(NEW YORK) — Joanna Cole, former librarian who created the bestselling book-turned TV series The Magic School Bus, has died at 75. Her publisher, Scholastic, says the author succumbed to idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

Cole’s 1986 creation became a hit animated series, and recently it was announced that Elizabeth Banks would play the bus’ time-and-space-travelling teacher, Mrs. Frizzle, in a live-action movie based on the beloved book series. 

The series also spawned a Netflix show in 2017 called The Magic School Bus: Rides Again, with the voice of SNL cast member Kate McKinnon as Ms. Frizzle’s sister, Fiona.

“Joanna Cole had the perfect touch for blending science and story,” said Scholastic Chairman and CEO Dick Robinson said in a statement. “[Her] books, packed with equal parts humor 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 publisher noted there were more than 93 million copies of the award-winning Magic School Bus series in print in 13 countries.

Prior to her death, Joanna Cole and longtime illustrator Bruce Degen completed The Magic School Bus Explores Human Evolution, which is slated for publication in the spring of 2021.

By Stephen Iervolino
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