that Aunt Book Has Identified
Magic Lessons with Gold Cubes
"This story was in paperback, I believe, and I
read it about 20 years ago. It was a science fiction/fantasy book
for children and it involved the main character, who I think was a boy,
having some kind of magic lessons and there were gold cubes
involved. I think they had symbols on them, or else they changed
form when he played with them, or something. "
Another Dear Nephew wrote in with a query about the same book:
"I am looking for a fiction book that I read
in the mid to late '80's. It is about a boy who goes into an old
house, I believe on a dare, and finds that the inside of the house is
very nice. He finds a man there. The man teaches the boy to
use mind control with small cubes.
"In one part the boy is taught to look into
his mind, which is like a house full of rooms. I remember one part in
which the boy uses his mind control to 'mess' with people in public and
the man (teacher) yells at him through his mind, but then as the boy is
walking home he sees a child in the road about to be hit by a
car. The boy uses the 'cube' in his pocket that he has and
using mind control pushes on the brake pedal of the car. The
then helps him through mind control to stop the car before it hits the
"In the book the boy goes o the house many
times for his teachings and then a the end when the boy goes in the old
house, there is no one or nothing there but he had learned to use mind
control and move items and look into people's minds."
Solution: Christopher, by Richard
Koff. Reissued as Christopher and His Magic Powers.
Wab the Bear
"For Christmas I wanted to get a book for my
dad. It was his first book and his all time favorite. It
was so long ago, though that he can't remember the title; this is all
he can remember:
"Wab was a little bear, and his mamma
died. He got shot and trapped, but he kept getting bigger and
bigger; he had good genetics and became king of the woods. Later,
a new bear came and outsmarted Wab.
Wab would scratch a tree and the other bear would climb the tree and
scratch so it looked like he was bigger. Wab turned into a coward and
he went into hiding. The younger bear took all the female bears.
Soon Wab was too weak and scared to go out. His muscles ached one
day and so he went into the hot springs and died.
"Maybe Wab wasn't his name; my dad read it
when he was very little, and his memory of it is faint. He said
he thought it was called Wab the Bear. But maybe not.
"He read the book around 1970. It was a
short children's story."
Solution: Biography of a Grizzly, by
Ernest Seton-Thompson (or, alternately, Ernest Thompson Seton).
The bear's name is spelled "Wahb."
Hidden Cellar With Jars of Potions
"I read a children's chapter book in the early
'80s about two kids (girl and boy?) who find a hidden door in a floor
(under a rug? in some old building like a shed?) that leads to an
earthen cellar full of shelves of jars and potions (for casting
spells). This book was probably intended for the 8-10 year old
range. It MAY have had a couple of pen sketches throughout
it. I could be wrong, but there might have been a sketch of the
children first reaching the floor of the cellar, with the ladder
beginning in the top left corner, a large heavy wooden table to the
right, and the shelves of jars behind. There might have been an
old book of spells on the table. I think the cellar was
"I remember the book as not scary at all, just
exciting. Maybe the kids were visiting, like for the
summer? It seems the place was fairly isolated, and the kids were
exploring. Maybe they were moving old things around in a shed for play,
when they uncovered the door in the floor?
"Also, the title might have been about five
words (The ____ in the ___). Of course, maybe not."
Solution: I Will Make You Disappear, by
Carol Beach York.
Violet and Her Stepmother, Lily
"… her name was Violet, her dad was Pete,
about to marry Lily (Violet's step mother). Pete's sister is called
Esther and Violet’s mother, Charlotte. Lily had been Pete’s first wife,
they had no children and then divorced. Then Pete married Charlotte,
and had Violet and a couple of boys. They divorced, Pete married again
and had a couple more kids. He divorced again, and is ready to marry
"I read this book in the seventies, I think it
was American. Violet is a very wise and too clever girl of 12, a bit of
a monster, really, who doesn't like her dad remarrying. I remember Pete
and Lily go to Taxco, Mexico, on their honeymoon. Violet follows and
makes the whole town efficient, disrupting the lazy peace and beauty of
the place. There are plenty of different situations in the book in
which Violet meddles and makes a mess of things, but in the end all
goes well. The book was great fun, and Violet was a child
you would love and hate at the same time. "
Solution: Violet, by Whitfield
Cook. 1942. Poison Ivy by Any Other Name
Suitcase Book With Collection of
"Read in the United States , probably in the
late 1980s to mid-1990s. It was a large brownish-tan book covered
in illustrations. There was a handle too, so you could carry it
like a suitcase. It was a collection of children's stories, but
they were all connected. It started with animals, looking at the
stars. Then there was a flood and they all built boats and
floated downstream. They were rescued by these gnome people with
whom they decided to live. They built homes and things. There
were more stories. There was a story about a giant with red hair
and beard, and striped pants. I think he had a toothache or a
cold or something when they met him. The giant showed up a bunch
of times and actually was shrunken down to their size once or
twice. The giant also carried the animals and gnomes in these
things like shoulder hotels on a journey. The giant also went
into a lake and got a magic key to open a treasure chest for the head
gnome or something like that. Three elves were introduced.
They had freckles and green clothes and red hair. They lived in a
treehouse that had window shutters with eyes painted on them and lots
of gadgets. There was a story about imps or sprites or something being
turned into fish. There was a story about fairies coming from the
fairy queen and an ugly, crippled one named Nettle dove into a lake and
turned into a beautiful mermaid. There were stories about dragons
on the other side of the valley. Baby dragons? There was a
war or a battle or something between the dragons and
gnomes/animals. There was a story about a unicorn that was stolen
from one of the red-headed elves by a bad elf or something like
that. It could fly. The book was heavily illustrated.
The frog wore polka dotted shorts. The baby dragons were
green. The Unicorn thief wore black."
Solution: A Trip to Woodland: A Suitcase Filled with
Stories and Games, by Jane and Sarah Brierly; illustrated
by Tony Wolf.
Another Dear Nephew wrote in to ask about one of the books in the
series: "I'm looking for a book that I read in the '80's in
America. It was a large children's book. I'd love to give a
copy to my daughter. I'm going to use an unanswered description
of the book I found on another site because it's so clear and
well-remembered. This is the page where I'm getting the
"The book was very thoroughly illustrated
though it was not strictly a picture book. It started off with stories
about a family of dragons, the younger ones learning to fly and breathe
fire. It culminated with the dragon society going to war with gnomes.
There was a whole section of the book showing the two armies preparing
for war in whimsical fashion. Dragons had helmets and spears made from
natural things like teeth and bone and turtle shells. The gnomes made
siege machines with the help of skunks and such. In the end, there was
a picture of the two armies at peace, sitting along a long table at a
The books in the series are Meet the Woodland Folk,
The Woodland Folk Meet the Gnomes,
The Woodland Folk Meet the Giants,
The Woodland Folk in Fairyland,
The Woodland Folk Meet the Elves,
and The Woodland Folk Meet the Dragons
(the last book was the one sought). Information and pictures can
be found here: http://knittingiris.typepad.com/knitting_iris/2007/01/woodland_folk_b.html
King Inside a Mountain
"I'm trying to find a fictional children's
book from the '70's. It involves a king who lived inside a
mountain. He had various animals bring him gifts and I seem to remember
a rabbit or hare being his assistant. Other than that I cannot remember
much else, except that I loved it. I read it in England. Please can you
Solution: King of the Copper Mountains,
by Paul Biegel.
Boy Wizard At School, But Not Harry
"I read this book in 1997. It's about a young
boy who's either orphaned or unwanted and he goes to a school of
wizardry. In the school boys only turn left down hallways and
girls only turn right but they always end up at the correct
classroom. At the end the boy defeats an evil wizard. I
also remember the cover's having a the boy standing in front of the
gates of the school. Those are the only details I can remember."
Solution: Wizard's Hall, by Jane Yolen.
Girl in Coma Goes Back In Time
read this book when I was in Elementary school about 28 (or more)
years ago. This is what I remember. It's about this young
girl who gets rheumatic fever. The story takes place "now," which
could have been in the 1970's-1990's; I'm not entirely
sure. Anyway, while the
young girl is in a coma, she goes back
in time to the 1800's-1900's, around that era, and so she tells her
story. I remember her saying how itchy her woolen socks
Solution: The Doll, by Cora
Taylor. Reissued as Yesterday's Doll.
Family on Vacation, Stuffed Lamb Named
"We have a
patron looking for a book she read as a child in the 1980's. The
book is about a family on vacation and she thinks 'Farm' was somewhere
in the title. She remembers the book as being very
humorous. The family included the parents and two children, one
girl and one boy. The little girl had a stuffed lamb named
Solution: Hooples on the Highway,
by Stephen Manes. Coward-McCann, 1978.
Sequels: The Hooples'
Haunted House, Delacorte, 1981; and Hooples' Horrible Holiday.
Avon Books, 1986. The first two were also issued in
paperback. I can find no record of the third one in hardcover.
New World Where It's Always a Holiday
"The first book is about a boy who finds a new world
where only or mostly children live, and every day/week/month all the
seasons pass, resulting in its always being a holiday. At first
he thinks it’s great and becomes friends with a girl who’s been living
there for a while. After a while, they discover that each time
when all the seasons pass by, a year goes by in the “real” world.
It ends with the alternative world being destroyed, and the boy remains
a little boy, but his friend is an old(er) woman.
"I read both books in the nineties and in Dutch, but
I don’t know if it they were translated (for all I know they were
Solution: The Thief of Always, by Clive
Baby With Magic Lock of Hair
"I believe it is set in England. There is a
woman who was a ballerina and had an accident. I think lights from the stage fell on
her and damaged her foot or leg. She couldn't dance any
more. She married and made a home in a cute little cottage and
grew plump on chocolates (I think).
More than anything she wanted a baby but couldn't have one. The
fairies in the garden were moved by her sadness and worked their magic
and she had a baby girl. Because the baby was made with
fairy magic she was special. There was a lock of hair on the
baby's head that was a different color (pink or green, I can't
remember). Those hairs were magic.
"When the baby was born the fairies gave her a
gift. It had a rose theme. Every year on her birthday the
previous gift would go away and a new rose-themed gift would
appear. One year it was a rose-shaped rattle. One year it
was a rose that turned into a beautiful dress. One year it was a
rose that taught the child the letters. One year it was a rose
that was candy.
"I believe when she got older she helped the
fairies and her mother's lameness with her magic hairs. I think
it was about 100 pages long. I was in the U.S. in about 1987
(give or take 2 years)."
Solution: The Fairy Rebel, by
Lynn Reid Banks
Small Furry Creature Sleeps in Window
"I am trying to remember a book from my childhood in
the 1970's. It is about a small furry or fuzzy or feathered
creature. The book is light brown and ends with this small furry
creature going to sleep in the window, in the ring used to pull down
the window shades. It's a young children's picture book, not very
long, and about either bedtime or this creature and the child it
watched over or played with.
Solution: Lisa and the Grompet, written
and illustrated by Patricia Coombs. Lothrop, Lee & Shepard,
1970. A description of the story and a picture of the paperback
can be found here:
Horatio the Purple Dragon
"I first got my hands on the book about ten years
ago from the children's section in my local library. I've tried
going there and asking and although I'm still a record on their system,
they don't have a record of what books I borrowed!
"The book I'm after is centred around a dragon
character. I am pretty sure the dragon's name was 'Horatio' and
that he was a purple dragon (he was purple on the front cover).
He spoke quite poshly and was very friendly. He stayed with
an older man and a little girl (I think they were grandfather
and granddaughter) in their basement. A section I remember was
when they were trying to accommodate Horatio and help him build a
hoard of gold.
"All that I can remember of the front cover is that
it had a picture of Horatio sitting on a pile of gold. The
background was the basement in which he was living."
Solution: Wanted, One Dragon, by Beth
Ointment Gives Boy Wings
"The book I am trying to identify was
probably a YA book, more than a strictly children's book; I read it in
5th grade or so. The story is set in modern times, probably in
America. The main character is a boy who lives with his
mother. They rent out one of the rooms in their house. One
day an older gentleman comes to stay for a while. For some
reason, he gives the main character an ointment which, when rubbed on
the boy's shoulders, causes wings to grow. Eventually the old man
leaves, and eventually the boy runs out of ointment."
Solution: Black and Blue Magic, by
Zilpha Keatley Snyder. Pictures of the various covers can
be found here:
Aliens Control Earthlings Via Metal
"The book is a Young Adult science fiction story
that I read in 2001. It’s set on Earth in the future.
Aliens have taken over and now control Earth. The main character
is a young boy who is coming of age. Coming of Age requires you
to have a metal mesh cap implanted onto the top of your head. He
hears a stranger to the village talk of how the mesh is how the aliens
control us and decides to run away instead of putting on the mesh
cap. The aliens have machines similar to the tripods in War of
the Worlds, and the aliens in this book cannot live in our
atmosphere. On the boy's travels he meets a friend whom he gives
the nick name of Bean Pole because he’s tall and skinny. The two
travel, trying to keep away from the aliens who are looking for
them. I think the book is set in England but I am not sure.
At one point the two find an old subway station and find a box of
grenades (Bean uses them later against the aliens). Bean turns
out to be a genius and learns how to build planes or something like
that; I think they might use hot air balloons to get above the aliens'
tripods and drop the grenades on them. In the story the main
character is caught by the aliens and they go to where the aliens live
(which is a large dome with glass or some sort of force field around
it). If I remember correctly the aliens have tentacles for legs
and take baths in some sort of gross mud. Their dome colony’s
gravitational pressure is much more than that of Earth so the boys find
it very hard to move; they might even have to wear some sort of lead
suits to live. The characters cannot find a way to escape because
everywhere is guarded, until they realize that they might be able to
get out using the river that runs through the Dome. They escape
and join the resistance and defeat the aliens. I cannot remember
if this is one book or a trilogy. I think it might be a trilogy,
Solution: The Tripods, a
trilogy (plus a prequel written years later), by John
Christopher. The books are The
White Mountains (1967), The
City of Gold and Lead (1967), The
Pool of Fire (1968), and When
the Tripods Came (1988). Information about the
books can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Tripods
Another query arrived regarding the same book:
"The book is a fiction book that I read in one of my
elementary school classes. I was in elementary school from 1996
to 2002. The main character is a boy who lives in a small,
late-1800's-styled town, although the year is supposedly very far in
the future. At a certain age each person is taken by a machine
controlled by aliens, that on his head puts a metal cap that is able to
control his mind and keep him subservient to the aliens. The boy
and his friend meet a man who has taken his helmet off and he convinces
them to do the same. I guess the aliens know they did this
because they embark on a journey to reach a spot safe from the aliens,
or to find a way to stop them, I'm not sure which."
Bee Starts a Chain of Events
"It's a paperback, and I read it roughly 24 years
ago. It's about a bee that starts off a cycle that leads to a
domino effect. I don't remember all the details, but I recall
something along the lines of the bee's stinging the woman milking the
cow, and the woman becomes irate so she burns her husbands dinner.
The husband becomes livid and throws a rake at a donkey and it
ends up back with the bee at the end of the story. I thought it
might have been called something trivial like "Buzz Buzz Buzz" but that
doesn't seem to be the case."
Solution: Buzz Buzz Buzz, by Byron
Jack Horner Delivers Letters
"I am trying to find a book, but cannot remember the
title – I thought it was ‘Mr Horner was a Postman,' but now I am not
I remember the first part of the story goes:
Mr Horner was a Postman
Mrs H sold stamps
One blowy winters eve – she said
Please Jack light up the lamps
Mr Horner came in chilled
It was a bitter day
While taking post to Pear Tree Farm
His scarf had blown away…"
Solution: Post Office, by Colin and
Moira Maclean. Part of a series called "Nursery Village."
New edition published by Kingfisher in 1992.
ISBN-10: 0862729114 ISBN-13: 978-0862729110
Little Boy Paints Wagon, Gets Messy
"The book was not a Little Golden Book; it
was roughly the size of a Big Golden Book, published in the late 1940's
or very early 1950's. It had colorful illustrations of a little
boy with rosy cheeks and rounded features. All I remember of the
plot is that he had a little wagon and for some reason ended up
painting it, possibly blue or red, getting paint on himself in the
process. I do remember there was another character, a cook or a
housekeeper, whom he called by her first name, 'Bessie.' She also
had rosy cheeks and a rounded, jolly figure. At the end of the
story, he was explaining to her what happened; the very last sentence,
I believe, reads, 'And Bessie, I'm a little messy!' The picture
shows the little boy saying this with a smile. (Bessie is not
angry; he's not in trouble). That's all I remember. The
title may be '(Boy's Name) and His Little (Color) Wagon,' or possibly
just 'The Little (Color) Wagon.'"
Solution: Henry's Wagon, by Peg
Dikeman, illustrated by Margie and published originally by John
Martin's House in 1946. It appears to have been reprinted several
times after that, including once in 1991.
Collection of Scary Stories
"I'm looking for a collection of scary stories that
I used to read when I was little and now can't remember the
title. I know some of the stories included:
"1. Squeal Piggy Squeal: A little girl is
having a birthday party and her across-the-street neighbor asks if she
can come. The little girl says no. At the party, they play
'squeal piggy squeal' and then begin to bob for apples. The ghost
comes over and says they can play their own version of squeal piggy
squeal and drowns the birthday girl as she bobs for apples.
"2. Something about a magic wand and gigantic flies
that come into the boy's bedroom
"3. A story about a father who owned a grocery
store. The father dies and the son changes the store all around,
turning it into a huge supermarket. The father's ghost eventually
begins making things happen at the store, like canned food being
spoiled when the customers open it and shelves falling, etc. The
son eventually changes the store back to how the father had it to make
the ghost happy.
"4. Two sisters who are dancers; one is really
talented in both dancing and singing, and is (I think) named
Penny. The other sister kills her but makes it look like an
accident so she'll start getting the attention; then when she starts
singing and dancing everyone says she looks and sounds just like the
"The book only has about 7 or 8 stories in it.
I think it was a kids' or young adults' book. It's not Stephen
King or any of the Alvin Schwartz 'Scary
Stories to Tell in the Dark' books. I read it in the United
States probably about 10 years ago, but it may have been UK-written.
"The title may have 'A Taste of...' or 'A Hint
of...' in it, but I'm not sure."
Solution: A Nasty Piece of Work and Other Stories,
by Lance Salway. The book contains the following stories:
1. Such a Sweet Little Girl, 2. Mother's Little Helper, 3. Silver and
Son, 4. Pretty Penny, 5. Lost in France, 6. Squeal, Piggy, Squeal, 7. A
Nasty Piece of Work.
Girl Changes Hairstyles, Fools Copycats
"As a child I read a book about a girl who would
change her hairstyles but every day the other children at her school
would copy her hairstyle. At the end of the book the girl says
she is going to shave her head. The next day she comes to school in a
ponytail while everyone else is bald."
Solution: Stephanie's Ponytail, by
Overpopulated Earth, Game or Mission
in Virtual World
"It’s about an earth which is overpopulated, where
children are chosen for some kind of game. The game or missions
take place in a virtual world once a helmet is placed on their
heads. In the end, the group of children is sent to another
planet to repopulate there in hopes of fixing Earth's mistakes. The
protagonist of the story is a girl who is talking in the first person,
I believe. The book begins and ends with the same lines, which is
her writing in her diary."
Solution: Invitation to the Game, by
Illustrated Collection of Classic
Tales for Children
"I live in Australia and was born in 1985 and was
given a book that I desperately want to find. I received it in
either the late 1980's or early 1990's. It was a light pink
hardcover and was a very thick book. There were approximately 400
- 600 pages, could have been more. It was a big sized book and
contained stories for children. There were many stories within
this book although I cannot remember any of them. There was an index
page. The writing was split into two columns and there were pictures
throughout the book.
"One particular picture that I vividly
remember is of a man and a woman sitting inside a big old wooden barrel
in the water of a sea or ocean. The man is wearing an orange life
vest and has brown hair that is beneath his ears. The woman is of
Asian appearance and is wearing a flowing pink or fuchsia dress with a
big golden hat that looks like the Pope's hat. He appears to be
saving her and has one leg out of the barrel.
"I think the front cover had white writing on
it with maybe the word 'Classic' on it, although I cannot be
sure. I have looked for this book and have come across many
books; however none of them ring a bell. I do not think this book
has one author like the Grimm brothers or Andersen; rather, I think
there are many authors of the different stories that have been all put
together. Another thing about the book is that I don't think the
pages were glossy; they seemed rough."
Solution: My Favourite
Book of Bedtime Stories, by Barbara Matthews. Illustrated
by Nadir Quinto. The Dear Niece who submitted the original query
was able to identify and locate the book.
Angel Who Falls to Earth
"A friend of mine is searching for a book her older
sister remembers about a little angel who falls to earth. The
book dates from her sister's childhood in the late 1940's to
1950's. Some children help the angel get back to Heaven when they
put her in a swing, then swing her very high, and she finally is able
to fly back to Heaven."
Solution: Angel Child, by Val
Teal. Illustrated by Pelagie Doane. Rand McNally,
1946. A Tip Top Elf Book.
Too Much Popcorn
"I am trying to help my mother find a book.
She is 62, so I am assuming it is from around her era. It's a
children's story. She said there is an old woman on the cover,
with a bun in her hair. The book is about popcorn, and the story
is about her popping too much popcorn. There is a picture with
the popcorn coming out of the house and onto the sidewalk."
Solution: Popcorn Party, by Trudy
Boyles. A Rand McNally Elf Book, 1952. The book was issued
with at least two different covers.
Beach, Jewelry Made from Shells
"I read this book in the '70's. It was
a chapter book set at the beach, maybe in Florida. I think there
were two main characters, a boy named Chris, and a girl whose name I
don't remember. I remember one of them made and sold jewelry out
of tiny shells. I also remember something about a seance and key
lime pie. I want to say that the word "ghost" was in the title,
but don't let that throw you off in case I'm wrong."
Solution: Spirit Town, by Suzanne
Roberts. Whitman, 1972. The cover is purple and spooky
looking, with the head of a girl with long hair floating in the center
of a circle of people holding hands (clearly a seance). Mimi
Wade, her mother, and her sister Julie, who is mourning the death of
her boyfriend (in Vietnam) go to a Florida town called Hangsaman, which
is full of spiritualists. Mimi meets Christopher, who collects
shells on the beach and makes things out of them - ashtrays, earrings,
etc. And on page 64 she meets a woman who makes key lime pies.
"I remember a kids book I read called 'The
Climb.' I am looking for the author. It was about a
babysitter and, I think, a mountain. I know for a fact a
babysitter was a major character. "
Solution: The Climb, by
Carol Carrick. Illustrated by Donald Carrick. Houghton
Mifflin, 1980. Brendan climbs a mountain with his cousin, Nora.
Three Boys and Alfred Hitchcock Solve
"I remember this series, similar to the Hardy Boys,
about three young boys and Alfred Hitchock who solved mysteries.
One was about a scarecrow and another was about a stuttering parrot."
Solution: The Three Investigators
(originally Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators).
Here's a website that lists the titles and shows pictures (and has a
lot of other information): http://www.threeinvestigatorsbooks.com/originalseries.html
Peter Travels Through Time
"All my children's scanning for Bookshare has me
yearning for a book I read as a child. It was called "Peter" (at
least I believe that was the title) but I have no clue about the
author. All I remember is that it was a kind of time travel book
with the boy waking up in different time periods (think Scott Bakula in
Quantum Leap). I think he was in ancient Greece and made a pair
of glasses, among his destinations and events, as an example.
"It was probably around 200 pages or so. I
read it in the mid or early '70's, I would guess."
Solution: Peter, by Anne
Holm. Harcourt, Brace & World, 1965. Translated from
the Danish by L. W. Kingsland.
Raggedy Ann and Marcella Make a Blue
"Someone else was asking about a Raggedy Ann story
book. She remembers that Raggedy Ann and Marcella made a blue
cake. She had the book when growing up, and says this story was
the reason she made a blue birthday cake for her son in 1977. She
wondered if it was a Little Golden Book or a Tell-a-Tale Book. Do you
have any ideas for us?"
Solution (possibly): Raggedy Andy's Surprise, by
Johnny Gruelle. Illustrated by Tom Sinnickson. Wonder
Books, 1953. Aunt Book is not certain that this is
the correct book because she has not heard back from the Dear Niece who
made the query; however, it seems probable that it is. If not,
doubtless someone will correct her.
Several Raggedy Ann books were printed by Wonder
Books, another line of those little books that looked like Golden Books
and the others.
This particular book involves the birthday of
Raggedy Ann (which turns
out to be Raggedy Andy's, as well). There's a picture of a cake
on the cover, though I can't tell if the inside of the cake is
blue. There is blue in the frosting. If it is not that
book, it might be another of the Wonder Books. If one goes to
www.abebooks.com and searches by keyword, using the words "raggedy ann
wonder book" (but with no quotation marks), a list of the others in
similar format will appear.
Stranded People Rescue Themselves With Hot
"I recall reading a book in the late '80's or maybe
as late as 1992, and I cannot remember the name! It was an
adventure book and I remember it was about a group of people who were
traveling and some mishap occurred. They were stranded (possibly
on an island?) and had to figure out how
to rescue themselves. I remember that at some point they gathered
together the wreckage of whatever they had been traveling in (boat?
plane?) and created this floating village or ship with hot air balloon
type of mechanisms and went on their way."
Solution: The Twenty-One Balloons, by
William Pene DuBois. The Dear Niece who submitted the query was
able to identify the book herself.
The Habeeyah Machine
"Do you know the title of a children's book
containing the following sentence: 'Scoop him up and put him in
the Habeeyah (sp.?) machine, heh, heh, heh?"
Solution (possibly): The Hobyahs,
retold by Brenda Parkes and Judith Smith. Illustrated by Rodney
McRae. Methuen Australia, 1987. Aunt Book is not certain
that this is the book because the Dear Niece who submitted the query
did not reply to the suggestion. The Hobyas (sometimes spelled
Hobbyas) is an old story. This particular retelling mentions a
machine, which not all of the books that include it do because it is
such an old story.
Girls Discover Magical Items
"I am looking for a book that was about two girls
who somehow discovered a number of magical items ( I can’t remember
how, but I think a mysterious box was involved). One of the items
was a pair of boots that took them several miles with each step.
Another of the items was a pair of invisible gloves that allowed the
wearer to perform tasks perfectly when worn. The girls wore them
to do their homework and practice the piano. There were other items as
well, but I can’t remember them now. I first read the book about
20 years, and I have the impression that it was an old book then."
Solution: What the Witch Left, by Ruth
Chew. Hastings House, 1973. (It was reissued in paperback
Oscar the Dachshund
"The book I am trying to identify had a huge
impact on my family when we were growing up in the '60's. It was a
library book and was taken out time and time again for our father to
read to us at bedtime.
"The story involved a 'sausage dog - a dachshund,
called Oscar. Oscar had lots of adventures. I seem to
recall that he was owned by a little boy but got lost, and the rest of
the book was his story of trying to find his owner again. The bit
I remember most was Oscar being carried to an eagle's nest high in the
"I think the author was a German speaker as I seem
to recall it was translated into English. The book had lots of
illustrations, black and white pen drawings, if I remember correctly.
"I have found other books about a dachshund called
Oscar, written in the '70's, but this one was around during the '60's
and may have been written in the '40's or '50's or possibly even
earlier. I would love to find this book again. Our family
still call dachshunds an Oscar sausage dog, and my sister now has a
real one called, naturally, Oscar."
Solution: Oscar the Dachshund, by Franz
Kaspar. Illustrated by Hans P. Schaad. Constable and Co.,
Children's Health Book
"I am trying to find an elementary school level
(grade 4-6) book about children's health. This would have been
from the 1970's or earlier; I would have read it in the late 1970's.
It had a hardcover light green cloth binding and was simply
illustrated. It covered basic topics such as nutrition and
brushing your teeth. It may have been called 'Your Health' or
'Your Health and You' or words to that effect. I believe it was
part of a series."
Solution: Health For All!
Book Two, by W.W.
Bauer, M.D., Elizabeth Rider Montgomery, and Eleanore T.
Pounds. The Dear Niece who submitted the query found the book
Boy and Girl Get Lost on School
"The book is about a girl either in her junior year
or senior year of high school. She's in love with this guy, but
he's popular and has a girlfriend while the protagonist is a social
outcast. They go on a class trip and they wind up getting lost
together. He breaks his arm or leg and they have to ration
supplies. It rains and she gets really sick so he uses the last
of the oatmeal to make 'oatmeal soup,' and because she's so hungry she
thinks it's the best thing she's ever tasted. They get rescued and he
rings her doorbell at the end."
Solution: Just a Little
Bit Lost, by Laurel Trivelpiece. Scholastic,
1988. Bennett (named after Elizabeth Bennett of Pride and
Prejudice) and Phillip are the girl and boy.
Boy Searches for Lost Scepter
"I remember having a hardback book involving a boy
and his friends searching for a lost scepter. The artwork was
very good. It was similar to a Hardy Boys book but a little more
adventurous. It would have been published in the late 1950’s or
Solution: The Adventures
of Tintin: King Ottakar's Sceptre, by Herge'. The
Dear Nephew who sent in the query was able to identify the book himself
and very kindly notified Aunt Book.
Ghost Story with Bratty Stepsister
"I am an education major and I need to do a project
with a ghost story I remember reading when I was younger, about the
year 2000-2003. I remember this book about a young girl whose
mother remarried to a man with a very bratty daughter. In the
book the man's daughter always tries to make up lies about her
stepmother and stepsister. With frequent attempts the mother's
daughter cannot get through to her bratty step sister. The bratty
girl eventually befriends a ghost from the water near which they live,
and towards the end of the story the ghost tries to lure the bratty
girl into the water by telling her there's a magical place down there,
when in reality the ghost wants to drown the little girl. I know
the two stepsisters become friends at the end of the story but that is
the best description I can provide."
Solution: Wait Till Helen
Comes, by Mary Downing Hahn. Clarion Books, 1986.
Charlotte Sails on a Ship
"My son read a book about a child (Charlotte) coming
to America in the late 1800's or early 1900's. Charlotte is the
only child and the only one other than the Captain and his crew on this
ship . She makes friends with the cook and he gives her a dirk to
protect herself. She wants nothing to do with it. She
befriends the captain, who is not an honorable man. This captain had
killed one of his crew on a previous voyage and the crew plots to kill
the captain on this voyage. Charlotte comes from money and is a
girly girl until she ends up being a crew member in the end. She
has a hard time going back to her prim and proper family and truly
misses being a sailor! She ends up leaving home and going back to
sail on the ship (I cannot remember the ship's name either).
Solution: The True
Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, by Avi. Jackson/Orchard,
1990. This was the Newbery Honor Book for 1991.
Dinosaur Book Series
"I can't remember what they were but my mother told
me they were from a book club from which she used to get them.
book binding has many different colors with a picture of the particular
dinosaur that is the subject of the book. I'm not sure if it had
any text in it but all of it was graphical images of the
dinosaur. They were too graphic because some shown blood.
The images are not cartoonish. These books were all hardcover and
thin, around 15-20 pages or more or less.
"I remember one was about a triceratops and
one about a plesiosaur. There are tons more but that is all
I can remember. These photos look as if they're from the late 1970's -
early 1990's era."
Solution: Rourke Dinosaur
Library. Various authors, including Ron Wilson, Rupert
Oliver, Angela Sheehan, David White, Frances Swann
A Wizard and a House That Moves Around
"When i was a little younger I read a book that has
stayed in my mind and it's driving me crazy not knowing its name as I
would like to read it again.
The details of the book are hazy and what I can remember may be false.
"A house that moves around. Might be a blue
house? Something about smoke coming out of the chimney. A
young lady being trapped in the house by a wizard of some sort that
likes to catch other ladies' hearts, one of whom was giving him extra
trouble and he almost got caught with her in an orchard, possibly.
"In the end something about the young lady
destroying the house?
This is also a audio book and a movie."
Solution: Howl's Moving
Castle, by Diana Wynne Jones. There are two sequels, Castle in the
Air and The House of
Birds Build Nest With Hair Ribbons
"I'm looking for a children's picture book that I
read at my grandparents' house in Illinois, USA, in the 1970's.
It was about a little African girl who fell asleep on a wagon ride with
her grandfather (I think). Her grandfather visited a neighbor's
house(?) and left the little girl sleeping in the wagon. While
she was sleeping, birds took all of the multi-colored ribbons out of
her hair to make a nest. When she woke up and realized the
ribbons were gone she began to cry. Her Grandfather then pointed
out the beautiful bird's nest and she felt better (I think).
Pinky (or Pinkie) Sue may have been the little girl's name."
Marie: The Story of Her Adventures With the Seven Bluebirds,
by Lynda Graham. Saalfield, 1939.
Man Flings Fruit With Slingshot
"The book I'm trying to find is about an man (I
think he's old) and his apple or pear tree. I don't remember
which one it is but I remember that the cover had a green fruit.
So, he has this fruit tree and he needs to get rid of the fruit because
he doesn't know what to do with it. He makes a slingshot and
flings the fruit over a fence. His neighbor then finds all these
apples or pears in her yard and she makes pies and jellies out of them
and shares them with the man. That's pretty much all I
remember. He also has a cat and I think the title is something
like 'Mr. _____ and His Tabby Cat" or 'Mr. ____ and His Pear (or
Apple) Tree.' Or it might not even be close to that."
Solution: Mr. Putter and
Tabby Pick the Pears, by Cynthia Rylant; illustrated by Arthur
Howard. Harcourt, 1995. One of a series of books about Mr.
Putter and his cat.
Leprechaun Under a Schoolhouse
"Back in the early 1950's in America I found a
lovely book in the library. I took it out for 2 weeks once a
month. I begged the librarian to let me have it.
"Somehow the title of Little Red School House
has stuck in my mind but at 64 I have forgotten way too much. The
book was based in Ireland and told about a leprechaun that lived under
the school house. I am sorry but I remember only an
illustration of a red school house; I no longer remember any more of
Solution: The Enchanted
Schoolhouse, by Ruth Sawyer. "Young Brian in Ireland,
captivated by magazine pictures of America, thought: what should he
bring when he travels there to show the wonders of Ireland? He captured
a wee fairy man leprechaun and took him in a teapot to Lobster Cove,
Raccoon Invents Machines for Animal
"I'm looking for the title of a book that probably
came out 1985-87 in the U.S. that included very well done
illustrations of a raccoon that invented machines for his different
animal friends. For instance, he created a diving machine for a
platypus, a swamp hovercraft for a crocodile, a plane for an elephant,
a glider for an ostrich and a digging machine for a mole.
"I thought the book was titled something like
'a flying machine for elephant' but I cant seem to find anything that
is close to that."
Solution: The Elephant's
Airplane and Other Machines, by Anne-Marie Dalmais. Golden
Siblings Stuck on a Parsnip Farm Find
"I remember reading a book in elementary school
(1982-1987) about two siblings (brother and sister I think) orphaned
and living with an unpleasant older couple on a parsnip farm. All
the kids had to eat were stewed and canned parsnips. One night
the kids were out past curfew when they were found out and chased by
the farmer's dog. They ran across a stream on the farm that had several
flat stones in it that were used as a river crossing, but on this
particular night the full moon was shining and the kids mistook the
reflection of the moon as a stone and fell through a portal to another
"In this world there was a flower or plant that had
some mystical or magical properties, but the evil powers that be had
built a stone building around the plant in order to keep its powers at
bay. It is possible that one of the kids' real parents was
actually a caretaker of the plant and keeping it alive despite the
powers that be. The kids somehow helped free the plant and right
the wrongs and I assume were reunited with their parents. This is
were my memory really fails, but I know there was a parsnip farm,
orphans, reflection of the moon portal and magic plant/flower."
Solution: The Owlstone
Crown, by X. J. Kennedy. Atheneum, 1983.
"I am looking for a children's book about the
Pineapple Duck. All I remember is that the Pineapple
Duck lived in a pineapple house, and I think the pineapple house
was on a pineapple hill."
Solution: The Pineapple
Duck With the Peppermint Bill, by Lois Utz. Bobbs-Merrill,
c1968. "Have you every seen a pineapple duck with a
peppermint bill? This charming picture book is about this delightfully
unusual character, who lives in a Victorian home with her mouse
housekeeper, a whip-poor-will gardener and a teddy bear musician."
Magic Summer With Animated Mop
"I remember a story in 4th or 5th grade about two
children, a boy and a girl who spend their summer vacation in a tree
house casting spells that don`t always go as planned. The boy
becomes squirrel with glasses and they animate a mop that looks like a
schoolteacher and makes their lives miserable. I remember the
girl was chubby and in the end when summer is over she has slimmed
down, got tan and wears contacts."
Osborne-the-Mop, by Wilson Gage; illustrated by Paul
Galdone. World, 1963. Jody stays with her cousin Dill and
his family, and finds that somehow she is able to make things happen
magically, including bringing a mop to life.
Aunt's Long Lost Doll
"Years and years ago - I am talking probably 40+
years - I bought a book from Scholastic Book orders from school.
In the story there was a little girl who had to go live with her
elderly aunt. They had nothing in common until the aunt's cat
started finding some kind of clues, and eventually found the aunt's
doll that she had lost as a child. That's all I can remember, but I
loved that mystery book, the first mystery I had read."
Solution: Magic Elizabeth,
by Norma Kassirer; illustrated by Joe Krush. Viking, 1966.
The little girl is Sally, the aunt is Aunt Sarah, and the missing doll
Children With Amazing Treehouses
"In the early 1970's, I read a children's hardcover
illustrated book, perhaps with dark green cloth cover, thin,
approximately 8 " x 10" or larger, with black pen or watercolor,
detailed drawings of elaborate treehouses. I think that each
child in a sort of parentless gang of children designed, constructed,
lived in a treehouse. I don't know the year that the book was written,
but I was born in 1966 and I definitely read it prior to 1978 in Macon,
Georgia. A friend of mine born in 1962 also recalls reading the
book as a child in Columbus, Georgia exactly as I remember the book. We
don't recall any bright colors.
"There may have been one main boy character with a
very elaborate treehouse with a rope held bucket or swing to send items
up to the treehouse. It seems they were a friendly gang of unrelated
I loved loved this book!!!! We would be so very grateful to read
Solution: Andrew Henry's
Meadow, by Doris Burn. Coward McCann, 1965.
Chameleon Has Adventures
"I am looking for a children's book (I think it was
from the 1970's-80's). It was about a chameleon. He
was on some sort of an adventure and fell into a pickle vat and got
stuck in a pickle jar, then he got out and blended into a newspaper to
escape at some one's house."
Solution: Chameleon Was a
Spy, by Diane Redfield Massie. Crowell, 1979. Miss
Massie also wrote Chameleon the
Spy and the Terrible Toaster Trap (1982) and Chameleon the
Spy and the Case of the Vanishing Jewels (1984).
Two Girls and a Tiny Village of
Fairies or Gnomes
"I read this book many years ago, possibly in the
early 2000's, and I believe it was a young adult novel. The main
character is a young girl (pre-teen perhaps?) who becomes friends with
another girl she knows (either a classmate or next-door-neighbor). The
other little girl's mother is very sick and she has to take care of
her. There is also a tiny little village made of toothpicks or
mushrooms or something in the girl's yard, and she tells the main
character that fairies or gnomes live there. As the book progresses, it
has a supernatural air and I believe that we end up discovering that it
is inhabited by the gnomes or fairies, and that the second little
girl's mother is one of them or is magic or something. I seem to recall
the main character going into the little girl's house at the end of the
book and finding the mother all shriveled and wrapped in blankets in a
rocking chair. I don't remember how it ends but I get the feeling it
wasn't a happy one."
Solution: Afternoon of
the Elves, by Janet Taylor Lisle. Orchard Books,
1989. It was a 1990 Newbery Honor Book.
Raggedy Ann and Andy and Several Cakes
"I am looking for a picture book that I read when I
was little, about Raggedy Ann and Andy having a birthday party.
There were several different types of cakes pictured in this
book. They looked wonderful, and I loved looking at these
cake pictures. This book would be from the early to mid-1980's.
There is a Raggedy Ann birthday party book published in 2001.
That is not the one for which I am looking."
Solution: Raggedy Ann and
Andy: Five Birthday Parties in a Row, by Polly
Curren. Golden Press, 1979.
Fairy King Leaves Baby in Dollhouse
"I remember having this book read to me during class
in grade school. It would had been in the USA from 1970 to 1980.
I will relay what I remember, but it is thin.
"The story is set in a realistic world. It is
about a girl who has a dollhouse. The house is visited by a fairy
'king' who seems to be as important as a drone would be to a queen bee.
He leaves a fairy baby for the girl to take care of. The
fairies never speak to the girl, but when the baby is taken away she
thinks she did a good job because they leave a crown that the girl
wears on her finger. The girl keeps everything secret. It
is kind of like a girl's version of The Indian in the Cupboard. I
think the book would have been published about the same time.
"I have a little girl I would love to share this
story with. It was perfectly believable to me at age 10. I
checked my dollhouse beds for a while after that in case they left me a
Solution: King of the
Dollhouse, by Patricia Clapp; illustrated by Judith Gwyn
Brown. Lothrop, Lee & Shepherd, 1974.
Rhyming Book About Pets
"I am looking for a children's book that I read to
my son. It was a small square book that you could buy in grocery
stores, like Little Golden Books. This was 1976 or 1977. The book
started with 'I like pets all kind of pets, pets that scurry, squeak or
hide, pets that take me for a ride.' It was his favorite and we
wore out at least two of them. He now has a child and I'd love to
find a copy."
Solution: My Little Book
of Pets, by Jan Sukus; illustrated by Carl and Mary Hauge.
A Tell-A-Tale Book. Western Publishing, 1972.
Eskimo Boy Meets a Walrus
"I am looking for a children's book, late 1960's to
early 1970's(?), possibly a Little Golden Book. It was bout a
young Eskimo (Inuit) boy who meets a walrus. I think title was
something like Ukluk and Okpike."
Solution: Ookpik the
Arctic Owl, by Barbara Shook Hazen, illustrated by Beverley
Edwards. Golden Press, 1968. There were two other books in
the series: The Adventures
of Ookpik, and Ookpik in the
City. The little boy's name is Mukluck.
Girl Elephant Eats Cake House
"I live in New Zealand and am looking for a book for
a friend. Here is all the info we have about it:
"It's from around the 1980’s.
"The elephant family lived in a cake house.
The little girl ate the house while the mother was out and went to the
wishing well to wish the house back, but the person in front of her
wished the wishing well away."
Solution: Fanny and May,
by Jon Buller. Crown, 1984.
Boy, Girl, and Dog Share Dreams
"I read this book in the early 80's, while in 6th
grade in the U.S. The plot starts off with two students (middle
school, I believe) who each start having dreams that involve the
other. After the two discuss their dreams, they realize that they
are having the same dream. The dreams are in black and
white. What I remember from there is the dreams are being sourced
by a dog. Eventually, they determine that each of them including
the dog was affected by a UFO, while at a motel."
Solution: Into the Dream,
by William Sleator. Dutton Juvenile, 1979.
Underwater People, Arthurian Connection
"I just remember bits and pieces . Okay, so:
underwater people; I think they are mermaids and mermen. I think
the cover has a fish on it. It's a series. I remember that
the girl wanted to or worked in the nursery, but the babies were squid
and octopus-like, I think. She likes a boy. I think there
is a fighting arena, and there is a place she has to pass by every day;
I think it's a jail and she is always scared. In the last book I
think she goes out of the water into this rock cave with symbols. She
fights this monster and almost dies. Then she becomes the Lady of the
Lake, and Merlin appears."
Solution: The Water Trilogy,
by Kara Dalkey. HarperCollins. Ascension,
all published in 2002. The heroine, Nia, guards the baby
Farworlders, who resemble squid, and there is an Arthurian link at the
Winged Horse On Apartment Roof
"I think I read this book in the 1970’s. It
was about a girl who somehow captures or is given a winged horse.
The horse lives on the roof of her apartment building and lives on
flowers. To remain tame it must wear a special headcollar, bridle
Solution: Lyrico, the
Only Horse of His Kind, by Elizabeth Foster; illustrated by Joy
Buba. Harvard Common Press, 1970.
The King Family Takes a Trailer Trip
(Social Studies Book)
"When I was in third grade (I'm pretty sure it
was third grade), in 1970-71, the social studies textbook was about a
family named King. The father was an engineer or something like
that, and he was going to build something like a dam on the west
coast. So the whole family traveled west in a trailer, and on the
way they (and the students who read the book) studied the geography and
history of the places they visited. I can't remember the title of
the book, or the publisher." Does someone out there know which
textbook this is?
Solution: Living in America Today and Yesterday, by Prudence Cutright et al. 4th ed. Macmillan, 1969. The book was originally entitled Living Together Today and Yesterday and was published in 1958. It was the third grade book in the series.
Magical Balloon Won't Float Away
"Do you remember a book about a boy and a magical
balloon? His mother tries to get rid of it by letting it go out
the window but it does not float away."
Solution: The Red Balloon, by Albert Lamorisse
Boy with Messy Room
"I am trying to find a book that I read to my own
children in the last 18 years. The book is probably older than 18
years old. It was about a child whose room was so messy that the
child got stuck in his room. The child refused to clean his
room. I think I remember a parade going by the bedroom to entice
the child into cleaning his room so they could come outside and
play. I have done several searches and I am coming up with
Berenstain Bears’s Messy Room and Franlin’s Messy Room and it is
neither of those."
Solution: "Won't Pick Up Toys Cure," from Mrs. Piggle Wiggle,
by Betty MacDonald. That the chapter was printed separately as a
picture book in 1997:
. Sadly, the recent reissue of the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books have
new cover art which is, in Aunt Book's opinion, catastrophically
Egg Hatches into Water Monster
"I don't remember the name of the book but I read it
when I was in elementary school. It starts out with the boy's
birthday party and his Uncle or Grandpa brings him a surprise present
from one of the far-off places that he visited, and when the boy opens
the gift it's an egg. The boy hatches the egg and inside is a
little Nessie-type creature that eats only cheeseburgers. The
creature starts off in a fish bowl. He outgrows that so
they move him to the kitchen sink, then the bathtub. Then his
parents say he has to do something with it because it is too big for
the apartment. The boy sneaks him into school and lets him live
in the school's big swimming pool. He is found out and the
community rallies together and builds a community swimming pool for all
the kids and the creature. At the end of the book it's the boy's
birthday again and his uncle brings him another surprise. All I
can find is Water Horse but that's not it.
Solution: The Mysterious Tadpole, by Steven Kellogg.
Bread Keeps Rising and Rising
"When I was in school (probably grade school, so
somewhere between 1972 and 1980) I read or someone read to me a book
about a baker who made bread. One day he went into town to get
some supplies and so kids (I think) decided to make the bread for
him. But they did something wrong, and the bread kept rising and
rising while it was baking. The bread was going into the streets,
and people were happy with all the bread that they had to eat. I
think the cover had a picture of the bread going through the streets."
Solution: Bembelman's Bakery, by Melinda Green. You can read a description of it here: http://stevestastingnotes.wordpress.com/2008/10/28/bembelmans-bakery/
Cat With Different Colored Eyes Sees
"The book was a smaller paper back version. I
think it had a picture on the front of a white cat with two
different-colored eyes. It was a cat that could see ghost animals
through that eye. He lived with an old lady, I think." Tell Aunt Book
Solution: Ghost Eye, by Marion Dane Bauer
Elf Steals Colors
"I am trying to find out the name of a
children's book in which, the best we can remember, and it's not much,
there was a contest, and someone (an elf?) stole all of the paint or
colors, and Jack Frost (?) painted everything and they won. This
might be a 1980's book or before."
Solution: Jack Frost and the Magic Paint Brush,
by Kathy Darling; Garrard, 1977. "After deciding to enter a
painting contest sponsored by the king, Jack Frost discovers that a
troll has stolen his paints, which leads him to follow the advice given
by the Crystal Fairy." A picture of the book can be found
Colorful Bears Through the Seasons
"I have a memory of a larger children's hardcover
book that was all about bears. It was very colorful. What I
remember is that it went through the seasons with all these
bears. One of the scenes was an ice skating scene. It would
have been around the mid 1980's that I used to look at it and read
it. Every picture would have all different colors of bears
too. I think there might have been an ice cream scene, too.
The bears lived in the trees and some of the 'tree houses' were really
intricate and cool. Again, the pictures were so colorful and vivid!
"I would go to the library just to look at
Solution: The Story of Fourteen Bears, by Evelyn Scott. Illustrated by Virginia Parsons. A Big Golden Book. Golden Press, 1969. Reprinted as Fourteen Bears: Summer and Winter
in 1973, and again in 2005. One description says that the reprint
contains two stories. I assume that one of them is the original
Pop Up Space Ship Story
"My son (who is 34) and I have been trying for
a long time to remember the name of a book I bought for him. I
think I bought it in a little shop, probably between 1980 and
1984. It was about little space creatures who take a little boy
or maybe a boy and his sister for a trip in their space ship. The
only line we can remember is when the kids are told they can get a
drink out out of some kind of vending machine, and the space creature
says, 'Choose your drink, Jupiter juice or Mars Aid.' (Or Mars ade?)
Also, it was a pop up book but we can't remember any of the pop
Solution: The Super Space Ride (A Hallmark Pop-Up Book), by Jan Hooten. A picture and a brief description can be found here:
Series About Boy in Early 1900's
"I'm trying to remember a series of books I
read in the early 1980's. It was set in the early 1900's, I
think. It was about a boy, and he had an older brother. I
remember one of the books describing a body lying in state in a
parlor. I also remember another one talking of family members
killed in a mudslide. The illustration on the front of the books
appeared to be done in pencil and the boys had curly hair. "
Solution: The Great Brain books by John D. Fitzgerald, illustrated by Mercer Mayer. Information about them can be found here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_Brain and here: http://www.books4yourkids.com/2011/08/great-brain-by-john-d-fitzgerald.html
Father Flies Daughter to Camp
"The book I am looking for I read as a child, so in
the 1970's. It could have been from the 1960's, considering that
the artwork was very simple, and could even be from the 1950's.
In the story, a young girl needs to get to camp, so her father flies
her there in his biplane. On the way, they stop to refuel at a
small airport, and then take off again. On the second leg, they
hit rough weather, including dark storm clouds, rain, and
lightning. At the end, they make it through the storm safely, see
the girl's camp down through the clouds, and land.
"The style is line drawing with solid colors - I
seem to remember a lot of darker colors, dark browns, maroons, and
Solution: Ann Can Fly,
by Fred Phleger. A Beginner Book, published by Random
House. Here is a website that shows many of the pictures from the
Series With Princess Kidnapped by
"I read this series of books in middle school, I
think. I think in the first couple of books, the story focuses on
a princess who is kidnapped and held by a dragon because she's bored
with being a princess. Then she gets sick of that, and she either
rescues herself as a prince is about to rescue her, or the prince
rescues her and she doesn't want to be rescued. There's some sort
of djinn involved in a minor way.
"In the third (or fourth, I don't remember how many
there are) book, they're married, and she's pregnant, and the king's
placed under a spell that makes him sleep. So the princess (now queen)
takes her son out to the woods to raise him in a hut, all while
preparing him to go on an adventure to wake up the sleeping king.
Eventually she kicks him out and tells him to do just so.
"I'm pretty sure he runs into some wild, red headed
girl that he eventually ends up hooking up with. All through the
books, he's pretty wimpy, while his mom is quite vigorous."
Solution: The Enchanted Forest Chronicles, by Patricia C. Wrede. Dealing with Dragons (1990), Searching for Dragons (1991), Calling on Dragons (1993), Talking to Dragons (1985, revised 1995).
Girl Investigates, Keeps Journal
"I'm trying to remember a book I read in the late
'80's or early '90's about a little girl who tries to solve mysteries
in her neighborhood. She keeps a detective journal through it
Solution: Harriet the Spy, by Louise Fitzhugh.
She's a spy and not a detective, but she does keep a notebook of her
observations. Information about the book can be found here:
Boy Receives Wooden Disk Inscribed With Cross
"I am hoping to find the title of a fantasy book for
juvenile readers. I read it in 7th grade, about 15 years
ago. It was about a boy who received a birthday gift which was a
circle or disk of wood, with a cross inscribed on it. It matched
others made of different materials such as metal and stone. The
different disks would exhibit magical powers when the were put
together. The cover was dark, and showed the disk. It also
may have had a caped figure on a pale horse facing a young man."
Solution: The Dark is Rising, by Susan Cooper (1973). This is the second book in the five-book The Dark is Rising sequence. The others are Over Sea, Under Stone (1965), Greenwitch (1974 ), The Grey King (1975), and Silver on the Tree (1977). You can find information about the books here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dark_Is_Rising_Sequence and pictures of some of the many covers the book has had here: http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/c/susan-cooper/dark-is-rising.htm
Marmalade on Banoffee Pies
"I am trying to find a book I read at school
when I was about 9 years old, about six and a half years ago. I
don’t remember the name of the book, who it was by, or any of the
characters (sorry). I read it in the UK (England). I
remember it was about a boy who liked to put marmalade on banoffee
pies. There was something about moths and a tanning bed. I think the
city was in ruins and the boy lived with his grandma. There was
something about someone not liking roses, so they had to cut the
flowers off of all the rose bushes. It was a bizarre book, and
I'd love to be able to read it again."
Another query about what seems to be the same book: "There was
this child and all he wore was yellow. He made banoffee pie with
marmalade and, and a mum and he lived in an old salon. He went to
the city and found people under a bridge. There was something
about moths and also a bald girl."
Solution: Kasper in the Glitter, by Philip Ridley. Viking, 1994 (UK); Dutton, 1997 (US). It appears that the pie is spelled "banoffi."
"I am looking for a book about a boy and his
sister. I cannot get the name 'Christianduke's Castle' out of my
head but I can't find anything with that name. Their parents
drown when the boat they are on sinks and the children then go to live
with a distant relative. The boy is quiet and shy because his
sister has magical powers and scares him. He thinks he has no
magical powers. He explores the castle they live in and his
sister gets lessons in how to use her magic. One day his sister
uses magic for evil (against him I think). At this point their
relative (male, possibly the book's namesake) appears and defeats the
sister, telling the boy that all along he has actually been the magical
one and his sister was using his powers. Magical people have
multiple lives and his sister has used up two to save them from
drowning with their parents. The relative then shows him his
lives as matches; more than two are burnt and he says he will
hide each match away separately so that no can find them and the boy
will be safe. The front cover of the copy I had was quite
colourful with a man standing with his arms out wearing a top
hat. I owned it at some point before 2007."
Solution: Charmed Life,
by Diana Wynne Jones (1977). It is one of her Chrestomanci
novels. You can read about that particular book here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charmed_Life_(novel). You can find several covers here: http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/j/diana-wynne-jones/charmed-life.htm. Other books are The Magicians of Caprona (1980), Witch Week (1982), The Lives of Christopher Chant (1988), Mixed Magics: Four Tales of Chrestomanci (2000), Conrad's Fate (2005), and The Pinhoe Egg (2006)
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