Confused Wanda.jpg "How can Ms. Frizzle be with YOU when she's with US?"
Confusing, right, Wanda? This article's about the character. Perhaps you were looking for the article about his body as a location.

Arnold Matthew Perlstein is a student in the Frizzle class in many media.  His book counterpart debuted in "At the Waterworks" and his TV counterpart debuted in "Gets Lost in Space".  His TV counterpart is voiced by Amos Crawley (MSB, S01) and Danny Tamberelli (MSB, S02-S04) in the 1994 series and by Miles Koseleci-Vieira (S01-S02) and Roman Lutterotti (S03) in the Rides Again series. His frizPad is green and his signature colors are green and blue. In "The Frizz Connection", he appears on the Reliable Bus.

In the 1986-2020 book series and Ms. Frizzle's Adventures


Arnold is the shy kid in the class, always thinking to himself that he should have stayed home the day of a field trip.  To show his timidity, he uses thought bubbles and rarely uses speech bubbles in the dialogue sections of the books.


Arnold is a blonde-haired, bespectacled boy with a yellow-and-white striped polo.  He wears blue jeans and blue sneakers for leg- and footwear.

Storyline (1986 books)

In Inside the Human Body, the kids were so excited to go to the human body museum, but the Friz suddenly had an idea for a weird field trip: inside an actual human body!  She drove to the park for lunch, but when the kids were finished eating, she left Arnold to stay behind and eat the class once they became food-sized on the Bus.

In Inside a Hurricane, Arnold meets a sentient weather radio who mysteriously knows his name.  After he and the radio accidentally fall out of the Bus on a field trip inside a hurricane, he gets lost and falls into the stormy ocean.  Later, he gets rescued by a fisherman and his wife.  Suddenly, the class reunites with him when they encounter him on the roof of a building.

In the video games


In this continuity, Arnold's personality is similar to his book and TV counterpart.


His appearance is the same as in the books.

In the television canon (1994 series and Rides Again)


Arnold generally dislikes field trips. Most of the time, he is usually an unwilling participant. Despite his usually timid moments and some nervous breakdowns, he has shown to be brave when he's needed to, and he's very loyal when it comes to his classmates, even taking up a leadership role a number of times. He has a huge interest in rocks and minerals and is the youngest member of an organization called GRANITE (the Great Rock Admirers' National Institute of Tectonics Experts). He also mentions an interest in colors. He has shown interest in conserving the environment, as he wanted to save the rotting log in "Meets the Rot Squad" and have the class collect stuff for recycling in "Holiday Special."

Despite his paranoia for field trips, he does love having her as a teacher and deep down enjoys the adventures, but is too nervous to show it and he doesn't usually like surprises. He even stood in her defense when the class went on trial during "In a Pickle" and when his cousin, Janet, tried to show off and say that her teacher is better than his, Arnold interrupted her before she could finish and said, "Nobody is better than Ms. Frizzle" during "Gets Lost in Space. Arnold just likes to stay safe because of all the dangerous happenings, but deep down, he genuinely and deeply does care for his friends and teacher and enjoys a wonderfully wild ride on the Magic School Bus (just not too wild).

Appearances and clothes

In the 1994 series, Arnold's appearance is similar to his book counterpart, but in this canon, he is a curly redhead instead of a blondie.  The light-blue eyeglasses, a yellow and white striped long-sleeved polo shirt, blue jeans and navy and white sneakers are the same as in the books. In the Rides Again series, his hair is much more straight and cut into a bowl.  He wears rectangular glasses instead of circular-framed glasses, and he wears a green sweater over his trademark striped shirt.  His facial features are shown much more clearly, and he is revealed to have freckles and green eyes.

In the 1994 series, his signature colors are yellow and blue, but in Rides Again, the yellow is replaced with green.

Storyline in the TV canon

1994 series

Season 1

Arnold hauntedhouse01.png

Arnold introduces his cousin, Janet, to his class in "Gets Lost in Space", and he tries to keep the peace when Janet's arrogance sours the rest of the class. It's when Janet talks down on Ms. Frizzle that he shows his loyalty to his teacher and suggests a field trip to the "bigger" planetarium, showing Janet that "nobody is better than Ms. Frizzle." Arnold unknowingly eats the class in "For Lunch". He's happy to have stayed behind while the others go on a field trip, but after finding out where they went, he swears never to miss a field least, not until after the "next one" (Ms. Frizzle's dinosaur dress foreshadowing their next trip). He and Keesha find themselves in a difficult situation when they forget their partner report in "Gets Eaten". He loses Wanda's bullfrog, Bella, in "Hops Home" and tries to keep her out of harm when they look for Bella, as Wanda's too distracted to realize she's about to walk off of a tree or get swept down a river. In "Meets the Rot Squad", he tries to convince everyone to leave the rotted-out log on the abandoned lot the way it is. Everyone is shocked when he suggests a field trip to the desert in "All Dried Up" after Phoebe declares they need to help the animals there. He feels confident about the trip, thanks to his Field Trip Survival Guide.

Season 2

MSB S2 E6 026.jpg

While on a field trip to a dinosaur dig in "The Busasaurus", Dr. Carmina Skeledon lets Arnold see the fossilized egg Ms. Frizzle found. He still has it when they go back in time, and when he lets Phoebe look at it, she loses it to an Ornithomimus. He ends up squaring off with a Tyrannosaurus Rex after Ms. Frizzle makes him giant-sized, saving the class. In "Butterfly and the Bog Beast", he's the only one not to side with Janet against Phoebe when the former suggests "Bog Beast" for the school mascot. His main reason is because he doesn't know what a bog beast is. He's caught by his crush, Tiffany, when he and Wanda get water from the girls' bathroom in "Wet All Over". Despite the embarrassment, it's implied at the end that Tiffany likes him, too. He serves as Ms. Frizzle's defense attorney in "In a Pickle". While in the bus' gas tank, Arnold says that he hates the smell of gasoline and was out on the engine telling the class what was going on while they were in the cylinder in "Revving Up".

Season 3

MSB S3 E2 011.jpg

After losing the heat from his hot cocoa, Ms. Frizzle takes the class to the Arctic ("In the Arctic"). When Ralphie, Phoebe, Liz, and the bus get stranded on an ice flow, Arnold makes it his responsibility to save them while also trying to keep everyone else warm. He and Dorothy Ann compete in the 10th Annual International Show & Tell Competition in "Shows and Tells", but instead of bringing a rare collection of rocks, he brings some artifacts he found in his attic that belonged to his great-aunt, the famous archaeologist Arizona Joan (a parody of the film character Indiana Jones). In "Rocks and Rolls", he fears that the statue he was supposed to carve (not by hand) is ruined, but instead, the rock slide the class caused on the side of a mountain carves a monument of the town founder.

Season 4

MSB S4 E2 459.jpg

Ralphie teases Arnold in "Meets Molly Cule" after the famous rock star, Molly Cule, calls him "Sugar.", this caused Arnold to blush. However, this is what helps him figure out that her hood ornament was made of sugar. In "Cracks a Yolk", Arnold helps hatch the chick the class planned to replace Mr. Ruhle's lost rooster, Giblets, and the success prompts Dorothy Ann to kiss him. When Giblets returns, Mr. Rhule gives the chick to Dorothy Ann and Arnold, the latter suggesting they name it "Arnold Jr." In "Goes Cellular", he's completely orange on the night he's to receive GRANITE's Rocky Award. The class tries to compare his skin to Phoebe's, only to learn his favorite snack food made him turn orange. He's happy when Ms. Frizzle's electrician wants to buy all the light bulbs the class was trying to sell for Valentine's Day ("Gets Charged"). He becomes a fox along with Phoebe and Tim in "In the City", and he's partners with Phoebe in "Takes a Dive".

Rides Again series

Season 1

In "Frizzle of the Future", Arnold was unhappy to see that his favorite teacher, Valerie Frizzle, has become a research professor with a Ph.D and a new teacher, her sister, has replaced her.  In "Pigs in the Wind", he plays the part of pig 3 in The Three Little Pigs 2.  In "Hides and Seeks", he joins Dorothy Ann and the rest of the kids in the rainforest to help Jyoti, Tim, and Ralphie win a game of Walkerville Ultimate Hide and Seek.

Season 2

In "Making Magic", Arnold is so excited to go on a field trip to the beach, but instead they end up going to the actual sun with Mr. Ruhle to charge the Bus's battery.

Season 3

In "Kids in Space", Arnold takes on the role of safety officer during a field trip to the International Space Station. In "The Frizz Connection", it's his birthday and he decides to attend the International Balloon Festival in Albuquerque, NM as his "birthday field trip" on the Magic School Bus. Along the way, a strike of magic lightning affects Ms. Frizzle, causing her to split into three emotions: Goofy, Reliable, and Adventurous. The class (including Liz) is sent to different parts of the world, and he, DA, and Liz end up in Nova Scotia, Canada, with the reliable-teacher side of Ms. Frizzle.

Special episodes

For the class' last day before winter break in "Holiday Special", Arnold made the suggestion they collect recycled goods to take to the recycling center. He accidentally puts Wanda's beloved toy soldier in the pile, causing her to blame his "crummy idea" and wish that recycling had never been invented.


  • His parents first appear in "Going Batty," his father voiced by Elliott Gould. They make another appearance in "Rocks and Rolls" and "Goes Cellular". Mr. Perlstein also appears in "Holiday Special". Arnold seems to take after him, since in "Going Batty", he said "Maybe we should've stayed home tonight."
  • His only cousin is Janet Perlstein, whose personality mirrors his.
  • His great-aunt is the famous archaeologist Arizona Joan ("Shows and Tells").
  • In The Magic School Bus to the Rescue: Forest Fire, he has an uncle named Alex, who is a firefighter at a national park.
  • He mentions his sick grandmother in "Holiday Special". Assuming because his mother is already with her, she's his maternal grandmother.


  • Arnold is the shy kid in Ms. Frizzle's class.
  • He is the third student to have a birthday. It was celebrated in "The Frizz Connection".
  • In the television canon, he has been the most-explored human body, behind Ralphie. ("For Lunch", "Goes Cellular", "I Spy with My Animal Eyes")
  • In Tim's comic-book universe, The Adventures of Weatherman, he is named Captain Rock Man. ("The Battle for Rock Mountain")
  • His middle name, Matthew, is revealed in Ms. Frizzle's Adventures: Medieval Castle.
  • His favorite color is orange, unless it's on his skin. ("Goes Cellular")
  • He is Jewish. ("Holiday Special")
  • Bruce Degen mentioned that a friend of his son's was the original model for Arnold.
  • He has two allergens: pollen and pepper. ("Goes to Seed")
  • He enjoys winter, mainly because this means drinking hot cocoa. ("In the Arctic")
  • The book Lost in the Solar System reveals that he weighs 85 pounds when he did the fortune scale inserts. Phoebe also mentions that in the original-series game Explores the Human Body.
  • While crushes are only hinted at, he's had affection shown to him for and from four girls: Wanda ("For Lunch" (him fantasised himself breaking a record and her hugging him), "Holiday Special" (she was his secret Santa), "Hops Home" (they teamed up), "Meets the Rot Squad" (she imagined herself sitting under a tree with him) and "Gets Charged" (they were cupids at the end of the producer segment)), Phoebe (The opening credits (he held onto her shoulders and she smiled while they were rafting a river of lava) "The Busasaurus" (she swooned over his bravery) and "Goes Cellular" (she helped him when he was orange)), Tiffany ("Wet All Over" (he helped her up and held her hands at the end and blushed)), and even Dorothy Ann ("Gets Ready, Set, Dough" (he hugged her after she and Carlos got them out of the cake), "Shows and Tells" (They were supposed to do a show and tell together, but he managed to do it without her help, and they held up the trophy upon winning the Show and Tell competition) and "Cracks a Yolk" (she kissed him out of gratitude and he proceeded to blush).
  • While often cautious and nervous about field trips, he has never had a phobia revealed, unlike Carlos and Phoebe.
  • He flew on an eagle. ("Taking Flight")
  • He's been shown to be a big eater with Cheezie Weezies, Sea Wheedies, and Mallowblasters being among his favorite snacks.
  • It's possible he had some fight lessons, considering the boxing stance and martial arts he uses in "The Busasaurus".
  • He despises the smell of gasoline. ("Revving Up")
  • In the TV show, he has red hair, but in other media such as games and the books, he has blonde hair. The same applies to Janet.
  • He is mentioned a lot of times in the producer segments.
  • In the Spanish dub, his name is Arnoldo. In the German dub, his name is Andy.
  • He and Tim are the only main kids in the original series to have had their voice actors changed in the 2nd season. Arnold had been voiced by Amos Crawley in the 1st season. He was voiced by Danny Tamberelli in the 2nd-4th seasons due to Amos going through puberty after production for the 1st season ended and sometime before the 2nd season was in voice production, his voice was already too deep for him to continue voicing Arnold. The difference between the two voices is that Amos is Canadian, and Danny is American.
  • His second voice actor, Danny Tamberelli, also played Little Pete in The Adventures of Pete & Pete. He would later move on to working as a cast member of the sketch comedy show All That, and even later voiced/mocapped Jimmy in the Grand Theft Auto V.
  • In the last few episodes of the original series, Arnold's voice was noticeably getting deeper and nearly teenager-like despite being ten like everyone else in his class. The reason for this is because Danny was starting to go through puberty at the time.
  • According to the Magic Captain Planet Bus theory, Arnold grows up to be Wheeler.
  • He broke the fourth wall in "For Lunch", saying he would never miss another field trip, starting right after the next one, "The Busasaurus" (he looks at the viewers).
  • He was the first character to let the class enter his mouth explore his body. The second was Ralphie. (¨Inside Ralphie¨)
  • Whenever he is seen in the dark such as In The Haunted House and Gets a Bright Idea, (Along with Janet,) Arnold's shirt would sometimes turn green and his hair sometimes turn brown.
  • He is one of only four students to appear in both the TV series and all thirteen of the original books, the others being Dorothy Ann, Wanda and Tim.


External links

* Début | ** Briefly | --- Formerly | ^ In the books only
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.