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The Magic School Bus at the Waterworks


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About the Author

Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen, the author and illustrator of the Magic School Bus books, have collaborated for twenty years, bringing humor and true kidlike curiosity to science and learning. Booklist heralded Ms. Frizzle as "the wackiest, wisest teacher in picture books." Two MSB titles have been named School Library Journal Best Books of the Year, and they have won countless state book awards, from New York to Nebraska.


Gr 2-4A remarkable meshing of text and illustration make this an outstand ing, lively treatment of a subject for which there is very little written for this age group. Ms. Frizzle has assigned her class a month-long investigation of how their city gets its water supply, to be followed by a field trip to the water works. With ``The Friz'' as driver, the children encounter surprise after sur prise, as they are magically clad in scu ba gear while in a tunnel, then slowly ascend to a cloud, where each child dis embarks; falls as a drop of water into a mountain stream; flows into a reser voir; and bounces through the purifica tion system, pipes, and water mains un der the city streets. The trip ends with all arriving, drop by drop, in the girls' bathroom in their school as a seventh grader turns on the water faucet. A sub sequent classroom mural is drawn of their field trip with the interesting facts of water posted above. Not such a bad trip after all! Liveliness and humor combine to provide valuable informa tion in a simple, explicit text, totally complemented by cheery cartoon-like illustrations. A finishing flourish are the two pages of humorous and lightheart ed notes (for SERIOUS students only) at the text's end. This book will rarely sit on the shelf.Mary Lou Budd, Mil ford South Elementary School, Ohio

Cole combines science and whimsy to create an entertaining story, filled with facts about drinking water. Ms. Frizzle doesn't take her class on mundane field trips. To study the waterworks, she loads them into a magic schoolbus that carries them to a cloud. There, each student is miniaturized within a raindrop and follows the water through purification and back to school, where they emerge through the tap in the girls' bathroom and return to normal size. Degen's full-color illustrations are appealing; balloons carry the running commentary among students, and their notebook reports relay much information painlessly. (6-9)

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