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Saturday, March 01, 2014

Phyllis Krasilovsky, 87

Phyllis Krasilovsky, a former Westport resident, author of popular children’s books, died Feb. 26 in Redding. She was 87.

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Phyllis Krasilovsky: authored 24 children’s books. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Jane Hickok/The Redding Pilot photo

The cause was complications of a stroke, her daughter Jessica Krasilovsky told The New York Times.

Krasilovsky and her husband William, an entertainment attorney, lived on Westport’s Wakeman Place for five years before moving in 2011 to Meadow Ridge in Redding after she developed Lyme’s disease. She had previously lived in Stamford and Chappaqua, N.Y.

By her own account, Krasilovsky made an emphatic entry into the world of children’s book publishing.

“I stormed into the office at Doubleday of editor Margaret Lesser and told her that she must read these stories immediately,” Krasilovsky was quoted as saying in “Something About the Author,” a series of biographies about writers. “She was impressed.”

Those stories were eventually published as “The Very Little Girl” (1953), a simple, reassuring tale (illustrated by Ninon) of a tiny girl — “she was smaller than a rose bush” — who finally begins to grow; and “The Man Who Didn’t Wash His Dishes” (1950, with illustrations by Barbara Cooney), about a lazy man who neglects his dirty plates for so long that he has to eat from a soap dish.

Krasilovsky went on to write several other children’s books, which were translated into 14 languages. One, “The Cow Who Fell in the Canal” (1957), a glimpse of life in Holland, illustrated by Peter Spier, became so popular in translation in the Netherlands that the Dutch consulate in New York feted her, the Times said.

In total, she wrote 24 children’s books and also published 17 columns in The New York Times as well as at least 350 articles published in leading magazines. With her husband, Krasilovsky traveled to 147 countries.

Phyllis Louise Manning was born in Brooklyn on Aug. 28, 1926, and graduated from James Madison High School, where she met Bill Krasilovsky. They married while he was in law school at Cornell and spent three years in Alaska — to experience the last American frontier, her husband said — before returning to the Northeast.

“I was occasionally an editor of a magazine. I was editor of the Westchester Spotlight, an area newspaper,” she told the Redding Pilot in 2012.

In 1970, Krasilovsky taught the history of children’s literature at Marymount College for three years.

“I would’ve taught longer but it took a lot out of me. I got a lot of students published,” she told the newspaper.

After teaching, Krasilovsky went on to write “The Popular Girls Club,” a teenage-based novel.

Besides her husband and daughter Jessica, her survivors include two other daughters, Alexis Krasilovsky and Margaret Brookes; a son, Peter; and a grandson.

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Posted 03/01/14 at 10:51 PM  Permalink



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