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Cover image for Ms. Frizzle's adventures : Imperial China
Ms. Frizzle's adventures : Imperial China
Other title(s):
Miss Frizzle's adventures

Imperial China



First edition.
New York : Scholastic Press, [2005]
Physical Description:
39 pages : color illustrations ; 31 cm.
Series title(s):
General Note:
Bruce Degen (born June 14, 1945) is an American illustrator and writer with over forty children's books to his credit. He was born in 1945 and raised in Brooklyn. His youth was marked by the contrast between urban New York City with the summertimes he spent in rural upstate New York, where he would pick wild berries. He credits these experiences as the inspiration for his book, Jamberry. Degen attended elementary school in Brooklyn, New York, and went on to attend art schools in Manhattan, including LaGuardia High School and Cooper Union for his Bachelor of Fine Arts. He then attended Pratt Institute in Brooklyn where he obtained a Masters of Fine Arts, with a major in printmaking and a minor in painting. Before creating the Magic School Bus series, he taught art and other subjects at Beach Channel High School in the Rockaway Beach, Queens section of New York City. His career has included such diverse activities as advertising design, teaching art to students, teaching children's book illustration to adults, painting scenery for opera productions, and running a lithography studio in Israel. Mr. Degen currently lives in Connecticut.
Ms. Frizzle and her tour group are transported to China 1000 years in the past, where they learn how rice, tea and silk are grown and harvested, and visit the Emperor in the Forbidden City.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.6 0.5 89721.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 3.5 3 Quiz: 37130 Guided reading level: P.
Added Author:
Added Corporate Author:


Call Number
J 951 Cole 2005
951 COLE
J Green (Cole)

On Order



There's no denying the Frizzle magic, and the zany teacher is at her best as she journeys to ancient China. Full of historical and cultural facts, the book is a learning adventure - and a lot of fun.

Is it magic? Ms. Frizzle, Wanda, and Arnold simply duck under the dragon at the local Chinese New Year's parade, and they are mysteriously whisked back in time to ancient China! They arrive in a village where the farmers are in trouble. The Friz and friends vow to go to the capital to get the emperor's help. As they journey, they learn how silk is made, travel on the Grand Canal, and see the Great Wall under construction, but will they fulfill their mission to help the farmers?

Cole and Degen relay a bounty of facts with charm and humor as they bring the majesty of imperial China to life.

Author Notes

Joanna Cole was born in Newark, New Jersey on August 11, 1944. She attended the University of Massachusetts, Indiana University, and City College of New York where she earned a degree in Psychology.

Ms. Cole has worked as an elementary school teacher, a librarian, and a children's book editor. As a child, she loved science and explaining things and this is why she started writing children's books. She writes fiction and non-fiction titles. Her most well-known series are the Magic School Bus and the "Body."

Cole's books have received a number of honors. A Horse's Body and A Snake's Body were both named Outstanding Science Trade Books for children by the joint committee of the National Science Teachers Association and the Children's Book Council. In 1982, A Snake's Body was named a Children's Choice Book by the joint committee of the International Reading Association and the Children's Book Council. Both A Cat's Body and A Bird's Body were Junior Literary Guild selections. In 1991, she was awarded the Washington Post/Children's Book Guild Nonfiction award.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 4

School Library Journal Review

Gr 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 (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Horn Book Review

(Primary) Ms. Frizzle, ever the intrepid instructor, has traded her Magic School Bus for a watch that functions as a time machine. After educational excursions to ancient Egypt (Ms. Frizzle's Adventures: Ancient Egypt, rev. 11/01) and a medieval castle, she now leads three youngsters back a thousand years into China's past. Ms. Frizzle recounts her adventures in the first person, while dialogue bubbles, labels, and sly visual jokes extend the narrative. A band of detailed drawings runs across the lower third of most pages, conveying relevant facts about Chinese customs, scientific discoveries, and inventions. Launching her journey from Chinatown, Ms. Frizzle and her fellow time travelers land in a farming village, where they learn that a poor rice harvest has left the farmers unable to pay their taxes. Ms. Frizzle decides to lead her companions north to plead their case before the emperor himself. This journey, by barge and on foot, provides a lively introduction to China's geography, principal products, and famous sites. Degen opens himself to the influence of Chinese art, portraying ancient China with lighthearted but generally accurate illustrations. This is not intended to be a coherent, organized introduction to ancient China; instead, like the luscious banquet in the final spread, Cole and Degan's book offers a spicy, intriguing taste that may tempt readers to ask for more. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Review

Ducking beneath a parade dragon in Chinatown, Ms. Frizzle and three youngsters emerge a thousand years ago and halfway around the world. For her third excursion into the past, she takes advantage of this tailor-made teachable moment to squire her charges from rice fields to the Imperial Palace in Beijing. They hardly pause along the way for looks at silk- and tea-making, Chinese poetry and writing, inventions, the Great Wall (errantly declared to be 30,000 miles long--off by a factor of about 10, depending on what's measured) and even how to hold chopsticks. Impoverished rice farmers are clean and smiling in Degen's brightly colored, crisply drawn illustrations, but there are at least hints that not everyone's a happy camper, and the pictures do add further cultural and historical detail with running panels along the bottom of each spread. Having persuaded the Emperor to lift the taxes on poor farmers, the quartet returns to our time, just in time for a Chinese New Year's dinner--each dish labeled with its symbolic significance. The learning never stops, nor does the pace. (Picture book/nonfiction. 8-10) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

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 Mattson Copyright 2005 Booklist