Wanda Li or Wanda Chen is a student in the main Frizzle class. She was voiced by Lisa Yamanaka in the original series and by Lynsey Pham in The Magic School Bus Rides Again.
In the books
Wanda is an Chinese-American girl with pale skin, black eyes, and short black hair. In older books like At the Waterworks, she has worn a pink short-sleeved shirt with magenta overalls (dotted with the rose-shaped "W" logo). Since In the Time of the Dinosaurs, she wears a pink shirt, a maroon vest with 2 yellow flowers (representing the "W" in her name), maroon trousers, white socks, and black Mary Jane shoes.
In the TV Series
Wanda is a Chinese-American tomboy, and the most adventurous member in the class. Always willing to jump into adventure and going where "no kid has gone before," she serves as a foil to Arnold. She wants to solve all problems that face her, even an animal in need of rescue.
The Magic School Bus
For normal wear, She wears her same outfit as her book canon's attire in In the Time of the Dinosaurs.
For winter wear, she wears a yellow and green hat, a green jacket with a pink collar, maroon trousers, and yellow boots.
For beachwear, she wears a maroon and pink 2-piece bikini with a yellow flower and a yellow spot on the back on the top. The reboot replaces it with a white one-piece swimsuit the is dark blue from under the chest and armpits all the way down.
For rain wear, she wears a yellow rain hat, a yellow raincoat, and pink gumboots.
For formal wear, she wears a white long sleeve shirt, a pink vest, a pink neck piece, blue trousers, and dark pink shoes.
For basketball wear, she wears a pink basketball shirt, maroon trousers, pink socks and pink sneakers.
, Wanda has longer hair and wears a light green hairband, a pale blue shirt, dark blue trousers and pale blue and white sneakers. Her new signature colors are light blue and navy.
The Magic School Bus
Despite having told her he's no good under pressure, Wanda has Arnold try to break a gum chewing record for her in "For Lunch". Since she has a new filling, she can't do it herself, but she wants the prize for breaking the record: two free tickets to Action Mountain. She has a pet bullfrog named Bella that she seems to spoil in "Hops Home", but Bella gets loose, and when Wanda finds that she's happy in her natural habitat, she leaves her there. She wins a class rot competition in "Meets the Rot Squad", her prize being a baby tree. She wants to plant it on an abandoned lot (which she plans to turn into a park called "Wanda World"), but after touring the rotted log, she regrets calling Larry's Log Away.
Wanda's love of flying and dream of being a pilot is shown in "Taking Flight". After hearing about a sea monster at the bottom of Walker Lake, she decides she must dive in to find it ("Ups and Downs"). As it turns out, it's a hoax created by local TV reporter, Gerri Poveri, much to her disappointment.
In "In the Arctic", she mentions her hate for the cold. Instead of going on a field trip to a bridge being built, the class ends up shrunk in her house in "Under Construction" when her little brother, William, gets a hold of the shrinkerscope. She wishes recycling had never been invented in "Holiday Special" after her favorite toy soldier is accidentally recycled.
When Wanda's favorite rock singer, Molly Cule, is in town, she proposes the class set up a car wash, as Molly gets her car cleaned before every show ("Meets Molly Cule"). She's thrilled to find out Molly and Ms. Frizzle are old friends. She wants to help Arnold find out why he's orange in "Goes Cellular", and in "Takes a Dive", she refuses to work in partners, wanting to go solo as a pirate during a treasure hunt, much to Dorothy Ann's dismay.
The Magic School Bus Rides Again
Wanda spent her summer at the animal rescue and developed her love for animals, just like her former classmate, Phoebe (Frizzle of the Future). She befriended a fish whom she calls Becca Blue (a reference to her former pet, Bella) on a field trip to Hawaii (In the Swim). She and Carlos adopt Ratney from the animal shelter (Carlos Gets the Sneezes), but Carlos keeps it after he struggles to convince Mr. Ruhle that she should be an official class pet due to sneezing and allergies.
In "Claw and Order", she tries to convince everyone that Marty (a magpie she befriended) did not wreck the classroom and works to clear his name only for her classmates to turn on her, except for Arnold who was the first to believe Wanda's story when the classroom gets wrecked again, and since Marty was in the Magic School Courthouse when it happens.
In "Kids in Space", she meets a tardigrade she calls "Pinky". After Ralphie accidentally grows it with the PortaShrinker (and loses the Shrinker), it's up to her and the others to find the device and shrink Pinky. In "The Frizz Connection", Wanda appeared in Peru with Tim, Jyoti, and Fiona.
- Her mother makes her first appearance in "Going Batty" but doesn't have a speaking part. She returns in "Ups and Downs", "Under Construction", and "The Magnetic Mambo". She's a science journalist and has a habit of keeping reptiles in the house, such as an alligator in the bathtub or a Gila monster in the sandbox. Her father is neither seen nor mentioned.
- She has a baby brother named William. While he can walk and (somewhat) talk, he's also being potty trained and uses a bottle. He appears in "Ups and Downs", "Under Construction", "Meets Molly Cule" (in a fantasy), "The Magnetic Mambo", and "The Tales Glaciers Tell".
- She also has a pet dog who is a Cocker Spaniel.
- Her former pets were Bella the bullfrog (she jumped out a window) and Ratney the rat (whom she gave to Carlos)
- She's most often shown to be the shortest in the class in the books and 1994 TV series. In the Rides Again series, she is now just as tall if not taller than Carlos.
- In the books by Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen, her last name is Chen. This implies that the books are not canon with the 1994 TV series/Rides Again canon.
- She is officially the happiest in the class. For example, in Wet All Over, she is overjoyed that she'll stay in the water cycle forever. In "In the Swim", she is excited to read about multiple endangered species that need saving.
- She can jump the highest in the class. (Gains Weight)
- Her most iconic catchphrases are "Wahoo!", like the Frizzle sisters, when she's feeling extremely happy (as heard in "Wet All Over"), "What are we going to do? What are we going to do? What are we going to do?" when she doesn't know what to do, and "Come on, you weaselly wimps!" when she's showing her aggressive side. She is the only student to share a catchphrase with Valerie and Fiona Frizzle (that being "Wahoo!")
- She enjoys flying with her jetpack. (Goes to Mussel Beach)
- She likes to play video games.
- Her favorite rock star is Molly Cule. (Meets Molly Cule)
- She likes hot weather better than cold weather. (In the Arctic)
- Due to being the strongest member of the class, she can pull handles off of very large doors. (Going Batty)
- She shares some physical characteristics with Jyoti, as they both have aggressive sides and are very strong.
- She has aspirations of becoming a pilot and an actress. (Taking Flight)
- She is the first main character to cry. (Holiday Special)
- Although Wanda and her family are Chinese-American, her original voiceover Lisa Yamanaka is Japanese-Canadian.
- Her voice actress, Lisa Yamanaka (now Lisa Jai), would later voice Yoko in another Nelvana/PBS series, Timothy Goes to School. She would also voice Sherry Birkin in the video game Resident Evil 2.
- In the German dub, her name is Connie. In French, she is known as Veronique.
- It is very heavily implied that she has a crush on Arnold. In "For Lunch" (Arnold was the best field trip she's ever been on), "Meets the Rot Squad" (She fantasized herself sitting under a tree with Arnold), "Holiday Special" (She was Arnold's secret Santa), "Hops Home", and "Gets Charged" (At the end of the Producer Says segment, Arnold and Wanda are both dressed as Cupid and attempt to shoot love spells at each other).