Naylor, Phyllis 1933- (Phyllis Reynolds Naylor)

views updated

Naylor, Phyllis 1933- (Phyllis Reynolds Naylor)

PERSONAL:

Born January 4, 1933, in Anderson, IN; daughter of Eugene S. and Lura Reynolds; married Thomas A. Tedesco, Jr., September 9, 1951 (divorced, 1960); married Rex V. Naylor (a speech pathologist), May 26, 1960; children: Jeffrey Alan, Michael Scott. Education: Joliet Junior College, diploma, 1953; American University, B.A., 1963. Politics: Independent. Religion: Unitarian Universalist. Hobbies and other interests: Music, drama, hiking, swimming.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Gaithersburg, MD.

CAREER:

Billings Hospital, Chicago, IL, clinical secretary, 1953-56; elementary school teacher in Hazel Crest, IL, 1956; Montgomery County Education Association, Rockville, MD, assistant executive secretary, 1958-59; National Education Association, Washington, DC, editorial assistant with NEA Journal, 1959-60; full-time writer, 1960—. Active in civil rights and peace organizations.

MEMBER:

Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, Authors Guild, PEN, Authors League of America, Children's Book Guild of Washington (president, 1974-75, 1983-84).

AWARDS, HONORS:

Children's Book of the Year, Child Study Association of America, 1971, for Wrestle the Mountain; Golden Kite Award for nonfiction, Society of Children's Book Authors, 1978, and International Reading Association (IRA) Children's Choice citation, 1979, both for How I Came to Be a Writer; IRA Children's Choice citation, 1980, for How Lazy Can You Get?; American Library Association (ALA) Young Adult Services Division (YASD) Best Book for Young Adults citation and Notable Children's Book in the Field of Social Studies citation from National Council for Social Studies, both 1982, and South Carolina Young Adult Book Award, 1985-86, all for A String of Chances; Child Study Award, Bank Street College, 1983, for The Solomon System; ALA Notable Book citation, 1985, and IRA Children's Choice Citation, 1986, both for The Agony of Alice; Edgar Allan Poe Award, Mystery Writers of America, 1985, for Night Cry; Notable Children's Book in the Field of Social Studies citation, 1985, for The Dark of the Tunnel; ALA YASD Best Book for Young Adults Citation, 1986, for The Keeper; creative writing fellowship, grant, National Endowment for the Arts, 1987; ALA YASD Best Book for Young Adults citation, 1987, and Best Young Adult Book of the Year from Michigan Library Association, 1988, both for Year of the Gopher; Society of School Librarians International Book Award, 1988, for Maudie in the Middle; Christopher Award from the Christophers, 1989, for Keeping a Christmas Secret; ALA Notable Book for Young Adults Citation, 1989, for Send No Blessings; John Newbery Medal from Association for Library Service to Children, 1992, for Shiloh; Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award, 1993; Kerlan Award, University of Minnesota Kerlan Collection, 1995, for Naylor's body of work; Appalachian Medallion, University of Charleston, 1997, for distinguished writing; Edgar Allan Poe Award, 2004, for Bernie Magruder and the Bats in the Belfry; ASPCA Roger Caras Achievement Award, 2008. Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, Anderson University, 2008.

WRITINGS:

Crazy Love: An Autobiographical Account of Marriage and Madness (nonfiction), Morrow (New York, NY), 1977.

In Small Doses (humorous fiction), Atheneum (New York, NY), 1979.

Revelations (novel), St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1979, Soho Press (New York, NY), 2003.

Unexpected Pleasures (fiction), Putnam (New York, NY), 1986.

The Craft of Writing the Novel (nonfiction), Writer (Boston, MA), 1989.

NONFICTION FOR CHILDREN AND YOUNG ADULTS

How to Find Your Wonderful Someone, How to Keep Him/Her If You Do, How to Survive If You Don't, Fortress (Philadelphia, PA), 1972.

An Amish Family, illustrated by George Armstrong, J. Philip O'Hara (Merrick, NY), 1974.

Getting Along in Your Family, illustrated by Rick Cooley, Abingdon (Nashville, TN), 1976.

How I Came to Be a Writer, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1978, 3rd revised edition, Aladdin Books (New York, NY), 2002.

Getting Along with Your Friends, illustrated by Rick Cooley, Abingdon (Nashville, TN), 1980.

Getting Along with Your Teachers, illustrated by Rick Cooley, Abingdon (Nashville, TN), 1981.

FICTION FOR CHILDREN AND YOUNG ADULTS

The Galloping Goat and Other Stories (short stories), illustrated by Robert L. Jefferson, Abingdon (Nashville, TN), 1965.

Grasshoppers in the Soup: Short Stories for Teen-agers, Fortress (Philadelphia, PA), 1965.

Knee Deep in Ice Cream and Other Stories (short stories), Fortress (Philadelphia, PA), 1967.

What the Gulls Were Singing, illustrated by Jack Smith, Follett (Chicago, IL), 1967.

Jennifer Jean, the Cross-Eyed Queen, illustrated by Harold K. Lamson, Lerner (Minneapolis, MN), 1967.

To Shake a Shadow, Abingdon (Nashville, TN), 1967.

The New Schoolmaster, illustrated by Mamoru Funai, Silver Burdett (Morristown, NJ), 1967.

A New Year's Surprise, illustrated by Jack Endewelt, Silver Burdett (Morristown, NJ), 1967.

When Rivers Meet, Friendship (New York, NY), 1968.

The Dark Side of the Moon (short stories), Fortress (Philadelphia, PA), 1969.

Meet Murdock, illustrated by Gioia Fiammenghi, Follett (Chicago, IL), 1969.

To Make a Wee Moon, Follett (Chicago, IL), 1969.

The Private I and Other Stories (short stories), Fortress (Philadelphia, PA), 1969.

Making It Happen, Follett (Chicago, IL), 1970.

Ships in the Night, Fortress (Philadelphia, PA), 1970.

Wrestle the Mountain, Follett (Chicago, IL), 1971.

No Easy Circle, Follett (Chicago, IL), 1972.

To Walk the Sky Path, Follett (Chicago, IL), 1973.

Walking through the Dark, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1976.

How Lazy Can You Get?, illustrated by Alan Daniel, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1979.

A Change in the Wind, Augsburg Press (Minneapolis, MN), 1980.

Eddie, Incorporated, illustrated by Blanche Sims, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1980.

All Because I'm Older, illustrated by Leslie Morrill, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1981.

The Boy with the Helium Head, illustrated by Kay Chorao, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1982.

A String of Chances, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1982.

Never Born a Hero, Augsburg Press (Minneapolis, MN), 1982.

The Solomon System, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1983.

A Triangle Has Four Sides, Augsburg Press (Minneapolis, MN), 1984.

Night Cry, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1984.

Old Sadie and the Christmas Bear, illustrated by Patricia Montgomery, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1984.

The Dark of the Tunnel, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1985.

The Keeper, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1986.

The Baby, the Bed, and the Rose, illustrated by Mary Stilagyi, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1987.

The Year of the Gopher, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1987.

Beetles, Lightly Toasted, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1987.

(With mother, Lura Schield Reynolds) Maudie in the Middle, illustrated by Judith Gwyn Brown, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1988.

One of the Third Grade Thonkers, illustrated by Walter Gaffney-Kessell, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1988.

Keeping a Christmas Secret, illustrated by Lena Shiffman, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1989.

Send No Blessings, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1990.

King of the Playground, illustrated by Nola Langner, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1991.

Josie's Troubles, illustrated by Josie Matheis, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1992.

The Grand Escape, illustrated by Alan Daniel, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1993.

The Fear Place, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1994.

Being Danny's Dog, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1995.

Ducks Disappearing, illustrated by Tony Maddox, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1996.

Ice, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1996.

I Can't Take You Anywhere, illustrated by Jef Kaminsky, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1997.

The Healing of Texas Jake, illustrated by Alan Daniel, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1997.

Danny's Desert Rats, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1998.

Sang Spell, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1998.

Sweet Strawberries, illustrated by Rosalind Charney, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1999.

Walker's Crossing, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1999.

Carlotta's Kittens and the Club of Mysteries, illustrated by Alan Daniel, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2000.

Jade Green, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2000.

The Great Chicken Debacle, Marshall Cavendish (New York, NY), 2001.

Percy's Picnic, illustrated by Ana Escriva Lopez, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2002.

Blizzard's Wake, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2002.

Cuckoo Feathers, Marshall Cavendish (New York, NY), 2006.

Roxie and the Hooligans, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2006.

Patches and Scratches, Marshall Cavendish (New York, NY), 2007.

Eating Enchiladas, Marshall Cavendish (New York, NY), 2008.

Cricket Man, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2008.

"BOYS VERSUS GIRLS" SERIES

The Boys Start the War, Delacorte (New York, NY), 1993.

The Girls Get Even, Delacorte (New York, NY), 1993.

Boys against Girls, Delacorte (New York, NY), 1994.

The Girls' Revenge, Delacorte (New York, NY), 1998.

A Traitor among the Boys, Delacorte (New York, NY), 1999.

A Spy among the Girls, Delacorte (New York, NY), 2000.

The Boys Return, Delacorte (New York, NY), 2001.

The Girls Take Over, Delacorte (New York, NY), 2002.

Boys in Control, Delacorte (New York, NY), 2003.

Girls Rule!, Delacorte (New York, NY), 2004.

Boys Rock!, Delacorte (New York, NY), 2005.

Who Won the War?, Delacorte (New York, NY), 2006.

"WITCH" TRILOGY

Witch's Sister, illustrated by Gail Owens, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1975.

Witch Water, illustrated by Gail Owens, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1977.

The Witch Herself, illustrated by Gail Owens, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1978.

"SECOND WITCH" TRILOGY

The Witch's Eye, illustrated by Joe Burleson, Delacorte (New York, NY), 1990.

Witch Weed, illustrated by Joe Burleson, Delacorte (New York, NY), 1991.

The Witch Returns, illustrated by Joe Burleson, Delacorte (New York, NY), 1992.

"YORK" TRILOGY

Shadows on the Wall, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1980.

Faces in the Water, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1981.

Footprints at the Window, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1981.

"BESSLEDORF" SERIES

The Mad Gasser of Bessledorf Street, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1983.

The Bodies in the Bessledorf Hotel, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1986.

Bernie and the Bessledorf Ghost, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1990.

The Face in the Bessledorf Funeral Parlor, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1993.

The Bomb in the Bessledorf Bus Depot, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1996.

The Treasure of Bessledorf Hill, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1997.

Peril in the Bessledorf Parachute Factory, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1999.

Bernie Magruder and the Case of the Big Stink, Thorndike Press (Thorndike, ME), 2001.

Bernie Magruder and the Bats in the Belfry, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2003.

"ALICE" SERIES

The Agony of Alice, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1985.

Alice in Rapture, Sort Of, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1989.

Reluctantly Alice, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1989.

All but Alice, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1992.

Alice in April, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1993.

Alice In-Between, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1994.

Alice the Brave, Atheneum, 1995.

Alice in Lace, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1996.

Outrageously Alice, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1997.

Achingly Alice, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1998.

Alice on the Outside, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1999.

The Grooming of Alice, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2000.

Alice Alone, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2001.

Simply Alice, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2002.

Starting with Alice, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2002.

Patiently Alice, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2003.

Alice in Blunderland, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2003.

The World of Alice (omnibus), Atheneum (New York, NY), 2003.

Alice, Woman of the House, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2003.

Including Alice, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2004.

Alice on Her Way, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2005.

Lovingly Alice, Aladdin Paperbacks (New York, NY), 2006.

Alice in the Know, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2006.

Dangerously Alice, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2007.

Almost Alice, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2008.

"SHILOH" SERIES

Shiloh, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1991.

Shiloh Season, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1996.

Saving Shiloh, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1997.

ADAPTATIONS:

Sound recordings by the American Prose Library have been made of Naylor reading from her own works; excerpts from The Agony of Alice and The Keeper were released on one cassette in 1987, and excerpts from Unexpected Pleasures were released on another cassette in the same year. Audio recordings of Shiloh, Shiloh Season, and Saving Shiloh were released by Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Publishing in 1992, 1997, and 1998, respectively; Shiloh Season was adapted as a videotape. Unabridged sound recordings were made of Alice the Brave and Fear Place, 1996, by Recorded Books; Witch's Sister was adapted into a children's film; The Keeper was adapted into the ABC Afterschool Special "My Dad Can't Be Crazy"; Shiloh was adapted into a feature film and released in 1997; Saving Shiloh was adapted into a feature film and released in 2006; The Agony of Alice was adapted into a film titled as Alice Upside Down, and released on DVD in 2008.

SIDELIGHTS:

Phyllis Naylor's extensive output of novels for children and young adults displays great diversity of subject and tone. She has dealt with many serious issues—mental illness in The Keeper, crib death and a crisis of faith in A String of Chances, and difficult moral choices in Shiloh. Her body of work, however, also includes the comic mysteries of the "Bessledorf" series, the supernatural tales of the "Witch" trilogies, and a broad range of other stories. She has also written nonfiction for young people, covering subjects that include writing as a career and advice on relationships. Her work for adults likewise comprises fiction and nonfiction; among the latter is an account of her troubled first marriage to a paranoid schizophrenic.

Several critics have praised Naylor as an author who creates believable and sympathetic characters in stories that appeal to young readers. Often caught in between childhood and adulthood, her characters face large and small challenges and, in the process, they often find their inner strength. Naylor has featured single-parent families in a number of her juvenile novels. The protagonists of Ice and Being Danny's Dog both have absent fathers; the main character in Naylor's "Alice" series is a girl coping with adolescence after her mother's death. The Agony of Alice, the first of the series, finds Alice longing for a woman's guidance as she enters puberty; subsequent entries show her falling in love for the first time, learning about adult responsibilities, sticking up for a gay friend, and contending with all the ups and downs of her teenage years. Critiquing The Agony of Alice for School Library Journal, Caroline Ward Romans commented that Naylor "exhibits a deft touch at capturing the essence of an endearing heroine growing up without a mother." In Booklist, Hazel Rochman called the novel "a wonderfully funny and touching story that will make readers smile with wry recognition." Naylor also began a series of prequels to the other Alice books; the 2002 book Starting with Alice shows readers what Alice was like in third grade. A Kirkus Reviews critic predicted that "this cheerful addition will find a ready audience among the younger siblings of Alice fans as well as the devoted older fans themselves."

Naylor's more recent additions to the "Alice" series show Alice as a teenager. The Grooming of Alice, the twelfth book in the series, shows Alice and her friends Pamela and Elizabeth during the summer between middle school and high school. Longing to have perfect bodies, the girls make a pact to exercise and lose weight before they start at their new school. As the weeks pass by, Elizabeth seems to be developing anorexia; Pamela asks Alice to hide her when she runs away because of trouble at home; and the girls are shocked, embarrassed, and fascinated by the things a nurse tells them about grooming, nutrition, and the human body when they take a class called "For Girls Only" at the YMCA. The book is "as relevant, candid, and touching as ever," according to Hazel Rochman in a Booklist review. Alice Alone shows Alice seemingly on top of the world in high school, until she has to cope with a breakup initiated by her boyfriend, Patrick. As usual, the book's heavier moments are balanced with "wry, slapstick comedy," said Rochman in another Booklist review. In Simply Alice, Alice deals with many small, daily embarrassments and problems, and in Patiently Alice, she works as a counselor at a summer camp and waits for her father's impending marriage to her former teacher. Achingly Alice shows her supporting her friends Pamela and Elizabeth when they must deal with problems as diverse as a parental breakup to a pelvic examination in the doctor's office.

Alice in Blunderland returns to Alice's earlier years, showing her in the fourth grade, and Lovingly Alice completes the prequel installment of Alice's story. In it, Alice must cope with a missing friend, the death of a beloved cat, and a move to a new home. Including Alice moves forward in time again, and shows the teen trying to adjust to her father's marriage. Although she has long wanted it to happen, once her new stepmother moves in, she finds she is not as happy about the new situation as she had thought she would be. It is rated as another "satisfying installment" in the series by Horn Book reviewer Kitty Flynn. Alice on Her Way finds her with a new boyfriend and reluctantly attending a church-sponsored sex education course. Alice in the Know is the twenty-first book in the series, and it shows Alice working a summer job, getting fired from her job, and coping with an extremely embarrassing situation after she accidently sends an intimate, private e-mail to every boy in her class. It all makes for "enthralling daily drama," wrote Rochman in Booklist. Dangerously Alice shows the sixteen-year-old trying to lose her reputation as being too well-behaved, and ending up rejecting the advances of an older, sexually experienced boy. Kitty Flynn, reviewing for Horn Book, said the author makes the point that "growing up involves taking chances."

In a different vein is the "Bessledorf" series, which centers on a young boy, Bernie Magruder, whose father manages the Bessledorf Hotel in Middleburg, Indiana. The hotel is the scene of many humorous mysteries; for instance, the second book in the series, The Bodies in the Bessledorf Hotel, deals with corpses that unexpectedly appear and disappear at the hostelry. "The subject of bodies, which I feared might be a bit touchy, is treated comically," noted Washington Post Book World contributor Carolyn Banks, who went on to praise the deadpan humor of the book's opening dialogue between Bernie and a police officer. Critics have sometimes found the series's comedic topics inappropriate or distasteful, though. School Library Journal reviewer John Sigwald called The Bomb in the Bessledorf Bus Depot "unfortunately untimely," given real-life tragedies; he noted that "unlike the real world, in Naylor's cartoon creation nobody ever gets hurt." Peril in the Bessledorf Parachute Factory, which became available in 2000, faired slightly better. The installment, in which Bernie tries to marry off his sister Delores in order to have her room, prompted Catherine Andronik to remark in Booklist that "the humor is right on target for middle-graders."

Another of Naylor's series, "Boys against Girls," chronicles the ongoing feud between the Hatford boys and the Malloy girls, who live in Buckman, West Virginia. Throughout the series, the two groups of children play a host of pranks on each other. In A Spy among the Girls, a cougar figures into the action; he reappears again in The Boys Return, causing the two rival groups to band together in order to capture the feline menace. The Girls Take Over finds the boys and girls competing in sports and academics, as well as a race in which they launch bottles down the river. The story is full of "good-humored fun," according to a Kirkus Reviews writer. In Boys in Control, the girls find some photographs that could seriously humiliate the boys, and in Girls Rule!, the two groups learn that they may become neighbors, and do everything they can to prevent that from happening. Boys Rock! features a mystery and more pranks, in a story that "will satisfy series fans and recruit new readers," said Shelle Rosenfeld in Booklist. In Who Won the War? the Malloys are poised to move back to Ohio where they originally lived, but they end up having to stay in the Hatford home after a serious power outage affects the area where they are headed. Rebecca Sheridan, reviewing for the School Library Journal, found this an "engaging" conclusion to the series.

Naylor entered the Gothic realm in the "Witch" trilogies, about a young girl who suspects others of witchcraft. Witch Water, the second volume of the first trilogy, "presents with total believability the delicate, potentially volatile balance which exists in the sensitive heroine's mind between her world of escapist fantasy and her actual situation in ordinary reality," commented Sharon Leder in a review for The Lion and the Unicorn. Another venture by Naylor into the supernatural was the "York" trilogy, concerning a young man whose travels through time help him come to terms with his fears about a disease than runs in his family. In 1998's Sang Spell, a teenager who has just lost his mother in a car crash decides to hitchhike and is accidentally transported to a town in the Appalachian mountains where time seems to have stopped. John Peters, reviewing the novel in Booklist, praised it as "a masterfully crafted tale of mystery, magic, and madness."

Naylor has received numerous awards and substantial acclaim for serious, issue-oriented works. In The Keeper, an adolescent boy tries to live a normal life while grappling with his father's mental illness. Naylor's inspiration for the book came after she had published Crazy Love: An Autobiographical Account of Marriage and Madness, dealing with her first husband's schizophrenia and its effect on their relationship. "I began to think, hey, if I couldn't cope with this as a twenty-three-year-old woman, how would a thirteen-year-old boy handle it?" Naylor said in an interview for the American Audio Prose Library. Her exploration of this situation brought favorable reviews. "This is a sensitively wrought novel with no happy ending but certainly with an affirmation of individual strength and emotional survival in the face of adversity," Denise M. Wilms wrote in Booklist.

Naylor has explored a variety of other difficult issues. A String of Chances focuses on a young girl, daughter of a fundamentalist minister, who finds her faith shaken after a cousin's baby dies. Booklist contributor Sally Estes found the characters well drawn and the situations absorbing. "Specific scenes and themes … all smoothly converge and interlock," she noted. "The effect is totally involving and moving." The Dark of the Tunnel tells the story of a teenage boy whose mother is dying of cancer; John R. Lord, reviewing for Voice of Youth Advocates, called the book "one of the best adolescent novels dealing with death I have ever read." In Booklist, however, Stephanie Zvirin called the story "heavy-handed and uneven," although featuring "some genuine flashes of insight and emotion." Walker's Crossing, one of Naylor's 1999 efforts, tackles the issue of right-wing militia movements. "What's daring," noted a Publishers Weekly reviewer, "about Naylor's approach is that Ryan [the protagonist] doesn't automatically reject the group's doctrines…. The issues and the characters are developed fairly."

Moral questions are at the center of Shiloh, for which Naylor received the John Newbery Medal, the most prestigious American award in children's literature. Marty, a young West Virginia boy, takes in a dog that has run away from an abusive master. He wants to protect the dog, but feels guilty about not returning it to its owner, and about the lies he tells to deal with the situation; he tries to figure out the right thing to do. "Without breaking new ground, Marty's tale is well told," observed a Publishers Weekly contributor, who described the book as "heartwarming." At least one critic, though, had a quibble with its selection for the Newbery award. "Surely there must have been a book more important than this agreeable but slight story," Jane Langton wrote in the New York Times Book Review. Langton pronounced Shiloh "a good book, not a great book." Naylor also penned two follow-ups to ShilohShiloh Season and Saving Shiloh. The latter tale features the reformation of Shiloh's original abusive owner.

Naylor's other works have exhibited great variety, from the comedy of Beetles, Lightly Toasted, about a boy who comes up with insect-based recipes in an effort to win a contest, to the nostalgia of Maudie in the Middle, concerning an early-twentieth-century girl, a middle child, seeking to distinguish herself in her family. The latter was inspired by the experiences of Naylor's mother, Lura Schield Reynolds, who is credited as coauthor of the book.

Naylor has said many of her story ideas and characters have come from her relatives, as well as from her desire to live someone else's life for a while. Commenting on her abundant flow of ideas, she wrote in How I Came to Be a Writer: "On my deathbed, I am sure, I will gasp, ‘I still have five more books to write!’"

Naylor told CA: "I've loved to write as long as I can remember, probably because our parents read aloud to us every night until we were well into our teens. It was simply a part of the evening in our home. I guess I figured that if listening to stories—read with great expression and drama—was so much fun, writing them must be even better.

"Ideas come from things that happen to me, things I wonder about or read about or are told to me by friends, and usually begin as a situation that needs a solution. I play it out in my head, and keep six or eight three-ring notebooks by my chair, each with the title of a book in progress stuck to the spine with masking tape. Each notebook is filled with notes and clippings, character sketches—anything at all that might be useful to me when I begin the actual writing. When the plot ‘boils over’ in my mind, I know it's time to begin a particular book.

"I write the first chapter in longhand, then immediately rewrite it more legibly, changing as I go, so that the entire book is written twice in longhand. The third draft is typed on the computer, with more revising. It's printed out, given to my husband to read and criticize; revised, printed out, read to my critique group who make suggestions; revised still again and sent to my editor for more suggested revision. Most of my novels go through six or eight drafts before they go off to the printer.

"One of the things that intrigues me about writing is the similarity to acting. The first draft is like a first rehearsal, with the director or writer figuring out just where each character enters, how he is dressed, and how the scene should be played. At each subsequent rehearsal, as with drafts of a manuscript, the acting or writing is more polished, more refined, more assured. The dress rehearsal, as with galley proofs, is the last chance to make changes before the curtain rises or the book is published. A lot of work, a lot of worry, but it's worth it. If I had to choose the favorite among my children's novels, I suppose it would be the ‘Shiloh’ series. But if I were to choose among the novels for adults, it would definitely be Unexpected Pleasures, probably the book I enjoyed writing the most."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Children's Literature Review, Volume 17, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1989.

Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds, Crazy Love: An Autobiographical Account of Marriage and Madness, Morrow (New York, NY), 1977.

Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds, How I Came to Be a Writer, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1978, 3rd revised edition, Aladdin Books (New York, NY), 2002.

PERIODICALS

Booklist, August, 1982, Sally Estes, review of A String of Chances, p. 1518; March 15, 1985, review of The Dark of the Tunnel, pp. 1051-1052; October 1, 1985, review of The Agony of Alice, pp. 264-265; April 1, 1986, Denise M. Wilms, review of The Keeper, p. 1144; September 15, 1998, John Peters, review of Sang Spell, p. 228; May 1, 1999, Hazel Rochman, "Alice, Still Outrageous," p. 1586; January 1, 2000, Catherine Andronik, review of Peril in the Bessledorf Parachute Factory, p. 926; June 1, 2000, Hazel Rochman, review of The Grooming of Alice, p. 1880; September 1, 2000, Carolyn Phelan, review of A Spy among the Girls, p. 115; May 15, 2001, Hazel Rochman, review of Alice Alone, p. 1745; September 15, 2001, Stephanie Zvirin, review of Alice Alone, p. 225; December 15, 2001, Todd Morning, review of The Boys Return, p. 732; June 1, 2002, Hazel Rochman, review of Simply Alice, p. 1708; September 15, 2002, Hazel Rochman, review of The Girls Take Over, p. 235; October 15, 2002, Ed Sullivan, review of Blizzard's Wake, p. 401; January 1, 2003, Ilene Cooper, review of Bernie Magruder and the Bats in the Belfry, p. 892; August, 2003, Hazel Rochman, review of Patiently Alice, p. 1972; September 15, 2003, Ed Sullivan, review of Boys in Control, p. 241; October 1, 2003, Hazel Rochman, review of Alice in Blunderland, p. 321; November 1, 2004, Hazel Rochman, review of Lovingly Alice, p. 486; December 1, 2004, Hazel Rochman, review of Girls Rule!, p. 653; July, 2005, Hazel Rochman, review of Alice on Her Way, p. 1917; October 1, 2005, Shelle Rosenfeld, review of Boys Rock!, p. 59; February 15, 2006, Shelle Rosenfeld, review of Roxie and the Hooligans, p. 99; May 1, 2006, Hazel Rochman, review of Al-ice in the Know, p. 81; May 1, 2006, Linda Perkins, review of Cuckoo Feathers, p. 85; November 1, 2006, Carolyn Phelan, review of Who Won the War?, p. 50; March 1, 2007, Hazel Rochman, review of Patches and Scratches, p. 83; April 1, 2007, Hazel Rochman, review of Dangerously Alice, p. 41.

Daily Variety, May 12, 2006, John Anderson, review of Saving Shiloh, p. 5.

Entertainment Weekly, June 10, 2005, Tina Jordan, review of Alice on Her Way, p. 118.

Hollywood Reporter, May 12, 2006, Sheri Linden, review of Saving Shiloh, p. 13.

Horn Book Magazine, July, 2000, review of The Grooming of Alice, p. 463; July 1, 2002, Kitty Flynn, review of Simply Alice, p. 468; July 1, 2003, Kitty Flynn, review of Patiently Alice, p. 463; January 1, 2004, Kitty Flynn, review of Alice in Blunderland, p. 86; July 1, 2004, Kitty Flynn, review of Including Alice, p. 458; November 1, 2004, Kitty Flynn, review of Lovingly Alice, p. 714; July 1, 2005, Kitty Flynn, review of Alice on Her Way, p. 475; March 1, 2006, Vicky Smith, review of Roxie and the Hooligans, p. 193; July 1, 2006, Kitty Flynn, review of Alice in the Know, p. 448; July 1, 2007, Kitty Flynn, review of Dangerously Alice, p. 400.

Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2002, review of Simply Alice, p. 496; July 1, 2002, review of The Girls Take Over, p. 960; July 15, 2002, review of Starting with Alice, p. 1039; September 1, 2002, review of Blizzard's Wake, p. 1316; December 15, 2002, review of Bernie Magruder and the Bats in the Belfry, p. 1854; May 15, 2005, review of Alice on Her Way, p. 593; February 1, 2006, review of Roxie and the Hooligans, p. 135; March 15, 2006, review of Cuckoo Feathers, p. 297; March 1, 2007, review of Patches and Scratches, p. 229.

Kliatt, May, 2002, Paula Rohrlick, review of Simply Alice, p. 12; September, 2002, Paula Rohrlick, review of Alice Alone, p. 20; November, 2002, Michele Winship, review of Blizzard's Wake, p. 14; May, 2003, Paula Rohrlick, review of Patiently Alice, p. 12; November, 2003, Paula Rohrlick, review of Simply Alice, p. 18; January, 2004, Claire Rosser, review of Achingly Alice, p. 18; May, 2004, Paula Rohrlick, review of Including Alice, p. 12, and Michele Winship, review of Blizzard's Wake, p. 22; November, 2004, Paula Rohrlick, review of Patiently Alice, p. 20; May, 2005, Paula Rohrlick, review of Alice on Her Way, p. 16; March, 2006, Paula Rohrlick, review of Including Alice, p. 24; May, 2006, Claire Rosser, review of Alice in the Know, p. 12; November, 2006, Paula Rohrlick, review of Alice on Her Way, p. 22; May, 2007, Claire Rosser, review of Dangerously Alice, p. 17; November, 2007, Claire Rosser, review of Alice in the Know, p. 20.

New York Times Book Review, December 2, 1979, Michael Malone, review of Revelations, p. 15; November 2, 1986, Edwin J. Kennedy, Jr., review of Unexpected Pleasures, p. 21; May 10, 1992, Jane Langton, review of Shiloh, p. 21.

Publishers Weekly, July 12, 1991, review of Shiloh, pp. 66-67; August 17, 1992, review of Josie's Troubles, p. 501; October 17, 1994, review of The Fear Place, p. 82; September 20, 1999, review of Walker's Crossing, p. 88; November 19, 2001, review of The Boys Return, p. 70; October 28, 2002, review of Blizzard's Wake, p. 73; August 4, 2003, review of The Witch's Eye, p. 82; August 25, 2003, review of Alice in Blunderland, p. 64; November 17, 2003, review of Simply Alice, p. 68; February 20, 2006, review of Roxie and the Hooligans, p. 156; May 7, 2007, "Fiction Reprints," p. 62.

School Library Journal, January, 1986, Caroline Ward Romans, review of The Agony of Alice, p. 70; May, 1996, John Sigwald, review of The Bomb in the Bessledorf Bus Depot, p. 114; May, 2000, Dina Sherman, review of The Grooming of Alice, p. 175; September, 2000, Janet Gillen, review of A Spy among the Girls, p. 234; June, 2001, Amy Stultz, review of Alice Alone, p. 152; October, 2001, Kay Bowes, review of The Boys Return, p. 167; May, 2002, Ashley Larsen, review of Simply Alice, p. 158; September, 2002, Allison Grant, review of The Girls Take Over, p. 230; December, 2002, Susan Cooley, review of Blizzard's Wake, p. 146; May, 2003, Elaine Baran Black, review of Patiently Alice, p. 158; September, 2003, Catherine Threadgill, review of Alice in Blunderland, p. 218; October, 2003, Tina Zubak, review of Boys in Control, p. 172; May, 2004, Angela M. Boccuzzi, review of Including Alice, p. 156; September, 2004, Tina Zubak, review of Lovingly Alice, p. 213; October, 2004, Debbie Stewart Hoskins, review of Girls Rule!, p. 173; May, 2005, Tina Zubak, review of Alice on Her Way, p. 134, and Debbie Whitbeck, review of Polo's Mother, p. 134; November, 2005, Mary R. Hofmann, review of The Grooming of Alice, p. 58; January, 2006, Tina Zubak, review of Boys Rock!, p. 139; April, 2006, Kristine M. Casper, review of Roxie and the Hooligans, p. 114; June, 2006, Wendy Woodfill, review of Cuckoo Feathers, p. 124; August, 2006, Catherine Ensley, review of Alice in the Know, p. 126; September, 2006, Rebecca Sheridan, review of Who Won the War?, p. 214; August, 2007, Joyce Adams Burner, review of Dangerously Alice, p. 122.

Variety, May 15, 2006, John Anderson, review of Saving Shiloh, p. 31.

Voice of Youth Advocates, August, 1985, John R. Lord, review of The Dark of the Tunnel, p. 188.

Washington Post, January 28, 1992, David Streitfeld, "The Beagle and the Bethesda Author's Prize; Phyllis Reynolds Naylor Wins Newbery Medal for Shiloh," section E, p. 1.

Washington Post Book World, September 12, 1982, review of A String of Chances, p. 7; November 6, 1983, review of The Solomon System, p. 17; June 9, 1985, review of The Dark of the Tunnel, p. 10; March 9, 1986, review of The Keeper, p. 10; May 11, 1986, review of The Agony of Alice, p. 17; December 14, 1986, review of The Bodies in the Bessledorf Hotel, p. 8; May 10, 1987, review of The Year of the Gopher; January 7, 1996, review of Sang Spell, p. 10.

ONLINE

Carol Hurst's Children's Literature Web site,http://www.carolhurst.com/ (April 8, 2008), "Featured Author: Phyllis Naylor."

[email protected] Internet Public Library,http://www.ipl.org/div/kidspace/askauthor/Naylor.html/ (April 8, 2008), "Phyllis Naylor."

OTHER

Phyllis Naylor Interview with Kay Bonetti (sound recording), American Audio Prose Library (Columbia, MO), 1987.

About this article

Naylor, Phyllis 1933- (Phyllis Reynolds Naylor)

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article