The Magic School Bus Is Still A Fun Family Ride After Twenty-Five Years

Courtesy: Scholastic/New Video

Twenty-five years is a long time for a TV show to air.  It’s an especially long time for a show that lasted only fifty-two episodes.  Even at fifty-two episodes, Scholastic’s The Magic School Bus has lasted a quarter of a century on air.  Numerous other shows have come and gone since The Magic School Bus first debuted.  But few have had the lasting impression that this family classic has had.  In celebration of The Magic School Bus’ twenty-fifth anniversary, Scholastic is giving families and teachers alike the opportunity to enjoy the series in its entirety on DVD September 4th.

The MagicSchool Bus:  The Complete Series is one of the best DVD releases and best box sets that any family can own this year.  All fifty-two episodes from the show’s original run are contained on eight separate discs.  Each disc is contained in its own slim case contained within the larger box.  This protects the discs, and thus increases their life for possibly another generation.  Scholastic and New Video are to be commended for this. 

The packaging for The Magic School Bus:  The Complete Series is only one part of the whole that makes this set worth the money.  When viewers decide on separate episodes, they are given a short summary of each episode’s story.  These episode summaries are also included in the bonus Activity Booklet and Parents’ Guide that is also included in the set.  The episodes themselves are presented exactly as they originally aired, complete with the post show “call-in’s” with the show’s producer (voiced by Malcolm-Jamal Warner—The Cosby Show). 

Getting back to the bonus Activity Booklet and Parents’ Guide, it is a nice addition to the set.  Not only does is offer a complete episode guide, but it also offers a handful of ideas for teachers and parents alike to use in coordination with what children are learning through the course of their school year.  For instance, it offers viewing tips for parents and teachers.  It mentions for parents to talk with their kids about what they’re learning at school before viewing the episodes.  That will allow parents to decide which of the episodes their kids could watch as an additional tool.  It even mentions viewing the episodes more than once to help kids really get the idea of what Ms. Frizzle and her class are studying.  This applies for teachers, too, as it will help show them ingenious ways to get their students to answer their won questions.  This is such a simple tool.  But it will go a very long way in teaching young audiences today.

Being that there are fifty-two episodes to watch, there’s something for everyone.  Given, there are little dated pieces here and there such as the older style computers, or that Pluto is still considered a planet in the very first episode.  But that can easily be forgiven.  What matters in that first episode is the fun of seeing Ms. Frizzle and her class blast off into space to study the planets.  Of course it isn’t their only adventure.  The class also gets to go to a coral reef, inside the human body (twice), and even to a supposedly haunted house in the episode, “The Magic School Bus In The Haunted House.”  Being that Halloween is coming up, that would be a great episode.  Not only is it a fun creepy episode, but it also teaches about the science of sound in a way in which young audiences would understand.

The MagicSchool Bus:  The Complete Series is a wonderful set for the entire family to own.  It’s one of those rare shows that continue to transcend generations, even a quarter of a century after its debut.  For those that might not be able to get their hands on the complete set, worry not.  That’s because again thanks to Scholastic and New Video, there are also six volumes of complete episodes available at a lower price available now.  Four of the sets are single disc compilations with four episodes each.  And the remaining two sets have three discs each, complete with twelve episodes.  To get more information on The Magic School Bus, parents and teachers can go online to http://www.scholastic.com, http://www.newkideo.com, http://www.facebook.com/newkideo, and http://www.facebook.com/Scholastic.  

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