COOPERMADE: The Magic School Bus

magic school bus

When The Magic School Bus at the Waterworks was first published in 1986, its illustrator Bruce Degen didn’t realize how very popular the adventures of Ms. Frizzle would become. Degen, who graduated from the School of Art in 1966, had first teamed up with author Joanna Cole to create a character who could make science exciting for kids. They couldn’t have done much better than Valerie Frizzle, PhD, an indefatigable guide to the wonders of natural science. Sporting dresses decorated with test tubes, lightbulbs, and magnets, “the Frizz” as her students call her, lives by the motto, “Take chances, make mistakes, and get messy!” Together she and her students explored the solar system, the ocean floor, beehives, climate change, and other phenomena of our physical world. Thirteen books and a television series later, she has become so beloved a character in American children’s literature that during the pandemic, a New York Times headline urged parents, “This School Year, Unleash Your Inner Ms. Frizzle.” 

give now

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.