"Doctor Bones" written by the talented Joanne Alain Cook was published on September 7, 2021. This children's book uses rhyme and some Halloween fun to get your little readers excited and engaged in reading. We talked to Joanne, and here's what we learned about her engaging literacy-building book!
Doctor Bones is both a doctor and a skeleton. Each year, as Halloween approaches, spooks and ghouls search out the doctor for care. He always knows just what they need, because he can feel it in his bones.
A fun extra in this picture book are hidden gems in the background. Although the office appears the same, at first glance, from page to page, a sharp eye may spot one minor change in the background.
What do you hope kids or readers get from your story? What is the message to kids and parents?
The main purpose of this story is to reinforce the joy of reading together. There are repetitive rhymes, and as parent and child go through the story, predictable lines, such as, “he can feel it in his bones!” will have non-reading little easily ones joining in.
A second message is one of care. Every ghoul who visits the doctor needs a little boost to get them ready for their big night and doctor Bones finds a way to help everyone.
What inspired your story?
My children inspired this story. Every day we’d read beautiful books by wonderful authors, and every night they’d tell me what type of characters they wanted in their bedtime story. Then, I’d weave them a tale. If the tale was a winner, I’d draw it up in a sketchbook to be enjoyed over and over again.
One particular Halloween season, we were enamored with books like Big Pumpkin, and it became clear that we needed a spooky story of our own. Soon, Doctor Bones was born and has been an all-time family favorite ever since.
What was the hardest part of your journey creating this book?
Transferring hand-drawn pencil sketches into usable graphics for printing proved difficult. Cute drawings on paper did not turn out half as charming in a digital format. Scanning, correcting, redrawing, and coloring the pictures proved hard, especially since my kids insisted the “look” of Doctor Bones, and other ghouls, stay true to the original. Enter my digital co-illustrator, my tween queen, Grace.
She proposed making digitally clean backgrounds behind the original drawings and it worked! Her clear, sharp images provided the perfect settings for the doctor’s office and examination room and gave the graphics an upgraded look.
What was the most inspiring part of your journey in creating this book?
The most inspiring moment of creating this book was the moment my 12-year-old shared how to use a drawing pad, use the different layers, add color, change color, and modify and alter the artwork in many different ways. Teaching this old girl new tricks got me very serious about creating the printable art, as well as the words, for this picture book and opened the door to possibly doing it all.
Who helped or inspired you through your journey as an author?
Many people inspired me on my journey to become an author. The first was, definitely, my older brother, Victor Cook. Listening to him discuss character motivation and development, how to convey more with a dynamic storyboard, then watching his projects come to life, has always been awe-inspiring. His encouragement and belief in my talents, always motivated my creative juices. To this day, I credit my brother with instilling the joy of drawing in me. He is, by far, my favorite artist, animator, and creative mentor.
Learn More About Doctor Bones and Joanne Alain Cook
Check Joanne's website and social media pages below to learn more about this incredible author and her book.