The Magic School Bus is a series of children's books about science. They feature the antics of Ms. Frizzle, an elementary school teacher, and her class of eight children (in the original books, the class population was at a larger and more standard amount), who board a magical school bus which takes them on field trips into the solar system, under the Bed, into the American Flag, or to other such impossible locations. The books are written in the first person from the point of view of an unnamed student in "the Friz's" class. The class pet, Liz, a lizard, accompanied the class on their field trips.
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 books' television adaptation, the series breaks the fourth wall at the end of each episode, in which the "producers", guest stars, or characters of the show receives phone calls from kids complaining about how some things that happened on the show couldn't happen in real life. The producer that is seen most of the time is always voiced by Malcolm-Jamal Warner.
Craig Walker, vice-president and senior editorial director at Scholastic, stated that the concept began with the idea of combining science with fictional stories, and Joanna Cole (who had written both science and humor before) and Bruce Degen were then approached with creating such a series; Walker also states that his own memories of school field trips and of a teacher he had once had served as further inspiration.
Cole and Degen started a new series called Ms. Frizzle's Adventures in 2001, which teaches social studies. There are now three books in that series. Microsoft Home started publishing Magic School Bus software in 1994.
Scholastic Entertainment, the American Meteorological Society and the Children's Museum of Houston created a Scholastics the Magic School Bus Kicks Up a Storm, a 2,600 sq. ft. traveling exhibit funded in part by the National Science Foundation, which premiered at the Children's Museum of Houston in 2003 (a copy of it opened in New Jersey the month after that).
- Main article: List of The Magic School Bus characters
Ms. Frizzle's class was originally larger in the books than the class on the television series. In the original books, Ms. Frizzle's class consisted of Tim, Arnold, Ralph (changed to "Ralphie" on the show and later books in this series), Dorothy Ann, Wanda, Phoebe, Michael, Rachel, Amanda Jane, Florrie, Gregory, Shirley, Phil, Molly, Carmen, John, Alex, Carlos, and Keesha. Phoebe was first introduced in the 1987 book, The Magic School Bus Inside the Earth, and Carlos and Keesha were added in the 1994 book, The Magic School Bus In the Time of Dinosaurs.
List of books and merchandise
- Main article: The Magic School Bus merchandise
The original series
For more information on this see "Magic School Bus Merchandise" link above.
- At the Waterworks
- Inside the Earth
- Inside the Human Body/brain
- Lost in the Solar System
- On the Ocean Floor
- In the Time of the Dinosaurs
- Inside a Hurricane
- Inside a Beehive
- And the Electric Field Trip
- Explores the Senses
- And the Science Fair Expedition*
Notes: *The Science Fair Expedtion released 20 years after Explore the Senses because the series had its anniversary.
- Liz Finds a Friend
- Liz Takes Flight
- Liz Looks for a Home
- Liz Sorts It Out
- Liz on the Move
- Liz Makes a Rainbow