Title: The Truth About Bats
Author: Eva Moore
Series: Magic School Bus Chapter Book # 1
Major Themes: Bats
Synopsis: Ms. Frizzle takes her class to Yosemite to learn about bats, especially the endangered Spotted Bat.
My children seem to like the Magic School Bus books. They like the picture books better, but the chapter books are quite interesting, as well. They are a good way to introduce the world around us. If you’ve never read a Magic School Bus book, they feature a teacher named Ms. Frizzle. Ms. Frizzle wears unique dresses which are covered with pictures of whatever it is that the class is studying—planets, bees, frogs, bats, or whatever. As the class learns about the topic, they go out to the old school bus to take a field trip. As soon as the bus starts off, it turns into something else so that they can get a firsthand look at their subject. Sometimes the bus becomes a rocket, or a helicopter, or goes inside a drop of rain, or even inside the human body.
In The Truth About Bats, the class is going on a field trip to Yosemite to see bats. The bus turns into a jet, then a helicopter, and after they land, it becomes a log cabin. A ranger shows the class how bats are caught with a mist net, and they have the chance to investigate bats up close. All the way through, we learn more about bats through mini reports by the children in the class.
If you can get past the fantasy element of the Magic School Bus, these books can be a great resource in teaching science. For my children, the fantasy part (the bus changing into various other items) is so obvious that they have had no problem differentiating between fact and fiction, and the books have been an effective means of teaching about the solar system, the water cycle, or other subjects.
WARNING: See the last paragraph.
Listening Level—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 12
Reading Independently—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 12