The Magic School Bus Lost In The Solar System, by Joanna Cole. (Scholastic Inc., $13.95 hardcover.)
“The Friz” is back! After miraculous trips deep underground, around a reservoir, and through classmate Arnold’s body (all recorded in earlier Magic School Bus books), the ever-wildly attired, unflappable science teacher Ms. Frizzle plans her latest field trip to see a sky show at the planetarium. Wouldn’t you know it: The planetarium is closed for repairs. The innovative Frizzle believes the best way to learn is through firsthand experience, so her wisecracking students are not entirely surprised when the bus tilts back and blasts off. Now clad in space suits, the group revels in weightlessness and stops on the moon, where they learn more about gravity. After passing by the sun, the teacher announces they will explore the planets in order, starting with Mercury. All goes well until Ms. Frizzle ventures out to fix a taillight as they pass through the asteroid belt. Her tether snaps, and the children are left on their own to see the outer planets and find their favorite teacher, which they do, of course. The appealing picture book format, with its bright, busy, ink-bordered watercolors, cartoon-style dialogue, and fact-filled student reports, is an ideal way to interest children in a new science unit.
A version of this article appeared in the January 01, 1991 edition of Teacher as For Young Readers