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The Magic School Bus And The Electric Field Trip Paperback – January 1, 1999
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From School Library Journal
Grade 1-4. Ms. Frizzle and her science class take a trip through the town's power lines and discover how electricity works. Readers who go along for the ride will learn about how electricity is made in power plants, how transformers function, and about the differences in voltage. They will also find out how electricity makes heat and light. There is a brief mention made of how a TV works. Appropriate warnings about electricity are given. Dialogue balloons and Degen's colorful cartoon illustrations add humor. The book makes a complex subject fun to read about and simple to understand. It's bound to be a hit with the series' many fans.?Blair Christolon, Prince William Library, Manassas, VA
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Kirkus Reviews
The indomitable Ms. Frizzle is back for a lesson in electricity in this entertaining entry in the Magic School Bus series. The class begins with books, videos, experiments, and research reports; Ms. Frizzle, wearing a dress of geometric shapes, explains atoms and electrons, and, during an electrical storm, gets the students and her niece, Dottie, into the school bus to find out what's behind a power blackout. At a power plant, they learn how electricity is generated and how it travels. As in the other books in the series, this one doesn't cover everything, but it will stimulate interest; plenty of information is packed into the pages, and repeat readings are mandatory. (Picture book. 7-10) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Our story starts off with a bang when a surprise guest bounces into class, positively charged with energy. She looks to be the spitting-image of Ms. Frizzle, only much younger.
"Hello, Aunt Valerie," says the girl, kissing the Friz on the cheek.
"My niece, Dottie Frizzle, is visiting today," adds Ms. Frizzle. "Dottie, we're learning about electricity!"
And so, while a thunderstorm rages on outside, our favorite frizzy-haired teacher begins her lesson for the day. She starts by breaking down a diagram of an atom. Then she points out the relationship between electrons (tiny parts of the atom that circle around its core) and electric current (where electrons are pulled away from their hosts and form a steady stream of movement). This is what gives us electricity.
Then, before the Friz can move onto magnetic current (the cousin of electric current), the lights all over school suddenly go out and the classroom is plunged into total darkness. Outside, a hearty roar of thunder echoes over the students' heads.
"There's no electricity!" someone yells.
"We're experiencing a blackout," notes Ms. Frizzle. And according to Gregory, a student in the class, a blackout happens when electric current stops flowing from the power plant to the community.
Why has this occurred? What can anyone do about it? Will this be the end of our story?
"To the bus, everyone!" orders the Friz, brandishing her trusty umbrella like a valiant knight's sword. "Let's find out what happened."
And so begins the wildest adventure Ms. Frizzle and her students have ever undertaken, one that will start at the heart of a power plant and, zooming along with millions of electrons, lead them all over town -- the library, Jo's Diner, student Phoebe's house, and back to school again.
Readers and students alike will learn all about electricity; its many uses, how it is made, and the safety hazards of working with it. They will come to understand the very important role magnetism plays in producing large amounts of electricity. They will familiarize themselves with terms such as "transformers" and "volts."
And that is only scratching the surface of this most densely-packed field trip to date. It would be hard for any author-illustrator team to keep upping the ante nine books into a series. But Cole and Degen prove themselves just as fresh and inspired as ever. "Electric Field Trip" will require second readings to fully grasp all the concepts presented in this book, which Cole and Degen fully acknowledge within the story. Electricity, atoms, watts, magnetism -- it's highly sophisticated and complicated material, even for the most advanced readers. And the fact that Cole and Degen plowed full steam ahead with the subject matter without batting an eyelash is to be commended. Readers will most certainly be rewarded for the time they spend poring over this book.
In keeping with tradition, Cole and Degen leave readers with two familiar mainstays at the end of the tale. Clearly explained are the things made up for story purposes. What's nicer is that Cole and Degen have added a new twist this time around, which makes distinguishing fact from fiction in the story more enjoyable than ever. And then there is the enticingly sweet tidbit to leave readers with a sampling of what's next in store for the Friz and her posse. It's hard to put a finger on what it could be, exactly . . . but one senses that it will quench your thirst for knowledge, you hear?
As Ms. Frizzle herself would say, "If there's no flow, then it's no go!"
Because the topic of electricity is more complex than some of the other Magic School Bus topics, it may be better to read aloud all the sidebar text and conversations, not just the primary narrative text. Introduction of this slightly more advanced book may need to wait a year or so later than other books in the series. As I've said before, I recommend only the original books in this series, not the derivative ones based on the TV program.