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"We're in space, Ralphie; this isn't a drill. You need to be serious."
—Keesha to Ralphie in “Kids in Space

Keesha Franklin is one of the eight/twenty students in the class, who was introduced along with Carlos in the sixth book. She has been portrayed by Erica LuttrellMSB/Mikaela BlakeRA.

She is the more level-headed and realistic student of the group, always wanting to “get the facts” about a topic. Due to her skepticism, she usually gets into arguments, particularly with Ralphie, who tends to live in his imagination. She's also shown to be ambitious, but unlike Arnold’s arrogant cousin, Janet, she will stop her pursuit when she realizes she is either wrong or is putting her classmates in danger.

Keesha was a student in Valerie Frizzle's class prior to her fifth grade year. In Gets Ants in Its Pants, her teacher other classmates agreed to help Keesha make a film themed after ants for the school science fair, and proceeded to conduct them on a field trip inside of an anthill, where they produce and film on location. Keesha and the Professor went on "trial" in "In a Pickle". Keesha often gets into fights with the other students, especially with Ralphie. In Flexes Its Muscles, the two got into a quarrel about a robot that the latter could build to do his chores so that he could participate in recess. When the Professor declares a field trip to the auto-parts shop to fix the Bus, Ralphie takes advantage of the trip and tries to prove Keesha wrong by building a robot out of car parts. But when the robot goes out of control, Ralphie eventually takes Keesha's side and destroys the robot. In Kicks Up a Storm, they also argued about the existence of Weatherman, a superhero that could create thunderstorms. During a field trip up in the clouds in which Ralphie takes the wheel under the superhero alias, Keesha dares him to create a thunderstorm using the Magic School Bus, which he does and regrets doing. Keesha is also shown to be forgetful, as she and Arnold both forgot to do a report in "Gets Eaten". Like always, it was solved with a field trip. Keesha has a bit of a bossy side as well, taking total charge and directing the play in "Pigs in the Wind" with no help from anyone else.

Appearance

Physical

Keesha is an African-American girl with tan skin, dark brown hair, and brown eyes. In the books and The Magic School Bus, her hair was styled in a similar vein to Professor Frizzle's. In The Magic School Bus Rides Again, her hair is styled in two buns, one on each side of her head. It is worth noting that in the first 26 episodes of The Magic School Bus Rides Again, her skin was noticeably lightened or "white-washed", making her appear multiracial or mixed. This also happened to Tim.

Outfits

Books, The Magic School Bus

In the original 1986–2021 books and the first part of The Magic School Bus dilogy, Keesha wore an oversized fuchsia sweater with a pastel blue stripe around it, cobalt tights, and fuchsia ballet flats.

The Magic School Bus Rides Again

Her current outfit consists of a pastel-orange dress, a magenta short-sleeved cardigan sweater, pastel blue socks, and black boots.

Biography

The Magic School Bus

Season 1

Keesha thinking about the connection between pond scum and a tuna fish sandwich.

In the episode “Gets Eaten”, Keesha and Arnold find themselves in a terrible dilemma when they both forgot their “two beach things that go together” report. However, Arnold stepped in a pond and sullied his shoe on the way to school, while Keesha brought a tuna sandwich for lunch. The two manage to pull their report together during a field trip under the ocean and through the food chain to learn that the scum on Arnold’s dirty shoe (phytoplankton) is “connected” to a tuna fish. While the class tries to think of an idea for the science fair, Keesha comes up with the idea to make a movie about an ant that she followed into class in “Gets Ants In Its Pants”. She becomes frustrated when she cannot find a central ant to focus on in the ant hill, and she even clashes with Carlos, who is getting annoyed with her pickiness and bossiness. But a pep talk with Phoebe makes her realize that there is not just “one” star for the film, and that the film should be about all of the ants. She butts heads with Ralphie in “Kicks Up a Storm” when they argue over how weather works. She's further annoyed by him taking on the superhero alter-ego of Weatherman and conducting the class on a field trip through the sky.

Season 2

Keesha still thinks the Professor is just a normal human teacher and not a vampire.

Keesha and Ralphie clash again in "Flexes Its Muscles" and "Going Batty." In the past, it's because he wants to build a robot to do everyone's chores; in the latter, it's because he is convinced the professor is a vampire. She takes Professor Frizzle to "court" when she learns she had something to do with her prize-winning cucumber disappearing ("In a Pickle"), and even butts heads with Arnold, who serves as the Frizz's defense attorney, only to learn that her cucumber was pickled to preserve it.

Season 3 and specials

Keesha is against Janet's belief that there is a ghost haunting Walkerville's old theater/re.

In "Gets a Bright Idea," Janet is upset that the school chose Keesha's light show idea over her magic show for a school-wide field trip. Janet decides to prove she can work magic with light to scare the class, but it backfires when Keesha realizes what she's up to. Janet, who mentions the fact that there is a ghost in the old theat(er/re) where the light show was held, causes Keesha to dogmatically believe otherwise. She stays with the class at the theat(er/re) after hours and notices that the "ghost" was just Janet using Pepper's ghost on Arnold.

Season 4

Keesha in the farm.

In “Goes on Air”, Ralphie is angry that all the class has to offer is an empty jar in the town space capsule, but Keesha knows there has to be more to air. In "Sees Stars", she wants to see stars for herself before the class buys one for Dorothy Ann's birthday, much to Tim's dismay who wants to make deadlines. She finally learns firsthand after the third star they bought explodes into a supernova, that stars are made out of dust and gas.

The Magic School Bus Rides Again

Season 1

Keesha plans to take a selfie in "actual space" for her application to astronaut camp.

In Pigs in the Wind, Keesha directs a stage production of a sequel to The Three Little Pigs, featuring a tower made entirely out of bricks dubbed "the Sty in the Sky" that the pigs (played by Wanda, Carlos, and Arnold) use as a method of defense against the Big Bad Wolf (played by Ralphie), who is back for revenge. When Janet gives the Sty a bad review on her blog because the prop was made of fake bricks and could be destroyed in one touch, Keesha tries to prove her wrong by building it out of real bricks and making it sturdy, with the help of the Magic School Bus and class. Keesha almost finishes her application to Astronaut Camp, a camp for aspiring astronauts hosted by a famous one, in Space Mission: Selfie, but the final thing she needs to do is to take a photo of herself in space. Jyoti opts to use a photo filter for the shot, but after Keesha hears about plans for a field trip into space to fix some satellites, she decides to take it in real space. Keesha stars as "Scarlet Scorch", a superhuman with pyrokinetic powers, in Tim's rock-cycle comic in The Battle for Rock Mountain.

Season 2 and specials

Keesha and Ralphie are terrified after seeing the humo(u)rous side of Ms. Frizzle almost fade from existence.

In "Claw and Order", she and Carlos incriminate Wanda's bird friend, Marty the Magpie, for destroying and wreaking havoc on Ms. Frizzle’s classroom. The class goes on a field trip inside Marty's nest on the Magic School Bus, and find some things from their classroom inside it. In "I Spy with my Animal Eyes", after Arnold accidentally messes up Ratney's physiology using the Bus, Keesha thinks that a giant, invisible Ratney did not wreck the entire city. In “The Frizz Connection”, Keesha appeared with Carlos and Ralphie in Hawaii with “The Frizz”, the part of Ms. Frizzle who happens to be her humo(u)r. She puts on a pair of nose-glasses (which happen to be wind-vision goggles) and learns about atmospheric rivers with her partners and the Frizz.

International names

Note: Her family name, Franklin, is used in the Latin American Spanish version of Space Mission: Selfie.

Region Language Name
🇺🇸 🇲🇽 Spanish Rita
🇪🇸 Keesha
🇫🇷 🇨🇦 🇺🇸 French Keesha
🇩🇪 German Chrissie
🇯🇵 Japanese キシャ
🇷🇺 Russian Киша
🇬🇷 Greek Κίσα

Trivia

  • Keesha is an only child.[1]
  • In "Claw and Order" and "In the Zone", she is shown to be right-handed.
  • She and Carlos are the only students from the TV series to not be introduced in the first five books.
  • In the book continuity, she appears to be a transfer student, as hinted at the start of The Magic School Bus Inside a Hurricane when she tells Phoebe, "At my old school, our teacher didn't dress like that."
  • Her favorite reptile is the garter snake. [2]
  • Her original voice actress, Erica Luttrell, is also the voice of Sapphire on the 2013 Cartoon Network series, Steven Universe. She also voiced Princess Candy in the Disney Channel series Dave the Barbarian, the spokesmodel and reporter in the Nickelodeon's The X's (Wealth vs. Stealth) and Emily Kaldwin in the video game Dishonored 2.
  • In The Magic School Bus Rides Again, she became the only main female student to wear a skirt in her normal outfit.
  • In “Pigs in the Wind” and “Tim and the Talking Trees”, she doesn't transform into a tree.
  • Her English name is frequently misspelled as Keisha.
  • She is the student in the main eight-person class whose grandparents were revealed. [3]
  • She is the first character whose crush on Ralphie is implied. [4]
  • In the Windows/macOS game, The Magic School Bus Explores in the Age of Dinosaurs (1996), she is one of two students to appear in all three time periods. Arnold is the other.
  • Along with Wanda, Keesha has also had some experience with dance. She performed an arabesque on Mercury in “Gets Lost in Space”, and mentioned that she takes dance lessons in “Wet All Over”.
  • Keesha is one of the original eight students who made a pun in the original 52 episodes of The Magic School Bus, along with Tim, Ralphie, Carlos, Arnold, Wanda, Phoebe and Dorothy Ann.
  • During the concert in In the Haunted House, Keesha played the clarinet.
  • In the classic episode Revving Up, Keesha’s field trip suit changes colo(u)r from scene to scene. Before the class enters the Bus’s engine, her suit is fuchsia, and once they are inside the engine, the suit changes to a maroon colo(u)r.
  • She never had a focus episode in the second season of The Magic School Bus Rides Again.
  • "Keesh" is a nickname for her. Other students have similar nicknames, like Arn or Wan.
  • She had a FrizTab in season 1 of The Magic School Bus Rides Again and the beginning of the second season, along with Dorothy Ann and Jyoti. In the specials for the second season (eps. 14-16), their FrizTabs get replaced by the FrizPad.
  • Keesha was one of three females to fall subject to the "Carlos!" gag in the original 52 episodes. The others were Phoebe and Professor Frizzle.

References

  1. Brooke, Samantha. The Magic School Bus Rides Again: Meet the Class. 1st ed., Scholastic, Inc., 2017.
  2. Stevenson, Jocelyn, et al. “Cold Feet.” Scholastic's The Magic School Bus, season 2, episode 12, PBS, 25 Nov. 1995.
  3. Krauss, Ronnie, et al. “Going Batty.” Scholastic's The Magic School Bus, season 2, episode 4, PBS, 30 Sep. 1995.
  4. May, John, et al. “Kicks Up a Storm.” Scholastic's The Magic School Bus, season 1, episode 13, PBS, 3 Dec. 1994.

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