''I love those Magic School Bus books because the teacher wears such crazy clothes,'' a solemn little guy once told me. It's true that in Lost in the Solar System, the fourth in the series, the splendidly nonchalant Ms. Frizzle first wears a green dress blazoned with pink piggy banks and golden coins and then changes to a jaunty pink space suit with stars and moons. But what I think the little guy really meant was that he loved the idea of a teacher so wild and weird that she would take her class on wonderfully imaginative field trips to the most amazing places.
The Magic science books (which have led readers on zany journeys into the earth, a waterworks system, and the human body) are full of information that's as much fun to swallow as Froot Loops. Here, as the school kids squirm, squabble, and banter in comic-strip dialogue balloons, Ms. Frizzle calmly guides them on a tour of the Moon, Mars, and Venus. Each busy page of cartoon- y illustrations includes notebook pages, jokes, quizzes, and charts on the solar system's wonders.
The fun is irresistible and the information substantial, despite its giddily appealing presentation. A