[alert variation=”alert-info”]Publisher: Scholastic Paperback Nonfiction
Formats: Paperback, Kindle, eBook
Purchase: Powell’s | Amazon | IndieBound | Barnes & Noble | iBooks[/alert]

This book, billed as a “nonfiction companion to the original Magic School Bus series,” has plenty of fun facts, but may disappoint readers who were looking for the excitement of the original series.

In the Polar Animals book, the original characters from the Magic School Bus books—Ms. Frizzle and her group of knowledge-loving students—travel to both poles and learn how animals survive in such extreme temperatures. The book has many of the same conventions that made the original series so successful: Ms. Frizzle’s thematically appropriate snowsuit printed with walruses and owls (complete with owl earrings), the sidebars in the form of students’ reports, and occasional amusing antics from class clown Arnold or Ms. Frizzle’s pet chameleon Liz.

But the book lacks a story, which makes the presentation of facts seem exactly that: a collection of facts, which, despite being very interesting, comes across as rather dry. Young readers will learn about the polar ice caps and their inhabitants, but they might not have fun or be entertained while reading.

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