Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Magic School Bus
The Magic School Bus is a series of books intended to teach scientific concepts to children. They were written between 1986 and 1999 by Joanna Cole and illustrated by Bruce Degen . The books feature the exploits of Ms. Frizzle and her class of students at Walkerville Elementary who board a magical school bus which takes them on educational adventures to space, under the Earth, into the human body, or to other such locations. The books were written in the first person from the point of view of a student in the Friz's class.
In 1994, the Magic School Bus concept was made into a television show of the same name by Scholastic Productions. Each episode runs about 30 minutes. The show originally aired on PBS in the United States, it being the first fully animated series to air on that network. The last episode was released in 1997, when the series was dropped to make room for more shows aimed at pre-schoolers. Fox Network now owns the series broadcast rights in the US and there are no plans to make more episodes. The Magic School Bus is also shown on TLC Network and Discovery Kids. After the last Magic School Bus book was released, Cole and Degen started in 2001 a new series called Ms. Frizzle's Adventures which teaches social studies. There are now two books in that series.
Since the Magic School Bus books present scientific facts in the form of stories in which fantastic things happen (for example, a bus turns into a spaceship, or children shrink to the size of blood cells), each book has a page at the end detailing in a humorous manner which parts of the book represented scientific fact and which were fanciful storytelling. In the TV show, this was replaced by a short scene at the end of each episode in which the producer of the show (voiced by Malcolm-Jamal Warner, of Cosby Show fame) receives phone calls from kids complaining about how some things that happened on the show couldn't happen in real life.
See Ms. Frizzle
Arnold Perlstein is a unique member of Ms. Frizzle's class in that he is the only student who does not enjoy her magical field trips and would rather go on a normal trip.
He is interested in rocks and geology. When he lost some rocks from his collection in the CD-ROM The Magic School Bus Explores Inside the Earth, the class went on a field trip to recover them. He was excited, until he found out that they would encounter volcanoes and other dangers. Arnold knew enough about rocks to be the first kid to become a member of Granite in The Magic School Bus Goes Cell-Ular. Arnold has reddish blond hair and wears round glasses. He is usually portrayed as something of wimp, especially since his catch-phrase is "I knew I should've stayed home today." Though he is often the butt of jokes in the series, he seems to be smarter and braver than he is given credit for.
Arnold has a know-it-all cousin named Janet (voiced by Renessa Blitz ), who first appeared in the book The Magic School Bus Lost in the Solar System, and appears often in the televison series, but not enough to be considered a regular.
Arnold is voiced by Danny Tamberelli.
Carlos Ramone is known for telling jokes. He has made many odd inventions, like an instrument and a rain-catcher. Carlos doesn't get along with Dorothy Ann. Carlos has a little brother named Mikey, who appeared in two episodes of the television series.
Carlos is voiced by Daniel DeSanto .
Dorothy Ann (aka D.A.) is a bookworm, her most prized possession being her pink book bag. She uses her books to research whatever the matter at hand is. In The Magic School Bus Sees Stars, she celebrated her ninth birthday. D.A. enjoys star gazing and has a telescope outside her bedroom window. She has a little sister.
Dorothy Ann has blonde hair, which she wears set in pigtails. In The Magic School Bus Goes On Air, when she took the bands out, her pigtails stayed in place. In a close up of her in The Magic School Bus Plays Ball, we can see she had blue eyes.
Dorothy Ann is voiced by Tara Meyer .
Keesha Franklin is probably the most sceptical of the students and arguably the most level-headed as well. She appears to a close friend of Phoebe and is voiced by Erica Luttrell .
Phoebe Terese has brown hair and would well deserve the title of "the compassionate one." She's very concerned with the well-being of animals and started an organisation called S.A.D.S. (Students Against Desert Scarcity) to help animals living in the desert in The Magic School Bus All Dried Up.
Phoebe transferred to Walkerville Elementary, where Ms. Frizzle teaches, from her old school (which, oddly enough, is named Phoebe's Old School.) In The Magic School Bus Goes to Seed the class went to her old school to pick up a plant, but Phoebe was worried the Friz would embarrass her. However, it turned out her old teacher not only knew Ms. Frizzle, but was a close friend.
Phoebe is voied by Maia Filar .
Ralphie Tenelli is interested mainly in sports. He frequently daydreams in Ms. Frizzle's class, where daydreams aren't a waste of time. Ralphie's mother (Dr. Tenelli, who is voiced Tyne Daly) is a medical doctor.
Ralphie is voiced by Stuart Stone .
Wanda Li has black hair, wears a red vest and pink blouse. Wanda's mother (voiced by Rosalind Chao) is a science writer, who once kept an alligator in the bathtub. Wanda's little brother, William, is clearly no more than four, as he is still learning how to speak. Wanda is very interested in adventure and "going where no kid has gone before." Thus, she serves as something of a foil to Arnold.
Wanda is voiced by Lisa Yamanaka .
Timothy (Tim) can usually be found with a notebook used for drawing pictures.
He is voiced by Andre Ottley-Lorant .
Note: Though only these eight students are featured in the television series, Ms. Frizzle's class was far larger in the original books which gives her a class of approximently fifteen students.
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