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Mad Natter is a big fan of all things science, but he does particularly love space science. As such, one of the things he got for Christmas (and loved!) was the The Magic School Bus: The Secrets of Space kit. I was The Mean Mom, and made him wait until we could put it into our science rotation - there's only so much I can cope with in terms of half-finished projects, and Mad Natter has been notorious in the past for getting partway through anything, and then dropping it in the middle of the living room for everyone to trip over until he decides he's done it and throws it away. But, we've just finished, and I'm super excited to talk about it.
The first thing: the box does not contain everything in the picture there. The paints, paintbrush, and flashlight do not come with the set. A group of gamers at the house recently had a ten minute sit down over whether or not the black/gray and white diagram should, or should not, have Pluto on, and whether or not a mistake was made by not labeling the sun. So hey, kind of fun for all ages, though not really long term fun for the adult set.
Mad Natter had a wonderful time with each of the projects, though he was rather sad that each one wasn't longer and more in-depth. But, there's really only so much you can do with a box set, and before he came into his new attention span, this would have been exactly perfect in length to keep him without his dropping off at the end.
The only issue I had with the set was with the star chart. The set includes a set of constellation cards (those are the little black ones on the right), and the kids are asked to use the constellation box to determine what constellations are on the cards. However, several of the constellations were not printed on our star chart. I'm glad I checked it before I let Mad Natter at it, or all hell would have broken loose when he couldn't find the charts. Instead, I went out the night before and printed out new star charts that had the appropriate constellations on them, so we were able to complete the activity without meltdown.
All told, while the set was suddenly far less involved than Mad Natter would have liked, it was exactly what I've come to expect from Magic School Bus. It was a cursory explanation of various Earth and space science concepts, accurate as far as it went, and simple enough for Mad Natter to easily do the experiments necessary on his own. I think this would be a set better for children maybe somewhere in the 3-5 arena rather than the 5+ one, but all told, it was exactly what we needed, when we needed it.