Ms. Frizzle and her students are back yet again for another set of adventures in another new single-disc compilation of episodes. The new compilation, The Magic School Bus: In a Pickle offers audiences four more episodes that see Ms. Frizzle and her students investigate the process that turns a cucumber into a pickle in the set’s lead episode. That episode is joined by two more episodes and a bonus fourth episode that investigates another way that something rotting actually benefits other living beings. The kids also learn how water molecules and how microbes create different scents. Regardless of which episode viewers choose, each episode offers plenty of family friendly entertainment and equally fun science lessons worth watching again and again.
The lead episode in The Magic School Bus: In A Pickle sees Ms. Frizzle out on “trial” by her own students after Keesha’s cucumber has “gone missing.” Ms. Frizzle is the main suspect since the cucumber was left in the classroom while the kids were on vacation. This is a great set-up for this episode’s lesson as “The Friz” has to prove her innocence. And it’s a creative way to let the kids take control before learning that there’s so much more to the world than they realize. It’s an example of writing done right. What kid doesn’t like doing adult things such as playing court? That makes the episode even more relatable and enjoyable for viewers of all ages. It’s just one of the truly standout episodes included in this compilation. For that matter, it’s just one example of writing done right. The writing in all four episodes included in this set provides its own share of entertainment.
The writing behind all four episodes included in The Magic School Bus: In A Pickle is impressive first and foremost because of its ability to entertain and inform audiences. The irony of the writing is that many parents will be amazed at what they have actually forgotten since they themselves were children. As Jeff Foxworthy proved with his short-lived show, Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?, we lose a lot as we get older. So keeping this in mind, the balance of entertainment and educational content in each episode makes for another wonderful starting point for both parents and children alike. What’s more, when one takes into account the current state of public education in America, a set such as this becomes an increasingly important, not just entertaining, set for any family. While it may have been off the air for some time, its material is still just as impactful as any classroom if not more so.
The writing behind each episode in this set is just as important as it is educational. Its animation is just as impressive. This critic has noted many times before the increasing de-evolution of animation in children’s programming and the connected dangers of that de-evolution. More and more programs across the board are switching to either flash animation or CG based “animation” in general. The Magic School Bus was neither of these. Each episode of this show–including the ones in this set–was hand drawn. One might ask what makes this difference so important. This is important as it serves as a starting point for another discussion. The discussion in question is of the show’s identity. Anyone that remembers the days of classic hand drawn animation will recall how every cartoon had its own animation style, thus helping to establish its identity. This cartoon definitely had its own identity thanks to its original hand drawn animation style. It’s one more aspect of this new release that especially parents and teachers will appreciate. It isn’t the last of the set’s positives, either.
So much was done right with the episodes included in The Magic School Bus: In A Pickle. The episodes culled for this set are each impressive examples of what still makes it a fan favorite cartoon to this day. It is a fan favorite among viewers of every age. There is one more aspect of this compilation that makes it a nice addition to any family’s home library. That aspect is that all four episodes contained within this set follow one recurring theme so to speak. Each one sees the class shrinking down to microscopic size as it learns its lessons. From learning how water and soap react with dirt to how smells form to how microbes turn a cucumber into a pickle, all three of the set’s main episodes follow that same theme of the class learning about the microscopic world. The bonus fourth episode, The Magic School Bus: Meets the Rot Squad doesn’t take the class into the microscopic world. But it does see the class shrinking down once again. This time, the class learns a biology lesson and even an environmental lesson. So while it may not go directly with the set’s other episodes, it’s still a nice addition and worth the watch every time. The single-disc compilation is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered online direct from the New Kideo website at http://www.newkideo.com. Parents and teachers can also keep up with the latest releases from New Kideo on the official New Kideo Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/NewKideo. Even more information from Scholastic is available online at http://www.scholastic.com and http://www.facebook.com/Scholastic.
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