My rating: ★★★★☆
I adore The Magic School Bus. The television show premiered the week after I was born, so I literally grew up with it. The non-Joanna Cole books that followed the success of the cartoon, however… those I can’t say I’m wholly fond of. Some of them infuriate me, actually, in their wild deviance from the nature of the program and the original books.
This, on the other hand, didn’t disappoint. It’s a very simple book, and would be wonderfully useful in daycare, preschool, or elementary school classrooms, or in the home libraries of parents with young children. Efficient readers over the age of five will find the writing and plot simplistic, but I was surprised to find that the science didn’t “dumb down” sensory function (in an objectionable way) for its young audience. Readers over the age of eleven (who go to schools with respectable science curricula) will probably not learn anything new from this, but it’s a wonderful way to teach an elementary schooler about the five most well-known senses and the organs and nerves involved.
Through the use of fill-in-the-blank rhymes, the narrative explores hearing, vision, touch, taste, and smell. The last page features some information about the senses of non-human animals–specifically, those animals who possess a specific sense far superior to ours.