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- "Let's just say I'm with you every day, in every test tube, science book, and Petri dish."
- —to Jyoti in Making Magic
- "Take chances, make mistakes, and (get messy)!"
- —Her main motto
Professor Valerie Felicity Frizzle, PhD (sometimes known as "The Friz(z)" by her former students or simply "Val" by her friends and relatives) is a former second-, third-, and fourth-grade schoolteacher at Walkerville Elementary, and is now a research professor. She is the older sister of Ms. Fiona Frizzle, who is currently referred to as Ms. Frizzle.
She is voiced by Lily Tomlin in the television adaptations and by Tina Marie Goff in the Microsoft Windows/macOS CD-ROM games.
Ms. Frizzle has frizzy red hair (due to static electricity) pulled up into an unkempt bun. She often wears an intricate dress that ties in with the day's lesson. The pictures on her dresses often move or glow, thus causing Keesha to ask "Where does she get her clothes?" Often when she talks, or when she gets that "twinkle in her eye", her earrings light up or glow, signaling the idea for or the start of a new field trip. When she snaps her fingers, says certain phrases, or wears certain clothes, she will usually do something, for example, light up. Thus, causing one of the kids in her class to ask, "How does she do that?" She also has green eyes, and is rarely seen without a smile on her face.
In the books
The book series were her début appearance, and she is the main teacher in all thirteen of them. In these books she was known by her students as "The strangest teacher in school" due to the fact that she wears strange outfits and has a strange bus.
Ms. Frizzle is a bit mysterious, and she often takes the children on strange field trips on the Magic School Bus, which sometimes result in her accidentally activating a source of magic on the Bus, which was going to go on a normal field trip (Inside a Beehive), or by The Bus automatically driving itself to the destination (At the Waterworks, Lost in the Solar System). She can pour the Bus's power into other modes of transportation, such as a cardboard school bus (And the Science Fair Expedition). Despite her zany ways and mysterious addiction to teaching and learning, she's always happy and supportive, like a normal teacher.
In the TV canon
This incarnation of Valerie is a former 4th-grade teacher. In the 1994 series, she is still a teacher, and the main character of the series if the Bus is not considered a character. Overall, she is unchanged from the books. After the events of the 1994 series, she got promoted to Professor Frizzle.
While she is unconventional and a bit mysterious, Ms. Frizzle is judicious, optimistic, caring, resourceful, happy-go-lucky, passionate, friendly, funny, and supportive. She loves to tell jokes (like Carlos) that are related to the lesson she teaches to the class, even if she is the only one laughing. She has given up life as a rising star musician so she could be a teacher. She seems to put her students, her pet lizard, Liz and the Bus before anything else. Even though her students can tell that their teacher is a bit unusual, they still love and respect her. Ms. Frizzle is very protective of her students. Despite bringing them on several very dangerous field trips she never once let any harm come to them and always forms a plan to protect them from whatever might be injurious, she seems to know a lot about the subject well enough to know that she can get her students out of the situation. Like all good teachers, she is incredibly knowledgeable in many academic fields and almost never needs help to gain information. The only times she does not answer questions is when she wants her students to figure it out independently. Nothing related to knowledge seems to surprise her; in fact, it seems that at the start of each episode she already knew everything that the students learned by the end. She likely excelled in science (of all kinds) and history when she was in school as they are what she typically teaches her class. In addition to her wisdom, beauty and despite her skinny build, Ms. Frizzle is an amazing athlete with a strong level of health & fitness. She was not only able to win 2 out of 3 in the Teacherathlon (she would have won a clean sweep had she not held her breath in the first event) but is capable of back flips and uni-cycling among many other physical feats. The producer once noted that Ms. Frizzle is "magic" so it is not just her students who notice. As revealed in "Three in One", she designed and built the Magic School Bus along with her younger sister for a Gizmos That Go contest. She uses a variety of unusual magic devices to teach the class scientific concepts. The most notable of these is the Bus, a shape-shifting vehicle that seems to have a mind of its own sometimes. Although Ms. Frizzle denies Arnold's claim that she knows everything, she always seems to know what her students are up to, even when they think they're keeping her in the dark (such as in "Gets Ready, Set, Dough" and "Going Batty"), as well as seems to answer every question that her students ask. Ms. Frizzle has a first cousin named Murph who owns and operates her own recycling plant. She used to be an actress on stage and in a band called The Frizzlettes and toured with the now famous rock singer, Molly Cule. Eventually, she went into teaching and learned everything she knew about "busanautics" from mechanic, R.U. Humerus (who she may have had a romantic relationship with, as well, telling by their nicknames for each other). It would seem that she likes babies/younger kids as shown in "Under Construction." It would seem that Ms. Frizzle has no fear, because no matter the situation, she will usually be laughing or smiling. An example of this is in the episode "Spins a Web" when the deinopis spider ensnares her in its trap, she is smiling and laughing even though the spider could harm her.
There are theories towards her supernatural abilities such as her actually being a sorceress or that the static electricity she uses in her hair gave her magical powers but nothing is really clarified.
- Her middle name, Felicity, is mentioned in the video game, Explores the Rainforest.
- Her first name, Valerie, is mentioned in the book, In the Time of the Dinosaurs.
- Coincidentally, Ms. Frizzle shares her first and middle name with both children's book author Valerie Tripp and Felicity Merriman from the American Girl series. Tripp wrote most of the core series books for Merriman, as well as several other characters and it can also be noted that both Ms. Frizzle and Merriman have the same hair color.
- Her house only appears in the episode Gets Charged.
- She used to be a Shakespearean actress.
- in the Halloween special of the 1994 television series, Ms. Frizzle is dressed up an old peddler for a Halloween costume while visiting some students, Katie, Richie, and Howard, in a museum who live in the live-action universe.
- She lives in a mansion with a bridge and a fountain statue of Liz in her yard, and replicas of the bus that she owns and drives including a mailbox.
- She has framed pictures of Mr. Seedplot, R.U. Humerus, and Molly Cule in her house.
- In the Joanna Cole/Bruce Degen book "And the Electric Field Trip", she has a niece named Dottie, who was never mentioned in neither the PBS nor the Netflix television series.
- In the original TV series, The Magic School Bus has been the only vehicle she owns and operates, and even has it parked the driveway of her house. However, in the book Explores the Senses that was published in 1999 two years after that TV series ended, she was revealed to also drive any vehicle other than just the Bus. In The Magic School Bus Rides Again, after she became a professor, she started to drive an anthropomorphic moped.
- In later media, starting with The Magic School Bus Rides Again, she is revealed to have multiple degrees. An MSc (Master of Science), EdD (Doctorate of Education), and a PhD (Doctorate of Philosophy). It is implied that her PhD is her most recent degree, and the reason she left teaching elementary school. She also takes over the role of the Producers and answers questions at the end of some episodes.
- Two Frizzle relatives, Bodacious and Day Cardboard, were mentioned in the live-action specials A Magic School Bus Halloween (Bodacious) and Behind the Scenes (Day Cardboard).
- She and Arnold both share the same hair and eye color.
- She is one of 3 females to fall subject to the "Carlos!" gag. The others being Phoebe and Keesha.