Joanna Cole, author of The Magic School Bus series, dies aged 75

Louis Chilton
·1-min read

Joanna Cole, the author known for her best-selling Magic School Bus series, has died at the age of 75.

Publishing company Scholastic announced the news yesterday (15 July). The cause of death was idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

Cole wrote the first Magic School Bus book in 1986 in collaboration with illustrator Bruce Degen. The series focuses on a teacher called Ms Frizzle, who takes her students on fantastical bus rides to teach them about science.

The franchise was adapted into a successful children's TV series, and the books have sold more than 93 million copies in 13 countries around the world.

Dick Robinson, chairman and CEO of Scholastic, said: “Joanna’s books, packed with equal parts humour and information, made science both easy to understand and fun for the hundreds of millions of children around the world who read her books and watched the award-winning television series."

The original TV adaptation of The Magic School Bus ran from 1994 to 1997, and starred Lily Tomlin in the lead role.

Plans for a live-action movie adaptation, starring Elizabeth Banks as Ms Frizzle, were also recently announced.

Cole was born in 1944 in Newark, New Jersey. She worked as a school librarian before getting a job as a magazine and children's book editor. Her first book, Cockroaches, was published in 1971.

The author is survived by her husband Phil, daughter Rachel, son-in-law John, grandchildren Annabelle and William, and sister Virginia.

Read more

Why is Hollywood so obsessed with King Arthur?

Aaaaaay-o! Aaaaaay-o! Why Live Aid was the greatest show of all

Max Irons: ‘Cancel culture is a problem’