Educational Book Series: The Magic School Bus

With nearly 60 million books in print, the adventures of the Magic School Bus have entertained and educated countless children for a quarter of a century. The books describe amazing field trips taken by the exceptionally unique Ms. Frizzle and her captivated students. Like the children in the books, your child is sure to learn valuable lessons while having an exciting adventure with each Magic School Bus story.

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The Magic School Bus At the Waterworks Joanna Cole Bruce Degan

About the Series

Written by Joanna Cole and illustrated by Bruce Degan, the Magic School Bus series began in 1986 with The Magic School Bus at the Waterworks. This story introduced the Walkerville Elementary School class that is now a fixture of the series. The class is led by Ms. Frizzle, whose popular sayings include, 'Take chances! Make mistakes! Get messy!' Ms. Frizzle, who has curly red hair, delights in her eccentricities. Her odd clothes align with the subject of the day's adventure, though she ends each story wearing an outfit that gives a hint about the next book.

In each book, Ms. Frizzle leads the class onto the Magic School Bus, which takes them to an amazing array of sites that defy the confines of time and space. In The Magic School Bus at the Waterworks, they learn where the city's water comes by taking the journey themselves. They float into the clouds, fall into a stream as drops of water, move through the city purification system and travel through the pipes to the girls' bathroom at their school.

In other stories, they take equally astounding field trips. These include trips inside the human body, around the Solar System, into a hurricane and inside the city's electrical system. In one particularly exciting adventure, the students go back in time to learn about dinosaurs. There were 12 original stories in the Magic School Bus series, though several dozen additional titles have since been created as chapter books, science readers, tie-ins to the syndicated television series and more.

Lessons from the Magic School Bus

The Magic School Bus series is overtly science-focused. Reading the stories aloud with your child will impart important lessons from many science disciplines, including biology, earth science, chemistry and physics. Like the children in the stories, your child can witness in intricate detail how various scientific processes occur.

To help children at different ages learn, the books are written with a complex web of information. There is always the main plot, which follows Ms. Frizzle and her students through the adventure. For children looking to know more, there are notes in the margin that further explore the subject matter. These include a mix of facts, cartoons and additional details. For example, in The Magic School Bus in the Time of the Dinosaurs, one note describes what the teeth of duckbilled dinosaurs looked like while another explains what it means to be a predator.

If you'd like to take the lessons in the Magic School Bus stories further, you can visit the Scholastic website for educational activities based on the series. The activities reference the field trips from which they're inspired. They include complete instructions for science experiments on topics including photosynthesis, air pressure and recycling. Whether you use the website or just read the books with your child, the Magic School Bus is sure to both amuse and instruct.

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