From School Library Journal
Grade 2-5–Ms. Frizzle is off to Imperial China in this spin-off series in which she travels through time to bygone cultures. During a Chinese New Year's celebration, the teacher; a Chinese-American student, Wanda; Wanda's older brother Henry; and the ever-reluctant Arnold travel back in time 1000 years and arrive in a farmers' village. While there, they learn to grow rice, eat with chopsticks, and make silk. Ms. Frizzle is as curious and irrepressible as ever as she and her students travel north by barge, cart, and foot to the Great Wall and finally to the capital city. The endnotes explain which aspects of the story are historically accurate and where the author and illustrator have taken small liberties. The cartoon illustrations, done in a mix of pen and ink, watercolor, and colored pencil and gouache, continue the frenetic, zany humor of the Magic School Bus series. Small panels on each page highlight facts about Imperial China, such as items first invented in China, how to bow, and the basics of writing. Like previous books featuring Ms. Frizzle, this one is destined to find an avid audience and may spark interest in Chinese culture.–Suzanne Myers Harold, Multnomah County Library System, Portland, OR
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Gr. 1-3. In this newest installment in the social studies-themed Ms. Frizzle's Adventures, the creators of the Magic School Bus books send Frizzle and friends to eleventh-century China. The point of departure is Chinatown, and the magical conveyance is not a bus but a giant, "cavorting paper dragon," whose dancers convey Frizzle, Wanda, Wanda's older brother, and Arnie (whom they intercept en route to kung fu class) across time and space to "the land of [Wanda's] ancestors." The plot, which involves a quest to relieve peasants of their tax burden, is less noteworthy than the sheer density of material in the graphic-novel-inspired spreads. Readers will savor sidebars touting Chinese contributions to society, pore over Degen's delightfully cluttered compositions and lovely chinoiserie embellishments, and smile at the endnote, styled as uptight caveats ("time travel is impossible") from a panel of "Very Smart" critics. A celebration of culture as bountiful as the feast that Frizzle and Arnie share with Wanda's large Chinese American family at book's end. Jennifer MattsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved