List of The Magic School Bus characters
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- 1 Main characters
- 2 Relatives
- 3 Others
- 4 References
The school is known as Walkerville Elementary, named for the fictional town of Walkerville, where it is located. The original book series had a larger number of students in Ms. Frizzle's class (19 instead of 8); 11 characters were omitted from the TV adaptation, the TV tie-in books, and the CD-ROM series.
Ms. Valerie Frizzle
- Voiced by Lily Tomlin in the TV series and Tina Marie Goff in the games
Valerie Felicity Frizzle is a third grade teacher at Walkerville Elementary. She is normally referred to as Ms. Frizzle, but her students often call her "The Friz". While she is eccentric and somewhat strange, The Friz is intelligent, kind, resourceful, happy, funny, supportive, loving and somewhat motherly. She loves making jokes revolving around the lesson she teaches, even if she is the only one laughing. She makes flamboyant entrances to start the class, causing some to remark "How does she do that?" A redhead, she wears wacky dresses that reflects the subject of each adventure and earrings that glow before a field trip begins. She usually winks before the earrings glow (in the original books, her dress on the last page usually hinted at the plot of the next book; the very last book sees it covered with question marks.) She enjoys singing, seems unafraid of danger, and often refers to her relatives or ancestors during trips. She can make a lot of jokes like Carlos, and she also admires Carlos' jokes. She appears to be very attached to the bus, almost as if having a nostalgic connection to it. She also loves to surprise the students and although she denies that she knows everything, she seems to never be in the dark about her students' activities. To Arnold, she is strange, but he and his friends still love and respect her. Some of Ms. Frizzle's ongoing catchphrases are, "Bus, do your stuff!", "Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!", "Hit it Liz!" and most notably, "WAHOOOOO!"
She appears in The Magic School Bus Rides Again as Professor Valerie Felicity Frizzle, Ph.D, with Tomlin once again providing her voice. In this series, she answers phone calls in the fictional call-in segments, along with her pet monkey named Goldie.
Ms. Fiona Frizzle
- Voiced by Kate McKinnon
Fiona Felicity Frizzle is Valerie Frizzle's younger sister and the class' new teacher. She borrows a lot of her big sister's catchphrases, including "Bus, do your stuff!", among many others. Similar to her sister, her skirt and necklace often change each episode based on the topic. As a parallel to her sister's "as I always say" catchphrase, she often quotes random relatives and friends of hers.
- Voiced by Catherine Thompson in the games
Liz is the class pet Jackson's Chameleon who goes on most of the field trips with Ms. Frizzle and the students, often getting herself into dangerous comedic situations. She appears to get jealous when the bus receives more attention than she does. In the episode "Gets Ants In Its Pants", she is visibly annoyed and disappointed when she does not get the recognition she deserves.
Liz is mute, but often does things that one would not expect from a chameleon in real life, such as driving the bus. When she goes to Herp Haven for a brief period her packing list includes claw polish, scale moisturizer and fang-paste. If Ms. Frizzle has to leave the students for a brief period for any reason, or if the class must split up, she leaves Liz in charge, acting as a sort of substitute teacher. In "In a Pickle", she is the supposed "Judge" in Ms. Frizzle's trial for stealing Keesha's 1st prize cucumber/turning it into a pickle (she wears the wig, and the outfit, and carries the gavel).
While Liz does not speak on the show, she speaks in the CD-ROMs (although it appears that only the player can hear her). She is also seen at the end of most episodes with the producers of The Magic School Bus.
- Voiced by Amos Crawley (season 1) and Danny Tamberelli (seasons 2–4); Miles Koseleci-Vieira (Rides Again)
Arnold Perlstein is a bespectacled Jewish American boy. He is often seen as somewhat of a coward but is actually braver than he's given credit for (in "The Busasaurus," he scares off a T. Rex to save the class). Arnold also inspires the class with ideas and they call him a genius. In the episode "Shows and Tells," he mentions that his great-aunt is the famous archaeologist Arizona Joan, a parody of Indiana Jones. In spite of his dislike of Ms. Frizzle's wacky field trips, he is on several occasions fiercely loyal to the teacher herself, as in "Lost in Space" where he defends her against his cousin Janet. Another example of this is in "In a Pickle" where he acts as a lawyer for Ms. Frizzle, taking his job almost too seriously. He has an intense interest in and knowledge of rocks and minerals and an extensive rock collection. Because of this, he becomes the only child to be a member of GRANITE, the Great Rock Admirers' National Institute of Tectonics Experts ("Goes Cellular"). In "Cracks a Yolk," he and Dorothy Ann share the only kiss on the series when she kisses him on the cheek. It is implied in the episodes "For Lunch" and "Holiday Special" that he has a crush on Wanda and vice versa, but in "Wet All Over," he has a crush on a girl in another class named Tiffany. It's also hinted in "The Busasaurus" that Phoebe has a crush on him as well. In "Goes to Seed" he mentions he's allergic to pepper and pollen. In some of the books and on the TV series, Arnold has orange hair, but he has blond hair in the computer games and other books. His middle name is mentioned in Ms. Frizzle's Adventures: Medieval Castle. In most episodes, he usually says "I knew I should have stayed home today", or a variant of it. He has a bossy, rude, & know-it-all cousin named Janet. Also in "Gets Lost In Space" Arnold nearly dies in space because Janet is trying to fit stuff she collected into the bus that can't fit and Arnold removes his helmet to show her what would happen to her if she stayed on Pluto with her belongings, but due to this being a kids show, the producers instead had him catch a cold.
Carlos Ramon is the Mexican American class joker, always making a pun or joke about whatever situation the class is in. He is a hands-on learner, preferring to invent unique devices, such as an instrument or rain catcher, rather than learn from a book like Dorothy Ann. Carlos tries to be funny by telling several jokes, but they often backfire and cause the kids to groan "Carlos!" in an aggravated manner. By contrast, Ms. Frizzle seems to enjoy his jokes, sometimes even complimenting him on being observant in the process of making them up. He is kind and outgoing, but he can have a bossy side as well. Despite this, Carlos is good-hearted and has a brotherly instinct about him. In "The Magic School Bus Going Batty", his father also makes puns, to which the other kids' parents would respond, "Mr. Ramon!" also in unison. In the episode called "Get Ready, Set, Dough," Carlos has the responsibility of making chocolate cake for Ms. Frizzle's birthday. In "Getting Energized" he entertains a crowd and can even do impressions of Arnold Schwarzenegger. In one of the producer segments, one of the kids points out that Carlos's bad puns must come from the producers as heard in one of the phone calls.
- Voiced by Tara Meyer (original series), Abby Clarke (Rides Again).
Dorothy Ann is the class reader of Australian and German descent, always looking for a fact in one of her many books and is the brain of the class. She is usually called "D.A." by the others. She always carries her pink sachel, which holds her books. In the episode "Blows its Top," Dorothy Ann loses her books, but realizes she does not need them to learn about things. She appears to love astronomy, especially in "Out of This World" and "Sees Stars", where she is shown to have a telescope. In "Sees Stars", D.A. is celebrating her birthday, but she is sick and stays home that day, making her the second and last student after Ralphie to be sick in an episode. She appears to enjoy physics too, as she is seen with a physics book in "Plays Ball." She usually wears her blonde hair in pigtails tied in red hairbands, and in the episode "Goes On Air," she takes off her hair ties, her pigtails staying in place (as pointed out by Arnold). In the beginning of "Out of This World," she has a nightmare about an asteroid crashing into her school and in the climax, she is the captain of the ship and she has her own ideas to save our planet. Dorothy Ann's last name has never been mentioned in canon, the books or the TV show. It's also revealed that she has a little sister named Evan. She is one of three kids known to have siblings, the other two being Carlos and Wanda. When reading about different facts, D.A. usually begins by saying, "According to my research the..." In the original series, she pronounced "research" with the accent on the second syllable. In The Magic School Bus Rides Again, she pronounces it with the accent on the first syllable, as it is usually pronounced. In The Magic School Bus Rides Again, her book sachel is replaced by a purple tablet computer.
- Voiced by Birva Pandya
- Voiced by Erica Luttrell (original series), Mikaela Blake (Rides Again).
Keesha Franklin is an African American girl who is considered to be the most level-headed and realistic student in the class. She is usually the most sarcastic one as well. Because of her skepticism, she often argues with Ralphie, who tends to live in his imagination more than in real life. She is the only person to participate in every single field trip. When a situation went poorly, Keesha would often say, "Oh bad. Oh bad. Oh bad, bad, bad!" Her other catchphrase is, "Let's get the facts!" Keesha takes dance lessons.
- Voiced by Maia Filar.
Phoebe Terese is the new student in Ms. Frizzle's class, and she's also an Irish-American girl who often refers to how things were at her old school (which is actually called "Phoebe's Old School," as seen in "Goes to Seed"). The caring soul of the class, Phoebe is sweet, gentle, kind, and a little bit shy as her biggest fear is stage fright, shown in the episode "Gets Planted." Phoebe is an animal activist, as seen in "All Dried Up," "Cold Feet," "Spins a Web," "Goes Upstream," "Ups and Downs," and "Getting Energized." Her love of animals also includes bugs ("Butterfly and Bog Beast," "Spins a Web"). She has shown a poor ability in growing plants (not growing one herself in "Goes to Seed" and growing a pitiful bean plant in "Gets Planted"). Her father is blind as seen in "Going Batty," and like her, he makes references to her old school. Phoebe's mother is never seen or mentioned in the show. In the episode "The Busasaurus", it is hinted she has a crush on Arnold by quoting "Gee, what a guy!" when he tries to save Dr. Skeledon's dinosaur egg from an Ornithomimus. Phoebe is usually paired up with Arnold the most out of all the other classmates in various situations. In the original books, her parents are never mentioned or seen, and it's implied she's being raised by her grandparents (The Magic School Bus In the Time of the Dinosaurs and The Magic School Bus and the Electric Field Trip). It is revealed in The Magic School Bus Rides Again that she transferred back to her old school.
- Voiced by Stuart Stone (original series), Matthew Mintz (Rides Again).
Ralphie Tennelli is the Italian American class athlete. While in class, he likes to daydream. He is the only field trip student to wear a baseball cap. He plays a lot of sports, including soccer, basketball, hockey, and baseball. Ralphie is Italian, mentioning in the episode "Ups and Downs" that his mother's calzones "go down like rocks". He has a distaste for anchovies, which, as he tells the class in "Gets Eaten," his dad puts on pizza to keep him from eating it. He often serves as the leader of the students, despite a tendency to jump to wrong conclusions (as seen in "Goes Batty") and ignore better judgment (as seen in "In the City"). He also occasionally rivals Carlos when it comes to jokes. His catchphrases are "Is it just me, or..." and "I think I'm gonna be sick".
- Voiced by Max Beckford (Season 1), Andre Ottley-Lorant (Season 2-4), Kaden Stephen (Rides Again)
Tim is African American, and is the most observant and artistic student. He can usually be found documenting what the class is doing, either by drawing or filming them, such as Liz posing on a crater on Mercury, his Ralphie-inspired comic book The Adventures of Weatherman, and getting footage of the swamp for evidence to argue Carlos's case. His grandfather owns a honey bee farm outside of Walkerville, and as a small job, Tim delivers the honey at the start of winter. Like Dorothy Ann, his last name is never mentioned in canon (the books or the TV show). He is known to say "We've been Frizzled!" In The Magic School Bus Rides Again, he speaks with a Jamaican accent.
- Voiced by Lisa Yamanaka (original series), Lynsey Pham (Rides Again)
Wanda Li is the toughest and most boisterous Chinese American tomboy and the smallest member of the class. Always willing to jump into adventure and going where "no kid has gone before," she serves as a foil to Arnold. She wants to solve all problems that face her. Despite her tough exterior, she loves ballet, especially The Nutcracker ("Holiday Special"). Wanda's favorite singer is Molly Cule (a play on the word molecule), and, like Ralphie, she loves sports. Despite coming across as brash and bossy, she truly does care about her friends, such as in "Holiday Special," where she is disappointed that Arnold could not come along to see The Nutcracker due to his grandmother being ill. Wanda has black hair and white skin. She wears a red vest, decorated with yellow flowers, over a short sleeve pink t-shirt with matching red pants, white socks and black Mary Jane shoes. In some of the later books, her last name is Chen, as opposed to Li (which it is on the TV series), and she has an older brother named Henry, whereas on the TV series, she only has a younger brother, William. When the class is in a problematic situation, Wanda usually cries out, "What are we gonna do? What are we gonna do? What are we gonna do?" Her other catch phrase is "Come on, you weasley wimps!"
The bus is "very unusual" and sometimes seems to have a mind of its own. It is capable of shrinking and expanding, as well as transforming itself into many kinds of items, most commonly as robotic animals in order to blend in with the environment in safari-type field trips. When it shrinks, so do its passengers, and occasionally, when the bus returns to its normal size when something was left behind, the other item is set back to normal too ("Gets Eaten").
It is usually completely under Ms. Frizzle's or Liz's control, although in certain episodes the bus exhibits independent, even irrational, behavior: in "The Magic School Gets Ready, Set, Dough," the bus malfunctions and shrinks in size despite Ms. Frizzle trying to fix it. In "The Magic School Bus Holiday Special", the bus disassembles itself into raw materials (while scowling), after having done so to several other structures (though Wanda did angrily slam her fists in the bus's hood before it self-disassembled); and in "The Magic School Bus In The City", the bus, after becoming a bear, wanders off from the class into the city looking for food.
Its abilities are due to unspecified, magical additions, the origins of which are never fully explained, although it would appear that the new components are subtle enough to avoid attracting much attention from outsiders as the bus is often seen undergoing inspection without anyone commenting on its additions. The Bus is capable of transforming into multiple objects, ranging from a speck of pollen to a time machine to a small planet. It is interesting to note that some of the bus' technologies also have specific names. For example, the device that allows the bus to shapeshift is called the "Mesmerglober", and the device that allows it to change size is called the "Shrinkerscope", (a portable version is called the Porta-shrinker). Another device is called the Apidemonflemonjab, which is what caused the bus to malfunction in "Gets Ready, Set, Dough." Its exact function is never specified.
In some transformations, the bus itself comes in different colors, such as it turning green when it turned into an alligator. The dew-dinger is the device used to indicate whether the Shrinkerscope is wet, in which case it won't work. Some episodes have featured the class having to deal with problems in the Bus itself, such as a field trip to a bakery being jeopardized when the bus shrank unexpectedly, and another trip requiring the class to shrink down and travel through the bus itself after its engine was clogged by an inspector's peanut butter sandwich.
Janet is Arnold's know-it-all, conceited cousin. She is very unpopular among the class, though she did manage to manipulate them into siding with her (and turning on Phoebe) when it came to naming the school mascot ("Butterfly and the Bog Beast"). Janet is so self-seeking that she usually tries to digress the class in some way to gain something for herself. She at first didn't believe Arnold's stories about his field trips until she went with the class and realizes that it's all true. She initially appeared in the book The Magic School Bus Lost in the Solar System, where it was stated she went to another school, but on the TV series, she attends a different class instead of a different school. Janet seems to be an only child, as Arnold mentions that she is his only cousin in "Butterfly and the Bog Beast."
She made nine appearances in the series & video games:
- "Gets Lost In Space"
- "Butterfly and the Bog Beast"
- "Gets a Bright Idea"
- "Goes Upstream"
- "Works Out"
- "Gets Swamped"
- "Sees Stars"
- "Makes a Stink"
- "The Magic School Bus Rides Again"
Dorothy Ann's family
- Dorothy Ann's Mother
- She appears in three episodes ("Going Batty," "Out of this World," and "Rocks and Rolls"). She also wears a ponytail compared to her daughter's pigtails. Voiced by Swoosie Kurtz.
- Dorothy Ann's Father
- Makes non-speaking appearances in "Going Batty" and "Rocks and Rolls."
- Dorothy Ann's little sister who appears in "Out of This World."
The Li family
- Mrs. Li
- Wanda's Mother who first appears in "Going Batty", albeit in a non-speaking role. She has larger roles in "Ups and Downs" and "Under Construction", the latter of which she reveals that she is a science writer. She is also known to keep various reptiles around the house (such as an alligator in the bathtub and a Gila monster in the sandbox, according to Wanda). Voiced by Rosalind Chao.
- William Li
- Wanda's baby brother. He appears in "Ups and Downs" and "Under Construction."
- Henry Li
- Wanda's big brother. Appears in Ms. Frizzle's Adventures: Imperial China. Noted for his Ms. Frizzle-like hair.
- In Ms. Frizzle's Adventures: Imperial China, Wanda's grandmother and Mr. Li, Wanda's father, also appear.
The Ramon family
- Mr. Ramon
- Like his son, he also likes to make jokes, which the other parents (much like their kids) don't appear to enjoy. He appears in "Going Batty." Mrs. Ramon isn't mentioned in the show. Voiced by Edward James Olmos.
- Mikey Ramon
- Carlos' younger, paraplegic brother who is a mechanical and computer whiz. Presumably not much younger than Carlos, the brothers seem close. Carlos calls him when the class needs help with something mechanical. He appears in "Getting Energized" and "Gets Programmed." Voiced by Kevin Zegers.
The Franklins, Tennellis, Tereses, and Perlsteins
- Mrs. Franklin
- Keesha's grandmother who appeared in "Going Batty," when Walkerville Elementary had its annual parent-teacher conference during the night. Keesha's parents are never seen or mentioned, so it is possible that Keesha's grandmother is her guardian. Voiced by Eartha Kitt.
- Dr. Tennelli
- Ralphie's mother, who is a physician. In "Inside Ralphie," when Ralphie was ill and made a joke, she responded, "Even your jokes are sick." She also appears in "Going Batty" going on a field trip with Ms. Frizzle. She also has a brief appearance in the episode "Rocks and Rolls." Dr. Tennelli's husband is never mentioned. Voiced by Tyne Daly.
- Mr. Terese
- Phoebe's father who is blind and, like Phoebe, makes references about her old school. He appears in "Going Batty" and has a brief appearance in the episode "Rocks and Rolls." Mr. Terese doesn't mention his wife. Voiced by Dana Elcar.
- Mr. & Mrs. Perlstein
- Arnold's parents who appeared in "Going Batty," "Rocks And Rolls," and "Goes Cellular." Like their son, they seem to dislike field trips, hence Mr. Perlstein's line, "Maybe we should have stayed home tonight." Mr. Perlstein is voiced by Elliott Gould.
- Tim's father and mother
- They appeared in "Going Batty", but in a non-speaking part (outside of joining the other parents in scolding Carlos' father).
- Tim's grandfather
- He owns an apiary outside of Walkerville.
- Professor Cornelia C. Contralto II
- The curator and owner of the town's sound museum. She, like her great-grandmother Professor Cornelia C. Contralto I, is an expert in acoustics and vibration. The professor also helped Carlos develop and better his instrument, and find the perfect sound. Professor Contralto II is always looking to add to her great-grandmother's sound collection, and at the end of episode 8, "In The Haunted House", she annexed Carlos's new and improved instrument. Voiced by Carol Channing.
- General Araneus
- The main antagonist of "Spins a Web." A semi-retired general who plots to capture the giant Mantis in Stand By Your Mantis, an old horror movie that Ms. Frizzle's class magically enters. He attempts to use Liz as a bait for his Mantis trap but the class manages to stop him. He is voiced by Edward Asner.
- Katrina Eloise "Murph" Murphy
- Ms. Frizzle's first cousin who owns and operates Murph's Recycling Plant. She teaches the class the value of recycling in the episode "Holiday Special". She often warns everyone to be careful when using the word "junk." Voiced by Dolly Parton.
- Molly Cule
- She's a famous rock singer and one of the original Frizzlettes (Ms. Frizzle's old band she used to tour with). The class got to wash her car in the episode "Meets Molly Cule." Wanda's also a huge fan of her. Voiced by Wynonna Judd.
- Dr. Carmina "Bonesy" Skeledon
- A paleontologist who the class visits at a fossil dig up in "The Busasaurus". Voiced by Rita Moreno.
- Mr. Junkitt
- Junkitt is a Vehicle Maintenance Inspector in the episode "Revving Up." As a minor antagonist, he accidentally leaves a peanut butter sandwich on the bus's carburetor (blocking air inflow), which then drips peanut butter into the bus's fuel line and cylinder's spark plug, which makes the bus break down. Voiced by Sherman Hemsley.
- Mr. McClean
- Voiced by Malcolm McDowell. The school janitor, who struggles to control the new automatic welcome system in "Gets Programmed".
- Rainforest Inspector 22 (formerly 47)
- He appears in "In The Rainforest", and inadvertently upset the ecological balance of the rainforest when he covered a mud wallow with artificial turf; upon correcting the problem, he was promoted to Inspector 22. There are also other rainforest inspectors, such as 1 and 46. Voiced by Matt Frewer.
- Radius Ulna "R.U." Humerus
- Ms. Frizzle's mechanic who appeared in "Flexes Its Muscles" and provided the M.I.K.E. to help the kids build RalphieBot. He is named for the three major bones in the human arm. He insists on being called "R.U." Voiced by Tony Randall.
- Mr. Garth Sinew
- A strong, bodybuilding PE teacher at Walkerville Elementary who is Ms. Frizzle's toughest competition in a triathlon event. Voiced by Dan Marino.
- Gerri Poveri
- The main antagonist of "Ups and Downs." She is the host of the reality show In Your Face and has claimed to have taken a real picture of a lake monster. She tries to keep Ms. Frizzle and her class from finding the monster at the bottom of the lake because it was a fake. But eventually, her plan doesn't come to fruition, and she is exposed. She is voiced by Cindy Williams.
- The Baker
- The baker who runs the bakery where the class secretly made the special cake for Ms. Frizzle's birthday party in "Gets Ready, Set, Dough!" When the bus shrank and snuck into the bakery, he mistook it for a moth. He also appears in the opening title sequence where the bus flies out of a pie. Voiced by Dom DeLuise.
- A logger who runs a dial-up sanitation service. In "Meets the Rot Squad", when Wanda found a rotting log in an empty lot, at first she hated it and called up Larry to remove it. But later she and the class found out that the log had life in it, and helped make soil by decomposing. Then when Larry suddenly arrived, Wanda convinced him not to destroy it in disguise as a "Log gremlin". Voiced by Ed Begley Jr.
- Mr. Ruhle
- The principal of Walkerville Elementary. In "Makes a Rainbow", he once ran a bet with Ms. Frizzle on whether or not she could beat the light pinball machine she and Liz had built. He is an expert on chickens, owning a Rhode Island Red rooster named Giblets, whom Dorothy Ann had accidentally lost in "Cracks a Yolk". Voiced by Paul Winfield.
- Archibald Seedplot
- Phoebe's teacher at her old school who appears in "Goes To Seed." His passion seems to be gardening. It is learned in this episode that he knew Ms. Frizzle (and considers himself her "biggest fan"). Voiced by Robby Benson.
- Production Supervisors
- In the fictional call-in segment at the end of the show, various characters answer questions asked by "viewers". One of the producers usually answers these calls, sometimes two producers appear at the same time, and almost always with Liz. One of the producers is an African-American male voiced by Malcolm-Jamal Warner. Another producer is an Asian female voiced by Susan Blu. Other characters have appeared in the producer segments, including characters from the episode, as well as a ghost that appears only in "In the Haunted House" (Voiced by Catherine Thompson). This segment is based on the comedic disclaimer pages at the end of the books.
- Cole, Joanna (1994). "Cole, Joanna The Magic School Bus in the Time of the Dinosaurs". Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books. 48: 40.
The fashionable Ms. Frizzle warps her students back to the late civil war, where they begin a journey forward through time in search of Friends for Jeff, the Friz's paleontologist teacher from high school. (Not only does she have a past, she even has a first name - Valerie.)(re The Magic School Bus in the Time of the Dinosaurs)
- Music-Pen (1 April 1997). Magic School Bus Explores the Rainforest. Microsoft. Level/area: Understory, triggered by clicking on Ralphie twice.
Diversity is the rain forest's middle name, Ralphie. Or my middle name isn't Felicity.
- Writers: May, John & Bolch, Suzanne Director: Weston, Richard (September 29, 2017). "Frizzle of the Future". The Magic School Bus Rides Again. Season 1. Episode 1. Netflix.