My kids are obsessed with the adventurous 魔法校车 / 魔法校車 Magic School Bus books in Chinese, and I have fond memories of reading the original English version as a kid! This wonderful series teaches science topics in a fun, dynamic, imaginative way.
Good news: Magic School Bus books has been published in simplified and traditional Chinese and has Mandarin audio narration! I’ll show you the different versions which vary by format and difficulty level. Links for where to buy and listen are at the end of the post!
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Magic School Bus Book Review
When we first began to learn Chinese a few years ago, the Magic School Bus series was way too intimidating.
Now we love the series so much and have 73 Chinese Magic School Bus books in simplified Chinese! I know that’s a big number, but we’re totally obsessed with these Magic School Bus. This series keeps my kids excited about reading and re-reading Chinese books every day!
Although the books are still challenging with tiny font, my 6-year-old daughter can read most of the picture and bridge books.
I am not sure how much my 3-year-old son understands since these books are pretty abstract for little ones. But he loves to listen to the narration while looking at the pictures!
About the Magic School Bus series
This fictional science series features a teacher, Ms. Valerie Frizzle, her students, and a magical school bus. The classroom has some diversity and includes Asian-appearing children and also people of color.
When the class learns a topic, such as ocean, solar system, or human body, the magical school bus can shrink or morph into special vehicles.
Then, the bus takes the kids to these impossible destinations!
The science of space, anatomy, and other topics are mixed with make-believe events.
At the end of each book, the author explains which parts are fact or fiction.
Try this: 15 Ways to Encourage Your Child to Read
Types of Chinese Magic School Bus Books
Multiple versions of the book series are available for different reading levels.
We purchased a very comprehensive set. However, some stores only sell partial book sets or individual books.
The books we have are listed below in general order of difficulty:
- 桥梁版 (Qiáoliáng bǎn / Bridge books) – 全20册 (20 books）
- 图画书版 (Túhuà shū bǎn / Picture books) – 全12册 (12 books)
- 人文版 (Rénwén bǎn / Culture books) – 全3册 (3 books）
- 动画版 (Dònghuà bǎn / Cartoon books) – 全10册 (10 books）
- 手工益智版 (Shǒugōng yì zhì bǎn / Craft picture books) – 1 2合辑，12册 (12 books)
- 阅读版 (Yuèdú bǎn / Chapter books) – 全16册 (13 books)
Comparison of Magic School Bus Books in Chinese
Here are photos of the various magic school bus books.
As you will see, the 桥梁版 Chinese bridge books have the least amount of words per page. My daughter finds these to be the easiest of all Magic School Bus Books.
The 图画书版 original picture books, 人文版 culture books, 动画版 cartoon books, 手工益智版 craft picture books are all of similar difficulty.
Most challenging are the 阅读版 chapter books. Unfortunately, this subset is not readable by Luka Reading Robot.
1. Magic School Bus Bridge Books 桥梁版
- Crazy Trip In Forest 疯狂的树叶旅行
- Lost In The Snow 雪野迷踪
- Leave The Nets 飞离鸟巢
- Space Explorers 月球漫步
- Polar Bear Patrol 北极探险
- Has a Heart 体验心脏
- Trip Deep In The Sea 像螃蟹一样爬
- Dinosaur Detectives 与恐龙一起飞翔
- The Search For Missing Bones 丢失的牙齿
- Let’s Fly 乘风飞翔
- First Thanksgiving 第一次感恩节
- The Build of Statue of Liberty 建造自由女神像
- Through The Storm 经历暴风雨
- Trip To Outerspace 飞向太空
- Winter Sleep 冬眠
- The Truth About Bats 在蝙蝠洞里
- Recycle 回收利用
- Twister Trouble 困在网中
- The Great Shark Escape 鲨鱼奇遇
- The Giant Germ 战胜病菌
2. Magic School Bus Picture Books 图画书版
These are the original 12 books in the Magic School Bus series!
Here are the titles:
- Inside the Earth 地球内部探秘
- Inside the Human Body 在人体中游览
- In the Time of the Dinosaurs 追寻恐龙
- The Electric Field Trip 漫游电世界
- Inside a Beehive 奇妙的蜂巢
- Lost in the Solar System 迷失在太阳系
- Explores the Senses 探访感觉器官
- Inside a Hurricane 穿越飓风
- On the Ocean Floor 海底探险
- At the Waterworks 水的故事
- Climate Challenge 气候大挑战
- The Science Fair Expedition 科学博览会
3. Magic School Bus Culture Books 人文版
Mrs. Frizzle’s Adventures focuses on the teacher without the magical bus!
This sub-series has 3 books:
- Mysterious Egypt 埃及大旅行
- Imperial China 中国大游历
- Medieval Castle 城堡大进攻
Of these, only the Egypt and China books are readable by Luka Reading Robot.
Below are pictures from Imperial China 中国大游历.
4. Magic School Bus Cartoon Books 动画版
The Magic School Bus Cartoon Books 动画版 are similar in layout and difficulty level as their regular picture books.
This set as 10 books:
- Blows Its Top 深入火山
- Gets Baked in a Cake 蛋糕的秘密
- Gets Eaten 有趣的食物链
- Rot Squad 腐烂小分队
- Make A Rainbow 点亮彩虹
- See Stars 星星诞生记
- Inside Ralphie 与病菌作战
- Plants Seed 种子的奥秘
- Kicks Up A Storm 气象超人
- In The Arctic 把热留住
5. Magic School Bus Craft Books 手工益智版
The Magic School Bus Craft Books 手工益智版 are just like the Magic School Bus Cartoon Books 动画版.
The difference is that these 12 books include simple crafts and experiments related to the book topic.
- Sound 声音博物馆
- Ants 蚂蚁世界
- Buoyancy 谁主沉浮
- Reptile 动物的体温
- Desert 沙漠之旅
- Flight 飞行的秘密
- Meteorite 神秘的太空石
- Salmon 三文鱼的洄游
- Light 光的魔力
- Butterfly 蝴蝶的秘密
- Water Cycle 水的循环
- Plants Seeds 植物生长的奥秘
Below is the Chinese Magic School bus book about sound 声音博物馆.
Here’s a simple experiment with water in cups.
6. Magic School Bus Chapter Books 阅读版
Last but not least are the chapter books, the most challenging version of the Magic School Bus series.
These book are black-and-white with full pages of Chinese text.
- The Truth about Bats 探寻蝙蝠
- The Search for the Missing Bones 觅骨寻踪
- The Wild Whale Watch 怒海赏鲸
- Space Explorers 探索宇宙
- Twister Trouble 追踪龙卷风
- The Giant Germ 走进微生物
- The Great Shark Escape 逃离巨鲨
- Penguin Puzzle 拜访企鹅
- Dinosaur Detectives 恐龙侦探
- Insect Invaders 追踪昆虫
- Amazing Magnetism 奇妙的磁力
- Polar Bear Patrol 巡航北极
- Electric Storm 穿越雷电
- Voyage to the Volcano 火山之旅
- Butterfly Battle 奋飞的蝴蝶
- Rocky Road Trip 解密岩石
Mandarin Chinese narration
Since I’m not fluent in Mandarin Chinese, I’m grateful that most of these books have audio.
My children and I have learned so much Chinese vocabulary from listening to audiobooks! Luka Reading Robot narrates all Magic School Bus books except the chapter book series.
Where to buy Magic School Bus books
Author: Joanna Cole
Where to buy:
- Simplified Chinese
- Traditional Chinese
Have you read the Magic School Bus books in English or Chinese with your kids?
Did you go all out and get the full set of Magic School Bus books or were you able to find some at the library?
What did your child(ren) think of the Magic School Bus books?
What were their favorite science topics?
We’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below!