Joanna Cole has been creating books about the Magic School
Bus for more than twenty years. She is a recipient of many awards,
most recently the National Endowment for the Arts Foundation Award
for Outstanding Service to Public Education. She lives in Key West,
with her husband.
Bruce Degen is the bestselling author and illustrator of the beloved, perennial favorite Jamberry and numerous award-winning books for children. He is also the illustrator of the highly-acclaimed Magic School Bus series by Joanna Cole.
Gr 1-4-- Time to board the Magic School Bus again with that wild, wacky, and wonderful teacher, Ms. Frizzle. After she teaches her class about the human body and they visit the science museum, Mrs. Frizzle shrinks the bus and the class--except Arnold, who swallows them. This gives Cole and Degen the chance for two parallel stories, inside and outside of Arnold. With the bus inside, Cole explains digestion from the stomach into the small intestines. Then the bus enters a blood vessel where readers can see the plasma, red and white blood cells, and the flow into the heart. From there the class, now out of the bus and garbed in operating room smocks and masks, flows with the blood cells, now with fresh oxygen, to the brain. They climb down the bones of the spine, follow nerves to see muscles work, and then finally catch up with the bus to emerge in the nasal cavity. Meanwhile on part of each facing page, Arnold has coped with being lost and alone and has made it back to the school. With an enormous sneeze he sends the bus out to join him in the parking lot. The class can now chart the body from actual experience. Cole concludes with a true-false test with answers to help readers distinguish reality from fantasy. As readers of the previous ``Magic School Bus'' books (Scholastic) know, this is an enjoyable look at factual material painlessly packaged with the ribbons and balloons of jokes and asides meant to appeal to kids. Degen's zany, busy, full-color drawings fill the pages with action and information far beyond the text. Using a variety of visuals, including notes, close-ups, and diagrams along with a variety of realistic kids, he moves the parallel stories to their conclusions. Kids will love this book. --Sylvia S. Marantz, Wellington School, Columbus, Ohio