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09/21/2009

Karla Kuskin and the Brooklyn 'Brady Bunch'

September 21, 2009 |  5:58 pm
Karla  Karla Kuskin, 77, was an award-winning author and illustrator of children’s books, including 1982’s "When the Philharmonic Gets Dressed," which was nominated for a National Book Award.

For her obituary, which ran Aug. 24, the family provided biographical information that included a grandson with the same last name — Bell — as her second husband.

We were confused until our research uncovered a 1996 Vows column in the New York Times that explained:

When Kuskin married William L. Bell Jr. in 1989, the mother of two gained three stepchildren, although all offspring were in their 20s by then.

After a few years, her daughter, Julia, started dating his son, Joel, who had been a childhood friend. When they finally told their parents, Kuskin admitted she was "stunned" but found the pairing "quite lovely," she told the New York Times when her daughter married her stepson in 1996.

"When this all happened," Kuskin said, "I thought, 'This is the '90s version of keeping your family together.' "

An only child, Kuskin is survived by two children and three grandchildren (including a certain 5-year-old named Ian Bell).

— Valerie J. Nelson

Photo: Karla Kuskin, 77, achieved fame with "Roar and More," a 1956 book about animals and the noises they make that was her senior project at Yale.
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