The Magic School Bus: Lost in the Solar System

Picture Book

Bibliographic Information: Cole, Joanna. The Magic School Bus: Lost in the Solar System. New York: Scholatic, 1990.

Plot Description:
Arnold’s cousin Janet joins Ms. Frizzle’s class for an informative adventure in outer space. She keeps bragging how her school is better, even as the school bus transforms into a rocket ship. The class visits the moon, the sun, the inner planets, the asteroid belt, and the outer planets. All the kids are relieved when they arrive back on Earth, and together make a mobile of the solar system.

Quantitative Reading Level: Lexile: 480; Accelerated Reader: 3.7

Qualitative Reading Analysis:
This book is written in third-person, focusing on teaching the reader about our solar system. Janet’s bragging quickly becomes annoying. Most words in the book are two syllables.

Content Area: Physical Science: Astronomy

Content Area Standard:

  • CCSS for Literature for K-5: #3 Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges; #4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, distinguishing literal from nonliteral language; #7 Explain how specific aspects of a text’s illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story; #10 Read and comprehend literature in grade level text complexity range.
  • CCSS for Informational Text for K-5: #2 Identify the main topic of a multiparagraph text as well as the focus of specific paragraphs within the text; #7 Explain how specific images (e.g., a diagram showing how a machine works) contribute to and clarify a text.
  • CCSS for Foundational Skills for K-5:  #4 Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

Curriculum suggestions:
This is a great early reader’s science book. It is best suited to 3rd grade through 5th grade. It explores themes like school and the solar system.

Character Diversity:
Mostly Caucasians, plus African-Americans, Asian-Americans, and Latinos.

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