Stump the Bookseller: UVW
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U1: Uncle Wiggily
Solved: Uncle Wiggily and the Alligator
U2: UFO's and aliens
I'd like to find a copy of a science fiction book I read in the
mid 1950's. I don't remember the title or author but the main
characters were three young men who were involved with crashed
UFOs and alien technology. One of the characters was an
electronics whiz. Any ideas?
Maybe one of the Rick Brant
Electronic Boys series? They were written by John
Blaine in the late 1940s. Rick and his friend Scotty lived
on Spindrift Island with Rick's father and other scientists and
solved mysteries. No idea about UFOs, though. Maybe The
Rocket's Shadow 1947?
Raymond F. Jones, SON OF THE STARS.
Jones, Raymond F., Son of the Stars, Winston 1957. More information on
the suggested title, but it doesn't confirm anything. "In 'Son
of the Stars', Raymond Jones has written of a forthright
friendship between a young castaway from space and his earthly
counterpart. How a cold and suspicious military, recognizing
Clonar only as an alien from an astonishingly advanced
civilization, turns friendship into treachery that threatens
earth's existence, makes this an electrifying story with a
thought-provoking theme. In scenes uncomfortably vivid, you'll
meet soldiers and citizens of a typical American city
people like calculating General Gillispie and frightened Mrs.
Barron, whose reactions to an 'interplanetary' situation bring
the world to the brink of destruction.." The term 'castaway'
suggests that there may be UFO crash technology involved, but
only the alien boy Clonar and his friend young Barron are
mentioned, not 3 boys. If it helps, Clonar has 6 fingers.
I don't know the teens and UFOs novel
sought, but it's none of the Rick Brant
series. Rick Brant gets involved in some mildly sftish
situations with new inventions and such, but the only trace of
aliens in the whole series are some thousand-year-old ambigious
radio signals from space picked up in THE EGYPTIAN CAT
U5: Unexpected wilderness survival esperience
This is a book about either a boy or a boy and an adult friend
that went for a hiking experience in the mountains. They wind up
with a snow storm that strands him/them in a high valley for the
winter. The book talks about the things that had to be improvised
to survive. I believe it talked about tanning deer hide. And I
think there was some reference to cinnabar (an ore from which
mercury is derived). It seems the book ends as spring arrives and
he/they are able to return home.
wilderness survival experience: The plot is somewhat like
Walt Morey's Canyon Winter, but not enough
to be the book described. The main differences are that
the stranding was due to a plane crash and I don't believe
there's anything about deer hide tanning or metal ore--just a
lot about tree conservation. The deer hide tanning is like My
Side of the Mountain, but that wasn't an accidental
experience--Sam did spend the
winter, and did have a friend, but went up
there on purpose. It is also definitely not Viereck's
Terror on the Mountain, as that takes place during
Would this be one of the Gary Paulsen
books? I was reminded of either The River
or Hatchet. Neither match exactly, though.
U5 unexpected wilderness survival: Not an
exact match, but there's Lone Woodsman, by Warren
Hastings Miller, illustrated Kreigh Collins, published
Winston 1943, 230 pages. Dan Pickett loses all his supplies when
his canoe capsizes on Lac Seul, leaving him with his belt knife,
swim trunks, and dog Pepper. He makes his way to Factory St.
Joseph to meet his father, foraging for food, killing animals
with a hand-made bow and traps, tanning hides, smoking meat and
so on. He loses supplies and shelter once to a wolverine and
once to a moose. Diagrams are provided for several of the things
he makes. Couldn't find a reference to cinnabar, though. Most of
the journey takes place in snowy weather.
Jean Craighead George, My Side of the
A long shot. Parts of the plot don't match, but the parts
about a boy tanning deerskin and surviving a winter alone in the
U5: Unexpected wilderness survival
experience - just a note from the original poster of this
puzzle. I have checked in every few months and pursued the
suggestions. In fact, I have enjoyed purchasing and reading My
Side of the Mountain. Unfortunately, none of the
suggestions is the book I remember. Thanks for making this
forum available - and I hope someone will yet be able to help
me find this book.
Hobbs, Will, Far North, 1996. You might take a look at Far North by Will Hobbs. Two
teenage boys and an elderly man (who dies part way through) are
stranded for the winter in a high valley in Canada's Northwest
Terr. after a float plane accident.
Mowat, Lost in the Barrens,
1956, This mystery
reminded me of this book, which I really enjoyed as a kid. Some
elements sound similar but it may not be the one either. Either
way, thanks for reminding me of it!
U6: Upon my word
Solved: Alice and Jerry
Solved: The House That Had Enough
U8: Under One Roof
Solved: Under one roof
U9: Underground river with
families living on rafts
Solved: Journey Outside
U10: Unicorn healing
Solved: The Beast with the Magical Horn
U11: Underground lost world
Solved: The Perilous Descent
U12: unicorn & geraniums
Solved: The Little
U13: underground stream or bush bower
book was read in the late 1940's or early 1950's by teacher in a
rural school for children 6-12 years old. In book children
had a bower on a hill made of brush or tall weeds. Also there was
a portion that talked of a river or stream that ran under a
house. There was a ladder that went down into the stream.
Goudge, Elizabeth, Henrietta's House, London, Hodder, 1942. I wonder if it
might be this. Henrietta, her brother Hugh
John, and assorted adults go for a picnic in
the hills. The story blends fantasy and reality. There is a
sinister hulking gatekeeper who is like the Giant who had no
heart in his body, and an old gentleman who builds bowers in the
forest for imagined Sleeping Beauty and Babes in the Woods, and
a mysterious house fitted up just as Henrietta had dreamed. Hugh
John and the Bishop find an underground river and a boat, and go
down it, to find a robbers' den and the place where the young
saint of the hills may have prayed. I believe there is a ladder
out of the den.
U14: Useful Cart
believe it was published in UK, c. 1970. described all the
uses children found for a wagon. not a lot of text, no plot.
Mollie Clarke, The
Cart, 1966. No
description, but the title's right, it was published in the UK,
and there was a
reprint in 1969.
U14 Do you want me to look in Petersham's
The Box with Red Wheels to see?
I don't think The Box With Red Wheels
fits the description; it's a very short story about some animals
wondering what could be inside that box with red wheels (it
turns out to be a baby).
Hall, Ox-Cart Man, 1979. Could this be Ox-Cart Man
by Donald Hall?
Man who has a wife and two kids on a farm loads up the Ox-Cart
each year and sells everything in it for presents/goods for the
family including the cart itself at the end. Then the story
starts over again.
U15: undersea animals (starfish, etc.) interact
Solved: The Garden Under the Sea
U16: Unicorn awakes after 500? years
U17: Up the Hill
Solved: Up the Hill
U18: Utensils teach child to cook
Solved: The Mary
Frances Cook Book
U19a: Under the Sea
Solved: Valley of the Song
U19b: US sailor with smuggled puppy
1955 - 1958. I remember a book about a US sailor (homesick?) in a
ship in the Med Fleet, peacetime, post WWII. He finds (and
smuggles aboard)a puppy while on shoreleave in an Italian(?) port.
Many adventures later, the book ended and simultaneously broke my
heart and began a life filled with the great joy found on the
printed page. This was the first "real book" I read. Borrowed it
from the Carrol Park Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library.
U20: Ugly (or evil) dolls
I have only foggy memories of this book, but what stands out is
that the protagonist(s) are afraid of a certain house or person
because this person (an old woman?) makes really ugly dolls with
patches for eyes, and yet the dolls seem to "watch" people and
know what they're up to. It was really creepy and it seems to me
that these dolls, as well as the protagonists, are part of some
mystery. Any help would be appreciated.
U20 Sounds like it could be REVENGE
OF THE DOLLS by Carol Beach York, 1979.
Definitely creepy. The old aunt makes ugly evil dolls. They do
not have patches for eyes, tThey have glass button eyes, and
they do watch. Although, as revenge for Paulie destroying one of
her dolls, she creates a sinister pirate doll which has an eye
patch. So it might be worth looking at. ~from a librarian
U21: Underground City Children Escape
Solved: This Time of Darkness
U23: Up the stairs
Solved: Surprise for
U24: Under the ? Tree
the Pawpaw Trees
Unfinished Stories (Illustrated)
Solved: The Mysteries
of Harris Burdick
U26: Under the Maple Tree
Solved: Miracles on Maple Hill
U27: Upside down book
I am looking for a book published in the late 1940's or
early 1950's. I don't remember anything about it except that
you had to turn the book upside down and there was another related
story that you read when you turned the book upside down at the
end of the first story. I know this is very farfetched, but it is
a book that I loved when I was in kindergarden around 1958-59 and
I want to locate it and buy it for my granddaughters.
There are several Wonder and Elf books that fit this upside-down
theme: Good Morning and Good Night by Frank
Luther, The Goody-Naughty Book and The
Sunny-Sulky Book by Sarah Cory Rippey,
and The Goody Naughty Book by Mabel
Watts. If these were longer juvenile stories, there's
a whole series of Dandelion Books, but the stories aren't
necessarily related. Check the Solved Mysteries pages to see
if any of these work.
Upside down books. I had one of these books in the 50's
when I was a child. It wass called Just Like
Mummy/Just Like Daddy.
Charlotte Zolotow, When I Grow Up???, 1950's. CZ has a book like this
where one side is a little girl, "when I grow up, I can wear
party dresses to school, etc." The other side is a little
boy. Maybe this?
Margriet Heymans Annemie, The Dolls'
Margriet Heymans, The Doll's Party.
U28: Underground Railroad
Solved: Steal Away Home
U29: Umbrella, hat and broom
I had a book when I was a kid in the 70s....it was a collection
of stories and one included an umbrella, a hat and a broom - they
could talk and I think it was a rainy day and they found something
to keep themselves busy..... It's driving me NUTS!
I want to say that this is an Enid
Blyton story. There's a vauge recollection of having
read this, and I had a lot of the Blyton short story collections
as a child. However, there are a lot of short story
collections of hers to check! The smuggler's cave
and other stories has a story called "The
I think this sounds a lot like Stumper
D186. Both have unbrellas, which seems unusual.
Hi, I am looking for a book I read as a
child around 1968-1972. Story was about a young girl and
her adventures. Something somewhat magical from what I
remember. The only clue I can offer is that at one point
she had to jump from a cliff so she opened her UMBRELLA and she
drifted safely down to the ground.
Brown, Palmer, Beyond the Pawpaw
Trees. When I
read this stumper, my first thought was of this book.
Didn't she always carry her umbrella? And the description
of her jumping off a cliff and floating down with her umbrella
Palmer Brown, Beyond the pawpaw
trees: the story of Anna Lavinia, 1954. I also think this could be
the book you're looking for. Maybe some of this description will
sound familiar? Pages 60-63 of the 1973 Camelot Book
reprint describe how Anna Lavinia has thrown stones, a tea cosy
and a jar of pawpaw jelly over the cliff and noticed a peculiar
phenomenon. She has then watched her cat Strawberry fall over
the edge of the cliff with no ill effects. She decides she
has no choice but to follow him, pushing a carpet bag and
gardenia bush over the edge ahead of her. "Finally, just to be
on the safe side, she opened her umbrella and reached into her
pocket to squeeze the silver key for good luck. Then she
took a deep breath and stepped off into the air."
Just to confirm, U30 is indeed Beyond the Pawpaw Trees: The
Story of Anna Lavinia by Palmer Brown. I just read it a
few weeks ago and remember the scene quite clearly.
U30b: Uncle sends lion skin for birthday, boy gets back at
After all these years, I am still seeking a
PICTURE BOOK about a little BLACK BOY (maybe in an urban
setting) who is picked on by his MEAN SISTERS. At one point his
sisters lock the boy in a CLOSET and eat his birthday cake while
he watches through the KEYHOLE. And all they save for him is a
candle with a little bit of cake stuck to the bottom! His uncle
sends a LION SKIN (head and all--like a rug), or some other
large cat, from somewhere abroad (Africa perhaps), and with it,
he's able to scare the beejeebers out of his sisters and exact
revenge. My best guess is that it could have been
published between 1960 and 1975, definitely not as late as
1980. While the plot is remarkably similar, it is not
JAMES THE JAGUAR, by Mary Lystad, illustrated by Cyndy Szekeres
(1972). Please help! Thank you.
This description is nearly identical to
B282, which is still unsolved.
Also, just so you know, I was indeed the one who posted
B282--perhaps two years ago. I too hope the mystery is
Ruth Cavin, Timothy
the Terror, 1972. Very rare and hard to
find, expensive too (saw a copy for sale which cost $104.99).
Great story though.
U31: Unicorn Tapestry Mystery
Solved: Secret of the Unicorn
ufo short stories humor flying saucers
Weekly reader or Scholastic magazine had a
special issue that had short humorous stories about flying
saucer experiences. My recollection is that they were
penned by Buddy Hackett (the late comedian). One story
starts "I was flying my private plane to Lubbock Texas to bomb
some people whose religious proclivities I didn't wholly agree
with" another ends with a description of the effects on a
mans wife "she had to be pulled around on a dolly and could only
communicate with the aid of a hand puppet". Any assistance in
finding these stories would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
U32 Do they remember if it was 8 1/2 x
11? If so, it might be this: The Scholastic
Funfact book of UFOs. Scholastic, 1977.
U32 Please keep trying :-) The short
stories I'm trying to find were purely fiction. Thanks.
U33: Unicorn book with necklace
I'm looking for a kids book about a unicorn. The book was
probably published in the late 70s or early 80s, and the book came
with a little necklace (I believe the necklace had a unicorn on it
as well). I know that's not much info to go on, but I'm
trying to find both the book and necklace for a friend. If
anyone has any ideas I would really appreciate it!
Perhaps it was one of the books by Elizabeth
Koda-Callan. She wrote a bunch of books that came with
charm necklaces around that time and some are still in print, I
think. Good Luck!
Thank you for the response. I checked into this author,
though, and she doesn't appear to have written any books about
unicorns. Also, my friend who had the book was a boy, and
these are all books for little girls.
packaged necklaces or such that related to a books
subject. Escape of the Unicorn by Suzanne Lord or Sarah's
Unicorn by Bruce Coville were both publish by Scholastic in that
U34: "Underground Railroad" Jeanie Quakers Orphan
Solved: Voices in the Night
U35: Upside-down or backwards book
I am not sure of the correct term but it was an "upside-down or
backwards book" with 2 stories in one book both about a child's
bedtime, sleep, not wanting to go to bed. I am pretty sure
that there were 2 Covers, 2 titles, 2 fronts to the book. You
would read in one direction , one story. Flip the book over and
there was another cover and another story. The 2 stories
were on reverse pages, upside down, as I recall , if you looked
over the page of story #1. Year I read this would have been
in the early 1950's, maybe even the late 1940's. One story
was about a little girl who did not want to go to sleep and stayed
up all night wandering through the empty house, as I
recall. the other story , when you flipped the
book, was about what goes on in the house when everyone is
asleep. I just recall it was quite clever and really
got the message across that it was better to go to sleep than stay
up all night,. I would so love to find this book
Thanks for any help. Such a cool web site. I was able
to solve one of them...
U36: Uncle-niece thing
Solved: Me, My Goat,
and My Sister's Wedding
U37: Underground monsters
This is a book I read in the late 50's. I am very vague
about it, but it was fairly large and had many full page black and
white or sepia drawings. It had as many pictures as a normal
picture book but more writing. A boy goes ?underground in a
?castle, or possibly down a well and comes to a world with many
strange and grotesque creatures. It's more like an art book,
can't really remember the plot, but I think he has to try to get
out. I'm not certain if the creatures are threatening him or
not. Not much to go on, I know!
Could this be George MacDonald's The
the Goblin? You can read it online
Thanks, but it's definitely not The
Princess and the Goblin. It's not a fairy or folk
tale, I'm sure, but a modern fable of some kind, with the
emphasis on the artwork and strange underground monsters.
I remember reading this book but i haven't a
clue waht it's called, although i recall the pictures looking
vaguely like those in where the wild things are by maurice
sendak, maybe it was by him?
Secret of the Unicorn Queen
U39: Underground maze
Solved: The House of
Solved: The Great Brain
U41: Underground Society
I happened to browse onto your page in
search for This Time of Darkness. I also have a very
(quite similar) issue. I am also looking for a book about
an underground society. Since you seemed to be (somewhat)
versed, at least reading three books on the subject ( This Time
of Darkness, Outside and The City Under Ground), I was hopeing
you can help me out. When I was a kid, I read 1/2 way
threw a book and my mom returned it, without my knowledge, and
we just never bothered getting it out of the library again
(something I truly regret). So anyway, this is what I
remember from the book:
* The society did live underground
* The main character was not over the age
of a teenager...but most likely pre-pubesent. Not sure of
the gender, but I think it was male.
* There was a scene with a "town meeting"
where the male and female adults stood on opposite sides of the
room (maybe a theme of segregation?) and the children were
either not present or split from both groups of adults.
* The main character describes a "beating"
he received for looking up a "smoke stack" to the surface to see
the sky. Something that was obviously forbidden.
* The main character and his/her friends
went exploring, following "train tracks" to
somewhere...something i believe was also forbidden.
The last two bullets, the overall idea I'm
sure is correct, but I am fuzzy on the details.
Zilpha Keatley Snyder, Below the
Root, 1975. I
think you're looking for the Green-sky trilogy - the books are
"Below the Root", "And All Between", and "Until the
Celebration". The novels are about a planet with two
different groups of people - the Kindar, who live in villages in
the treetops and wear long, wing-like outfits that allow them to
glide from tree to tree, and the Erdlings, who have been
imprisoned underground and developed an industrialized
society. A Kindar teenager named Raamo is invited to join
the ruling council, and finds out about the existence of the
Erdlings. The clues you provide sound a lot like
descriptions of the Erdling tunnels.
The book or series described in the query
wouldn't be Green-sky. No child abuse (almost no
violence at all) or gender segregation in those books. Could you
be remembering two different series with similar ideas?
Ayn Rand, Anthem, 1937. Not everything matches, but you might be
looking for ANTHEM.
Jean Duprau, City
of Ember. The plot sounds like Duprau's book about Ember,
where people had gone to escape some coming global
catastrophe. By the time of the book, two children had
discovered a route "up there". The time doesn't sound right
for it though.
U42: Uncle gloves mansion cabin snakes wash basin
This is a paperback book I read about 10
yrs ago, might have been written sometime in early 90's: A boy
is sent to live with his evil aunt and uncle in a giant old
creepy mansion (I believe he is orphaned, and he might have had
a sister who went too...) His uncle and aunt put him
to very hard labor; his hands get very blistered, and on
his birthday, they only give him work gloves (!). In his
bedroom, there is a scary wash basin painted with a scene of a
very chaotic and violent cavalry battle (that happened a few
hundred years ago). Eventually, the boy flips over the
basin and finds a secret passage, which he follows down to find
a log cabin buried deep within the house where a nice old lady
lives, who helps him. He even crosses a snake pit at one
point, I think. I forget how the happy ending wraps up...
U43: Uncle Popacatapetl
I dimly recall reading, circa 1965, a
children's fantasy novel which I suspect was published at least
thirty years earlier. The book was written in third-person
narration, but always focusing on the child protagonist (as in Alice
in Wonderland or The Wizard of Oz) The main
character was a little boy I can't remember his name for
certain, but it might be Peter. At one point in this book, the
boy meets a very jolly bald fat man whose name is Uncle
Popacatapetl. I'm pretty sure of that spelling. In real life,
there is a volcano in Mexico named Popocatapetl notice the
spelling difference.I don't remember the name of the book's
author or illustrator. At one point, there is an illustration
when the boy meets a lot of human or humanoid figures. One of
the figures is a pair of tongs or a pair of pliers walking
upright, with a male human face. The strange thing about these
figures is that they seem to be parodies of the "Happy
Families": these are characters in a children's card game which
is very popular in Britain, similar to American children's games
such as Old Maid and Go Fish, except that Happy Families
requires a special dedicated card deck. I think that these
characters in this book even have names similar to the names in
the Happy Families card deck: Mister Cutts the Butcher, and so
forth: surnames linked to a trade, and punning on it. I get the
impression that this novel was written and published in America
(I saw it in a shipment of books from the USA), but the presence
of the Happy Families characters might indicate that the book
originated in Britain. Any ideas?
Not a direct solution, but I found
reference to your Uncle P. character being in a book titled Alternative
Alices (Twenty stories by different authors giving
an alternative picture of the heroine of Lewis Carroll's 1865
novel, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Often less
flattering than the original, they were written between 1869 and
1930) -- so here's the contents of that book.
Hopefully, you'll recognize the story you're looking for in
there. Contents: Mopsa the fairy : Reeds and rushes;
Queen's wand; Failure / Jean Ingelow -- Amelia and the
dwarfs / Juliana Horatia Ewing -- From Speaking likenesses /
Christina Rossetti -- Behind the white brick / Frances Hodgson
Burnett -- Wanted-a king, or, how Merle set the nursery rhymes
to right / Maggie Browne -- New Alice in the old wonderland :
Peggy the pig; Dutchess and her house; Tweedles
Pageant / Anna M. Richards --
Justnowland / E. Nesbit -- Ernest / Edward Knatchbull-Hugessen
-- From nowhere to the north pole: a Noah's ark-æological
narrative : How Frank fared in Teumendtlandt; What
happened to Frank in Quadrupedremia / Tom Hood -- Down the snow
stairs, or, from good-night to good-morning : naughty children
land / Alice Corkran -- Davy the goblin, or what followed
reading "Alice's adventures in wonderland" : the moving forest /
Charles E. Carryl -- Wallypug of why : Way to why;
Breakfast for tea; Girlie sees the wallypug;
What is a goo? / G.E. Farrow -- New
adventures of "Alice" : Found in the attic; To Bunberry
Cross, or along came a snipe; Peevish printer
Fire!! / John Rae -- Uncle Wiggily in
wonderland : Uncle Wiggily and wonderland Alice; Uncle
Wiggily and the march hare; Uncle Wiggily and the cheshire
cat / Howard R. Garis -- From David Blaize and the blue door /
E.F. Benson -- Westminster Alice : Alice in Downing
street; Alice in Pall Mall; Alice and the liberal
party / Saki -- Clara in Blunderland : in a hole again /
Caroline Lewis -- Alice in Blunderland, an iridescent dream :
off to Blunderland; ownership of children / John Kendrick
Bangs -- Alice and the stork: a fairy tale for workingmen's
children : Alice visits the American eagle / Henry T.
Schnittkind -- Alice in the delighted states : Through the
drinking glass; Jealous island; Humble pie
Censor incensed / Edward Hope
Benson, E. F., David Blaize
and the Blue Door,1918. Acting on the above
information, I found that the story in the book Alternative
Alices with Uncle Popacatapetl is "David
Blaize and the Blue Door," by E. F. Benson.
I'm not certain it's the right book, because there is only an
excerpt available in that book, but it seems like a good lead!
U44: Upside Down Land
Thanks GOD for this site! There is one book
I’ve been looking for this book for YEARS! Please help! I used
to take this book out from the library when I was very very
young, maybe 15 or 20 years ago. It was in the Children’s
section, one of those thin hardcover picture books. I remember
that the cover was brown and possibly and the cartoonish picture
on it like the inside of the book. What I REALLY remember is the
pictures. The story was about a young boy who traveled to all
these different worlds. Like most picture books there wasn’t a
lot of words but big pictures of these worlds. One of them was
an “Upsidedown land” where everyone walked with their shoes on
their hands and birds flying upside down and people walking
around doing handstands. Then he traveled to a chocolate World
(possibly Chocolate and Marshmallow it was all brown and white)
Actually that was the world that reminded me of the book (Anyone
else seen the Chocolate Quik commercial where everything turns
to chocolate – that’s what triggered my memory) Now this book
looked like it was written in early 80s, possibly older (by a
few years, nothing more than 60s) Please Please help!
James Flora, Pishtosh, Bullwash, and
Wimple.One of my
favorites as a child. A boy has three friends (Pishtosh,
Bullwash, and Wimple) that take him on wonderful
adventures. One place is upside down land, another is
growly forest (where trees growl), another is chocolate lake (my
favorite!) where they go fishing for marshmallow fish with
vanilla wafer fins and he catches a big chocolate fish with a
peanut eye. Once he catches a peppermint turtle. At
the end of the book they have to find the north pole (taken by a
polar bear to share with his homesick relatives in a zoo) before
all the gravity spills out of the earth. They replace it
in the nick of time, just as everything is floating off of the
Not a solution, but this sounds similar to a
book I've been trying to unearth from my memory for a long time.
The one I read would have been in the 70s.
Mattel, Upsy-Downsy Land,1969.You
be thinking of Upsy-Downsy Land - one of our
all-time favorite books! It lists no auther - just
"Mattel." Brilliantly colored cartoon pictures where
everyone walks on their hands...
U45: Unfinished picture book
Solved: The Mysteries
of Harris Burdick
U46: Uncle Toby, boys adventures
I vaguely remember 2 boys in a children's
book who had an uncle Toby who sent them on really fantastic,
almost surreal trips. I think there was a series of the
books. Sadly, I can't remember much else.
Gordon Boshell, Captain Cobwebb. That could be this long series - the
uncle was Septimus Cobwebb (and was invisible) but Toby was one
of the boys (his older brother was David). If Fanty the
elephorse, the Leopillar, the Golden Cactus, the shershl (an
invisible bus) and/or being kidnapped by a sort of ground-effect
horseshoe crab with tentacles ring any bells then the
requester's looking for this.
U47: Ugly Duckling
The Ugly Duckling, publication date
approx. between 1950-1960; large edition, approx. 8 1/2" x 11";
white boards; final page in book has small drawing in a box
centered in upper half of the page (maybe a plain white page
after that). Good luck!! I've spent a LONG time
U48: Upside Down Hatbox Cake
I am looking for a children's book from my childhood. It featured
a group of animal characters that acted like people. There was a
Mrs. Duck (I think - some kind of "Fowl") The premise of the book
is that there is a village fete going on where baked goods will be
sold. "Mrs. Duck" makes a cake and places it in a Hatbox on a
shelf in her closet to cool. When she goes to retrieve the cake it
tips upside down. She's upset, but takes the cake anyway. It sells
and the folks want more! She makes another, puts it in the Hatbox
and turns it upside down. The "Up side down Hatbox Cake" is born.
Any of this sound familiar? I got the book from my Elementary
School Library. It might have been part of a collection of
stories. Somewhere around 1965, although it wasn't new then.
Miriam Clark Potter, Mrs. Goose
series. The story
"Hatbox Cake" is anthologized in Let's Hear
a Story - 30 Stories and Poems for Today's Boys and Girls,
ed. by Sidonie Matsner Grunberg, c. 1961. The
story is from one of Miriam Clark Potter's "Mrs.
Goose" books, but I'm not sure which one.
Titles in the series include "Mrs. Goose of Animal Town"
(1939), "Hello Mrs. Goose" (1947), "Here
Comes Mrs. Goose" (1953), "Our Friend Mrs.
Goose" (1956), "Mrs. Goose's Green Trailer"
(1956), "Just Mrs. Goose" (1957), "Queer,
Dear Mrs. Goose" (1959), "Goodness, Mrs.
Goose!" (1960), "No, No, Mrs. Goose!"
(1962), "Goofy Mrs. Goose" (1963), "Mrs.
Goose and Three-Ducks" (1964), and "Mrs. Goose
and her Funny Friends" (1964). "Hello Mrs.
Goose" was reprinted in 2000, and "Just Mrs.
Goose" was reprinted in 2004.
Miriam Clark Potter, Mrs. Goose, 1957, copyright. This sounds like it
could be a Mrs. Goose book. There are at least
three of them: Just Mrs. Goose, Mrs. Goose
and her Funny Friends and Goofy Mrs. Goose.
It's the only reference I could find to a
'hatbox cake' so maybe------Let's hear a story: 30 stories
and poems for today's boys and girls / Sidonie
Matsner Gruenberg / 1961 [1st ed.]. English Book :
Juvenile audience 160 p. illus. 29 cm. Garden City, N.Y.,
Miriam Clark Potter, Our
Friend Mrs. Goose, 1951, copyright. This
is in response to a question about where to find "The Hatbox
Cake" story by Miriam Clark Potter. The story, according
to the acknowledgments in an anthology containing the story, was
originally in Miriam Clark
Potter's "Our Friend Mrs. Goose," published in 1951. The
anthology referred to above is: Let's Hear a Story, by Sidonie Matsner Gruenberg
The book features a beautiful
maiden, a white unicorn, and white greyhounds that hunt the
unicorn. It is a children's book that contains mainly
illustration, as opposed to text. The drawings are detailed,
elegant, and realistic. I believe there may be a tapestry feel to
the art and layout. My strongest image is that of the unicorn
being attacked by the white greyhounds. I also recall the maiden
having beautifully illustrated hands and fingernails. I
encountered this book in the mid-eighties, and I have no idea what
the title or author could have been.
Gale Cooper, Unicorn Moon, 1984,
copyright. "One night a lonely princess dreams of a handsome
hunter on a unicorn, forever riding through the land of Unicorn
Moon. His only companions are his hunting hounds. He is enchanted
by a powerful spell - and can be freed only if she solves a great
riddle: What is the meaning of true love?" Front cover shows a
unicorn and two white greyhounds running, with a full moon behind
them. The dogs are on either side of the unicorn, with open mouths
and tongues hanging out, and could be construed as either
attacking it or as simply running alongside and panting. There is
an interior picture of a blonde prince, in lavendar tights &
shirt, with a burgundy tunic, sitting at the edge of the water,
with three white greyhounds sitting behind him and a full moon
over his shoulder. He is reflected in the water, and the unicorn
is standing in the foreground.
Solved: The Silver Nutmeg
Society and Names
This book was found in a middle
school library. It may have been a children's book, but then
again, it may not have been as it contained some things I would
consider very adult. I am fuzzy on the plot of the book. Its
been so many years; all I recall is a vague impression of the two
main characters getting themselves into deeper and deeper trouble
until they fled to a passageway above ground I'm not sure they
believed existed. I know the premise was that long ago a
society had to go underground due to war or possibly environmental
catastrophe, and believed they could never go back again, and that
this was the world the main characters lived in. The entire book
except the very end takes place underground. One of the
traits I do recall about the society was how they passed on names.
If someone died, they would take the names of the person who died
and give it to a newly born babe. So, say your father was named
"Sam" and he died...the first male child to be born would then
carry the name "Sam." This became especially vivid when the
main characters (a boy and a girl, not fully grown, I think)
escaped to above ground up a long staircase (again, I think). They
found a group of people who lived on the surface, and in the
course of things one of the above-grounders died. One of the main
characters asked who would take on his name, and the question
earned them a lecture on honoring the dead. Help?
This almost never happens to me, but as I was reading your
stumper to post it, I suddenly had this thought that I might know
what this is. It reminded me of this movie trailer that I saw
just yesterday (when I went to see Prince Caspian), called "City of Ember."
From the trailer, I gathered that there was this underground
society, a refuge from Earth, meant to last 200 years; now the
electricity generator is failing, and these 2 teens have to find the
way out to save their society. I did some online research and
found that it's based on a young adult novel by Jeanne DuPrau also called The City of Ember,
which is the first of the series Books of Ember. I could be
totally wrong, since these books are only a few years old and I
don't know how long ago you found your book, but this just flashed
into my mind, and I had to write this down. :)
City of Ember. This also
sounds like City
of Ember to me, though I don't remember the part about
the names being taken. There is also the Windsinger series, in which a
brother and sister have to leave their town because they get into
The City of Ember is not
the right book. The book I found was back when I was in middle
school, and I'm 32 now. It was a lot of years back. However,
there are some similarities, enough that I have wondered if the
writer of "City of Ember" also read the same book.
Logan's Run. Okay, as I read the description again, there were a lot
of similarities to the movie Logan's Run. I never read the
book, but it could be what the reader is looking for--has the
staircase and the upper/lower world with the belief that the
world didn't exist anymore.
Gregory Maguire, I
Feel Like the Morning Star, 1989, copyright. I
haven't read this, and nothing mentions the names, but the book
sounds right in other ways. There's a post-nuclear underground
society, rigid, static, and frightened, which is shaken up by
three teenagers who are determined to be free.
Lawrence, Andra. I remember the book Andra having
an underground society with a strange way of choosing names.
But the rest of the details don't fit, and Andra had quite a
downbeat ending that i thought would be mentioned in the
query. So it's not a strong possibility.
I remember this
one! The city underground is cramped and dirty and
overcrowded. The girl and boy decide (there is some
overwhelming reason) to just keep going up the staircase until
they find out where it ends. I remember one level, the girl
has to go to the restroom and pretends she has to vomit to move up
the line of women waiting quickly. It was definitely published in the mid to
1980's. I will try to jar my memory some more about this
I think that this was a serial in
Jack and Jill magazine in the 1950's. A girl lives both on
top of and under the ground. This seems to be in tunnels and
perhaps in Ireland. I don't remember any time traveling
taking place but just that she goes underground when there is
trouble on top. Thank you.
U53: Unicorn kept on apartment roof
Unicorn (maybe?), 1975. This is a children's novel
about a girl who lives in the city (I believe it was NYC, but it
may have been Chicago or another big US city) who secretly owns a
unicorn and keeps it on the roof of her family's apartment
building. Eventually the unicorn becomes unhappy living there and
the girl has to let it free -- a very sad, but sweet ending.
I remember it having a light blue cover with a whimsical
illustration of a unicorn, possibly with a girl riding it. I think
the type may have been orange. I think I may have ordered the
paperback from a school book fair.
Georgess McHargue, Stoneflight, 1975, copyright. Any chance it was a griffin,
instead of a unicorn? Set in Manhattan in the 1970s, Stoneflight
is about a pre-teen girl (Janie) who escapes her parents marital
problems by hiding out on the rooftop of her apartment
building. There, she spends her time cleaning a beautiful
stone griffin (whom she calls "Griff") until he finally comes to
life for her and she is able to soar over the city on his back.
Janie then travels around New York City, discovering other stone
animals decorating the City’s architecture and bringing them to
life. However, when the animals start to turn her into
stone, she learns that having feelings is the price of remaining
human. Front cover shows Janie riding on the back of the griffin.
Dominant colors are blues, greens, and lavender.