January 4, 1933
Phyllis Reynolds Naylor is a versatile writer. Her likable characters struggle toward maturity, often with the help of caring families. Her topics range from crib death to mental illness, from war to divorce.
“Perhaps I will work on a very serious book in the morning and a funny one in the afternoon,” Naylor told Sally Holmes Holtze. “I particularly like writing books about realistic problems, books that are both sad and funny, but I have also done two trilogies of a different sort—a terrifying one about witchcraft … and a trilogy about ghosts and Gypsies.”
The Witch books are about Lynn Morley's battle with good and evil; she tries to convince her parents that her older sister and a neighbor woman are really witches. The York trilogy is about Dan Roberts, a teenager who may have inherited the illness Huntington's chorea, as he travels through time to help a Gypsy family at the time of the plague.
“She writes well in a variety of forms and styles,” John D. Stahl observed, “including comic adventure stories, philosophical timetravel fantasies, realistic novels about adolescents maturing, dark problem novels, and various kinds of nonfiction.”
The daughter of a salesman and a teacher, Naylor grew up in what she has described as an ordinary, fairly religious midwestern family. “When I was growing up,” she said in a publisher's pamphlet, “I hadn't the slightest curiosity about the authors of books I read; it