The Magic School Bus is an enchanted vehicle used to transport children at Walkerville Elementary on adventures on the PBS animated children’s program THE MAGIC SCHOOL BUS (1994-1997).
Miss Valerie Felicity Frizzle (Lily Tomlin), a teacher at Walkerville Elementary is the driver of the bus who uses the Magic School Bus to teach her students about the world around them and illustrate the science concepts she discusses in class.
When Ms. Frizzle wants to teach the children about the ocean, the bus coverts into a submarine and travels beneath the waves. If the topic is rocket science the bus can turn into a spacecraft to explore the vastness of outer space and learn about planets and asteroids.
The Magic School Bus can shrink in size (using the “Shrinker Scope”) to explore the inside the human body to see how our organs (heart, etc.) work, or explore the secret world of the ants, travel underground to explore the earth’s crust, or travel back in time to view dinosaurs in their natural habitat. The Magic School Bus uses a “Mesmerglober” device to shape-shift and change its appearance.
Regular passengers on the Magic School Bus include a group of multi-ethic students from Walkerville Elementary. They include:
- Arnold Matthew Perlstein, a Jewish-American boy.
- Janet Perlstein, Arnold’s cousin.
- Carlos Ramon, a Mexican-American boy.
- Dorothy Ann, an Australian girl from down under.
- Keesha Franklin, an African-American girl.
- Phoebe Terese, an Irish-American girl.
- Ralphie Tennellie, an Italian-American boy.
- Tim, an African-American boy.
- Wanda Li, a Chinese-American girl.
Also along for the ride was a lizard pet named Liz (a Jackson’s Chameleon) who went on most of the field trips with Ms. Frizzle and the students.
Theme Song Lyrics
Sing along with the theme song!
Ride on the Magic School Bus
Cruisin’ on down Main Street
You’re relaxed and feelin’ good
Next thing that you know you’re seein’
Octopus in the neighborhood!
Surfin’ on a sound wave
Swingin’ through the stars
Take a left at your intestine
Take your second right past Mars.
On THE MAGIC SCHOOL BUS
Navigate a nostril
Climb on THE MAGIC SCHOOL BUS
Spank a plankton, too
On our Magic School Bus
Raft a river of lava
On THE MAGIC SCHOOL BUS
Such a fine thing to do!
So strap your bones right to the seat
Come on in and don’t be shy —
Just to make your day complete
You might get baked into a pie
On THE MAGIC SCHOOL BUS…
Step inside — it’s a wilder ride!
Come on — ride on THE MAGIC SCHOOL BUS!
NOTE: The series was based on the books written by Joanna Cole and illustrated by Bruce Degen. The series theme song is sung by 1950s rocker Little Richard. Lyrics written by Peter Lurye.
In 2016, Netflix and Scholastic Media announced an updated version of the series entitled THE MAGIC SCHOOL BUS 360°. The 26 new episodes will be in CGI.