It’s the holidays and Ms. Frizzle’s class is sorting recycling! (This genuinely makes my heart glow). Liz the Lizard is even powering the sorting conveyor belt by peddling a bicycle — so this is an entirely green operation!
But Wanda is being kind of a grinch about the whole thing because she’s worried they won’t finish recycling in time for her to make it to the Nutcracker ballet performance. She even has a special nutcracker that she’s brought to school with her.
At the recycling plant we meet Ms. Frizzle’s cousin, Murph. She’s voiced by the one and only Dolly Parton! As you probably know, Ms. Frizzle is voiced by Lily Tomlin so it’s like a very special mini-9 to 5 reunion! (Also, I did not know Ms. Frizzle’s first name was Val, so that’s kind of a fun fact.)
At the plant, Arnold dumps the nutcracker into one of the transportation bins. Wanda spots it just in time to see Murph drive away, which sets us off on a journey through recycling! Wanda’s nutcracker doesn’t fare so well. He’s smooshed up and turned into a pile of plastic pellets, which is strange because I thought Nutcrackers were made of wood. But evidently in this case, they’re made of recyclable plastic.
So now Wanda hates recycling…and she wishes that recycling had never been invented. (Careful what you wish for Wanda! Sounds like you would really like the Trump administration).
Luckily, this is a safe learning environment and not 2019 America, so Ms. Frizzle decides to show Wanda what the world would look like without recycling. Hint: there are no trees and the landfills are overflowing.
Wanda is a hot mess. She bangs on the bus (rude, since we know the bus is anthropomorphic) which sets off its anti-recycling ray — and un-recycles the bus. So basically it’s a pile of junk.
Luckily, Murph is there to show them how to recycle bottles and cans (at the landfill that used to be their school) in order to rebuild their bus from plastic pellets in a few short minutes! Idk if this is okay with child labor laws, but I guess they were in dire straights and really needed that bus back. Now that they have the bus back, Ms. Frizzle restores the recycled world!
Things work out for Wanda too because she uses what she’s learned about plastic pellet recycling to make brand new nutcrackers soldiers for herself and the entire class. (So I guess they were toy soldiers the whole time and not nutcrackers–whoops, my bad.)
I’ll let Dolly handle today’s Very Special Christmas Lesson: