348T: Children’s book about alchemy, 1970s or 1980s

I had a book when I was a kid that I really liked a lot. I was born in 1976 so it would have been published before the mid-80s, probably. It was about an alchemist, possibly old and doddering, who was trying to turn lead into gold. If I remember correctly it had sort of sepia-toned line drawings, and there were quite detailed illustrations and instructions on how various alchemical apparatus worked. I remember illustrations of him working with tubes and liquids and flames and such. He also needed a unicorn horn so he had to get a young maiden to help him catch one. Can’t remember the title at all.

348S: Siblings transform into animal shapes


I’ve been trying to figure out the title and author of this childhood  ‘book memory’ my brother has for the past 3 years. If you are able to solve the mystery, it would be a “Christmas Miracle”!! 🎄

Here is the memory:

“All the illustrations were in blues and greys. It was about a boy, I think with a number of brothers, and the brothers were possibly changed into animal shapes, or possibly it was princesses changed into animal shapes. I think there was a sorceress or magician. And there were pictures of horses? And maybe dogs?”

348R: Fairies who paint?

I am in need of help to find a book from my moms childhood. She was born in the 60s so presumably it’s from anywhere around that time and before.
There are these fairies or elves (or pixies) who paint things the wrong colour – my mom has specifically mentioned fire hydrants and fire trucks. Maybe one naughty one paints them the wrong colour? Can’t be sure. It has very nice illustrations with the look of satisfying brush strokes apparently and is part of the reason she became a painter.
I would love to find it and give it to her for Christmas.

348Q: A little girl and a racoon (?)

This is a paperback book that I believe was bought new around 1980 – 1981. (I think my mom bought it, and we lived in Western Massachusetts at the time, although she gave it to me to read on a trip to New York City to visit my grandparents.) It was a slim book with pictures for school-age kids, but I think it was closer to the size of a typical chapter book rather than a picture book.
The story is about a little girl who at some point ends up fighting or having some kind of conflict with an animal outside, who I think was a racoon (although for some reason a fox also comes to mind, maybe instead of or in addition to the racoon? There also may have been no fox). The conflict in the story was quite emotional – I remember the little girl feeling both mad and maybe sad, and I’m pretty sure she also ultimately cared about the racoon/animal. The racoon/animal may have also been injured or in trouble somehow. I liked the story, but it wasn’t the most bright or cheerful tale.
I think the little girl had straight or wavy black hair worn up in a ponytail. I also feel like she wore a skirt ending above her bare knees. The pictures were delicate, and – at least in some cases – had dark features or strong shadows. The color I remember most apart from the dark aspects is orange…which kind of overlaps with my memory of a fox and its reddish-orange fur.

348P: Island Mystery

Main Character is a young woman hired to be a companion to a teen by the teen’s guardian. Takes place on an island that you have to take a ferry to the mainland. The teen goes missing and the guardian’s younger brother says she ran away and he cuts off his hand to cover up the murder scene. There is a scene where they make oatmeal by leaving it on the stove overnight. The companion starts to be attracted to the younger brother but discovers what he did.

348O: Book with a page that is a dream about nose turning into a pickle w/ illustration

It is a kids book from the 1990s, possibly got it through Scholastic book fair. The book is a disjointed collection of chapters or stories that are all related to night time, getting ready for bed, dreaming. The page and the only part of the story I remember most vividly is about having a dream that her nose turns into a pickle and she breaks it off and eats it, and on the page is an illustration of a kid with a big pickle nose.

Book was hard cover, dark blue, about the same size and length as Graeme Base’s “Animalia”.

The title itself is not about the pickle nose dream, and possibly is a little generic and so it is hard to search for, because the page I can remember and the title are likely unrelated (i.e. pickle is not in the title of the book) but the illustration of the kid with the big pickle nose is etched into my brain.
The illustrations were very beautiful, almost surreal, a little bit like Chris Van Allsberg but less realistic and more cartoon-ish, almost cubist. I remember one page had an illustration of a lone house at night time and all the windows are illuminated and it was very beautiful.
This is a long shot, but in searching on reddit I actually found other people who are trying to figure out what this book was called!

348N: Fern of the Forest?

I’m trying to find a picture book from the 90s about a girl who lives in a town where they only make dog houses. She runs away to the forest because she doesn’t want to make dog houses, and she builds an amazing tree house with the help of the forest animals. For some reason I remember the title as “Fern of the Forest” but that might be completely wrong.

348M: Kids Timer Afterlife House Purgatory

I read this book maybe around 2010, and it follows a duo of kids – I think they were brother and sister. At the start of the story there was some accident like a plane crash or something and then they are like taken to a different world. They are taken to a super awesome house, were they can get whatever they want, though at some point they realize a man who had a box with a timer on it like dies or something when it expires. This causes them to panic and travel to a purgatory type place where people go so their time stops. While they are there, time seems to like pass weird and without realizing it, 2 weeks pass and they are still there. The whole place is known to give off like bad energy so its just fill of miserable people moping around not doing anything – too afraid their timers will expire. There was one specific part I remember and that was the girl talking about how one of the girls was eating a sandwich with mustard, and I just always thought it was gross the way it was talked about.

348K: Fat girl runs away from home by taking canoe to an island and living in the forest

I think I read this in the 4th grade (I was born in 1979). This girl was really unhappy at home, so she took a boat and rowed away to an island. On the island she learned to fend for herself. She made a cozy home either in a kind of dug out, or a hollowed out tree. She survives the winter, and eventually returns home feeling much better about herself because she has lost weight and is independent.