to being just another TV show to plant your kids in front of (although that's certainly an option too).
Easily recommended, but perhaps cost prohibitive, there are smaller packaging choices available if you're on a budget. The ones I'm listing are new sets to DVDs (although episodes will overlap if you have previously released compilations). That is a potential pitfall to this buying strategy. If you want to collect "The Magic Bus," there are past DVD releases and new DVD releases and, if you're not diligent, it would be very easy to purchase some of the same episodes under different titles. The Complete Series choice will eliminate this possible duplication and offers every epsiode (some never before on DVD).
These two lower price compilation have an assortment of 12 episodes each:
(1) Blast Off! From Sea To Space
(2) Field Trip Fun and Games
Or even smaller, these four sets have about 90 minutes of content that bring episodes relating to a specific topic together:
(1) The Human Body
(2) Super Star Power
(3) Takes a Dive (coral reefs, tidal zones, etc)
(4) Takes Flight (weather, flying, etc.)
I love and respect "The Magic School Bus." Educational TV can be interactive and entertaining! KGHarris, 8/12.
"Magic School Bus" was a major part of my TV-watching experience when I was a child. So honestly, watching the series today is a trip down memory lane -- and despite some scientific changes (such as computer advances or Pluto being exiled), "Magic School Bus: The Complete Series" still stands as a good, educational show for kids.
The story series around Ms. Valerie Frizzle (Lily Tomlin), an eccentric elementary-school teacher who dresses according to the episode's theme. She has a sentient lizard named Liz, and a school bus that can transform into whatever the episode requires.
She has a class of about eight students, who never seem to have math class or anything that requires them to actually stay in the building. Instead, Ms. Frizzle takes them on daily field trips, which the shape-shifting/time-traveling/shrinking bus allows them to do... in a very hands-on manner.
So the class goes on adventures in the digestive system, the bloodstream, a pickle jar, space (multiple times), the desert, a rotting log, an anthill, the Cretaceous Period, the water cycle, the bus's engine, a toy plane, Herp Haven, a beehive, an old monster movie, the Arctic, a magic pinball machine, muscles, the rainforest, a chicken egg, the swamp, the interior of a nose, electrical currents, a computer, a coral reef and so on.
And they learn about all sorts of things -- erosion, stars, cells, friction, ecosystems, microbes, recycling, tidepools, muscle oxygenation, reptiles, bats, light tricks, sound etc. Nothing is hugely in-depth, but they give a pretty good start for kids.
"Magic School Bus" was made in the mid-1990s, but it's actually held up quite well. Except for a few things that have changed (Pluto and home computers), most of the science stuff in this series is still pretty valid. It conveys sometimes-complex scenarios (muscle oxygenation) in a simple, easy-to-understand manner.
And they mix it up with plenty of comedy (Ms. Frizzle's entrances are always... unique) and some explicit demonstrations of just how these things work (a frictionless baseball game!). One warning for adults, though: lots of puns. LOTS of puns.
Though the kids have the appearance of having been chosen so no ethnic group would feel left out, they're each given a pretty decent characterization. One is sensible and bookish, one is strong and impulsive, one is idealistic and always talking about her "old school," one is overimaginative, one is a clown, et cetera.
It's been around for almost two decades, but "Magic School Bus: The Complete Series" has actually aged pretty well, and is still a solid form of education/entertainment.
Suitable for ages 3+ these animated adventures combine entertainment with education to help kids "learn about science in a fun way". Each episode is a half-hour long. Only 54 were made in the mid-1990s, with no plans to make any more, unfortunately, as they are wonderful. I LOVE THEM ALL.
Joyful and uplifting, The Magic School Bus children's cartoon series is rare because it is one of the few completely free from violence and brutality. (Studies have found that youngsters tend to mimic "fantasy" negative behavior seen on TV - which anyone with some common sense knows - so why is there so much, and for decades? Especially since, as other research shows, children actually prefer non-violent entertainment.)
Recently I sent a relative the full set of 54 for her grandchild (aged 4, whom she was looking after while her daughter had to be away on mid-wifery training) and was told "She has watched and watched the Magic School Bus over and over, all of them".
The complete collection is finally available again. Don't miss!
on September 7, 2012
This is my first time seeing The Magic Schoolbus episodes, and I purchased them solely on other peoples reviews. We are a first year homeschooling family, and I have found that these videos are a wonderful complement and reinforcement of what we are learning. We have only watched 3 episodes so far, on habitats, kitchen science, and the water cycle. They are entertaining enough to keep my 10 year old interested, as well as the other 3 children. Even my 2 year old gets excited about the Magic Schoolbus! I would highly recommend them for educational and entertainment value.