As if Ms. Frizzle's field trips weren't time-consuming enough, now she's decided to take her class back to when dinosaurs roamed the Earth! Has the Friz gone mad? Who knows what kind of animals stalked the very land we stand on millions of years ago? This joyful journey to the Jurassic could end up a perilous predicament in the past!
Written in 1994, "The Magic School Bus: In the Time of the Dinosaurs" is yet another wonderful collaboration between Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen. It's Visitor's Day in Ms. Frizzle's class. Parents, relatives and friends are coming to see the students' work in all things dinosaurs. But not before the Friz makes a special announcement.
"Our class has been invited to a dinosaur dig," she informs her students. "We'll be leaving right away."
And, just like all the other field trips Ms. Frizzle has taken, this one ends up being bigger than originally planned. So big, in fact, it can only be described in prehistoric terms!
The students learn all about fossils (anything left from ancient animals or plants), as well as the scientists who study them (paleontologists). They also get to see how these scientists go about their work, using chisels and shovels and burlap and plaster. Then the real adventure begins when the Friz suggests to the class that they all go looking for some Maiasaura nests. And the only way to do that, of course, is to blast into the past!
Students will recognize some of the more well-known dinosaurs featured in this tale - Brontosaurus, Stegosaurus and Tyrannosaurus Rex. But they will also be introduced to lesser-known plants and animals from the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous Periods - Cycads, Ferns, Elasmosaurus, and Lambeosaurus. Each different geological period represents a variety of creatures, habitats and temperatures.
Were dinosaurs part of a herd (meaning, did they live in packs?), or were they solitary creatures? Were some dinosaurs caring parents, or did they leave their young to fend for themselves? What brought about the end of a species that existed for so many millions of years? But most importantly, will Ms. Frizzle's class ever return to the present day?
As with every book in the "Magic School Bus" series, Cole and Degen wrap up their latest narrative with two things: 1) "From the Author's Desk and the Artist's Drawing Board" helps distinguish fact from fiction in the story; and 2) another clue as to the next riveting field trip the Friz has planned for her class. To weather that storm, the students had better be packing umbrellas and windbreakers! Things could get a little foggy!
Six excellently executed books into this series, and Cole and Degen haven't missed a beat. The writing is superb, the story engaging, and the artwork as clever and informative as ever. Parents and children alike will delight in a story that offers all the thrills of an amusement park ride, yet all the comforts of a favorite reading chair. So hop aboard the magic school bus!
As Ms. Frizzle herself would say, "Goodness gracious, we've reached the Late Cretaceous!"