Author of children's books Miyoko Matsutani died Feb. 28 of natural causes at a Tokyo hospital, her family said Monday. She was 89.

Among her works was "Tatsunoko Taro" ("Taro the Dragon Boy"), a fairy tale published in 1960 and later made into an animated film and adapted for the stage.

She also wrote the best-selling "Chiisai Momo-chan" ("Little Momo") series, based on her parenting experience, starting in 1964.

Matsutani began writing fairy tales after graduating from the predecessor of Toyojoshi High School, studying literature under novelist Joji Tsubota (1890-1980), whom she met in Nagano Prefecture when she evacuated there from Tokyo to escape the air raids of World War II.

Publishing house Kodansha Ltd. gave her an award for new writers of children's literature for "Tatsunoko Taro."

Matsutani was also known as a collector of Japanese folk legends.