She may be best known for her adaptation of Stone Soup, as well as Too Much Noise, historical and travel non-fiction, and biographies of figures like Eugenie Clark.
Born in New York, New York, she enrolled in the University of New Mexico but dropped out to marry.
The marriage ended and she moved back, aged 22, to New York City with her 18-month old son.
In attempting to support herself and become a writer, she found a job at the publisher of Little Golden Books stamping galley prints. She published several books at Golden Books.
Artists for her books include Ezra Jack Keats, Simms Taback, Tomie de Paola and Mort Gerberg.
She eventually moved into the Edna St. Vincent Millay house at 75½ Bedford St, the narrowest house in New York, which inspired Mr Skinner’s Skinny House (ISBN 978-0590076203).
She married Martin Scheiner in 1970, the inventor of the first cardiac monitor for operating rooms. The couple had three children.
She published four books of poetry in the 2000s, and began blogging about her cancer in 2014 McGovern died of cancer in New York City on August 8, 2015, aged 85.