Review: The Magic School Bus and the Climate Challenge by Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen

Hardcover: 48 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks; 1 edition (Mar 1 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0590108263
ISBN-13: 978-0590108263

About the Book:

When it’s time to make sense of science, turn to Ms. Frizzle! Global warming is the science story of the century, and it will affect the younger generations the most. So why not turn to the teacher kids like the most, Ms. Frizzle!

Have you noticed a trend this week on Rated By Kids? That's right! We're celebrating Earth Day. Today's book, The Magic School Bus and the Climate Challenge is the perfect choice on Earth Day to make our kids much more concious of what's happening in their world.

This book is recommended for ages 4-8 but I couldn't convince my nephews to help me with this one, so I had to get Jordan back on board. Having recently turned 8, I felt she would be a good judge of the actual reading level. Jordan became very engrossed in the pictures and dialogue boxes but still struggled with a few of the bigger words throughout; that's always an opportunity for parents to share additional knowledge with our kids, right?

Jordan's thoughts:

Jordan says this book is about The Magic School Bus and taking care of the Earth. It's about preserving things. She told me that long time ago, when she was 7 (Mom giggles at this point) she learned about solids, liquids, and gases (which are talked about within the story.) Then she told me that after gym class today, they put on gloves and went outside to pick up garbage from the school yard to help protect birds and cats from getting sick. Her favourite parts of the book were when the kids were painting a mural for their play, when the kids were travelling up and down the sunbeams, and the question section at the end that helps to answer some of the concerns kids may have reading this book (ie. "Can a class really go up in the sky and ride sunbeams into the earth?") Overall, Jordan gave this book 2 thumbs up :-)

Mom's thoughts:

Ms. Frizzle and her class are trying to research global warming. As "the Friz" and her class jet around the world (yes the bus turns into a plane), we see what's happening with the polar ice caps, farm land, water levels, etc. and what this means to plant and animal life. There are cute notes at the side, in the form of reports from the students with tidbits of extra info.The book concludes with lessons on what each person can do to help change our consumption of fossil fuels and other natural resources.

I think this is a great way for parents to reinforce the conservation ideals that are readily being taught in schools. From above, you can see that it's definitely a concern in Jordan's school, which I've noticed  on many days with lights not being turned on until later and making the kids aware through elements in science class and observance of Earth Hour and so on.

The Magic School Bus and the Climate Challenge is a refresher and an eye-opener for parents, too. With some technical explanations and samples of eco-friendly solutions, it shows that, if we all pitch in, we can make a difference! Kudos to Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen for making this a fun, colorful, educational tool.

Happy reading!
Jackie and Jordan
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