304Y: A wave in the moonlight

My memory is it is Christmas Eve, and a mother rabbit comforts her son who is missing his grandpa that died. She goes to the window and waves her hand in the moonlight to cheer him up saying that is what grandpa did for her when she was little.  Then her son shares memories of grampa and says while mom is cooking the next day, he can carry on traditions of what grampa used to do like help the younger kids ride a bike, letting them win games, etc.

Thanks for your help tracking this book down.

304X: Volunteers for an experiment

This was the best story I ever read.  I was in maybe the fifth grade, in 1959(?) and it was in a collection of short stories that was in our classroom for when you had finished your work early.  It was not a brand-new book then, either.

But the story!  These two unemployed guys are looking through the want ads, and they find a doctor who wants volunteers for an experiment.  He has a diving board that faces a black window.  The volunteer is supposed to jump from the diving board into that unknown space.  Well, one of the guys does it, but he never comes back.  So his friend returns to the doctor’s office and jumps through it himself.  He describes what it was like:  dim and twilit, with backwards writing on can labels, a sort of wasteland with boulders, and here and there a glowing luminescent ultra-violet hint, not too bright, but noticeable.  Maybe two or three of these lights in the whole landscape.  He figures out that his friend fell in the rocks and was killed, because of the improper alignment of this other world with our own.  I mean, you can’t just jump into it and assume you will be all right.  So he thinks some more, and realizes that the glowing spots are places in our own world.  One of them is the University, and the other appears to be the doctor’s laboratory.  So with great effort he leaps in some way back into the doctor’s laboratory, and then throw the doctor himself through the window into the blackness.

So, does this sound at all familiar?  I’ve never been able to find it again.  I think of it as The Diving Board and the Black Window, but that’s probably not the name of it.


If you can find it, I would be so happy!

304W: A father’s adventures during WWII

I am looking for a book in which a father in France tells his son how he and a friend (or 2) were up to some mischief during WWII and were captured by a German soldier and held in a pit, but later somehow released. After telling this story, the father tells his son that they are going to see a movie. The movie they see is “The Bridge. ” It turns out that the German soldier who held them in the pit was Bernhard Wicki, who directed the film.

304V: Boys Bring Apples to Old Woman/Witch

Looking for children’s book with beautiful mostly dark red and black illustrations (award winner?) about three boys who are tasked by an old woman to bring her a perfect apple.  The first two boys apples she finds unacceptable and punishes them by turning them into something (an animal perhaps?).  The third boy brings his apple and is rewarded and the old woman reveals herself to be a witch.  I’m not positive on those plot details.  Also not sure of the age of the book…I used to read it as a kid (1993/94).  Thanks for your help!


304U: The Pig Tree

Illustrated young children's book about a chef who buys a little bush, thinking he'll grow figs, but it turns out it's a Pig tree. After many shenanigans and difficulties, he replaces his bush with what he thinks is a proper fig tree bush. . . however it looks at the end like it's gonna be a frog tree! I was a child in the 1970s and guess the book dates from early 70s, but could be mid 70s, or possibly late 60s. The book was probably written for age range 4-7. My searches on Google/Amazon/eBay for "The Pig Tree" or "The Fig Tree" - the titles my memory has provided - haven't found the right book.

304T: Making things weigh less

I’m looking for a juvenile science fiction book I read in the early 1970s. I must have been about 11 or 12 years old. I borrowed it from the public library. It was about a teenager (or youngster) who discovered a mysterious method of making things weigh less, have less mass. In the process of making things weigh less he was able to harness the seemingly limitless energy to power things like an automobile. Pretty vague, but that’s all I can remember.

304S: Her body had healing properties

I only remember a character. It was an old woman and her body had healing properties. I think it was ground down to a powder and used topically on wounds. She gave the main character her pinky finger and her other hand had already reduced to a stump. It wasn’t a gory process. She just broke it off as if it were stone.

304R: “How It Works” Children’s Science Book with Japanese (?) Illustrations

This was a series of children’s books about a centimeter thick and maybe 9″x 12″, a little larger than a standard sheet of paper. They were hardcover with maybe 30-50 pages of full color photographs and illustrated content. I read them in the early 90s in the United States, so they had to be published sometime before that. The inside format was like an Eyewitness book, with little vignettes scattered around the page which sometimes featured a cartoon child’s question for that topic. They were probably targeted at the 6-11 demographic.

This biggest stand-out feature is that even though they were in English, I believe the book was originally published in Japan (or an adjacent culture) because the illustrated characters took part in cultural or regional norms typical to Japan (sitting on stools in showers, catching horned dynastid beetles etc). The illustrations were very cute, a lot of the inanimate objects (teeth, tornadoes, pancreas) had little cartoon faces on them. I have attached a mock-up of how I remember the book cover and cartoon boy looked.

The title was something like “Tell Me Why” or “How It Works” or “Answer Me This”. The books had subtitles of the specific topic they focused on, like “Insects”. I think there was a question mark prominently featured on the cover of the books. There was also a cartoon boy with gray hair and blue shorts on the cover. I think each book featured different cartoon kids, but I’m not sure. The book would follow the kid as they asked questions about the world and received answers.

I had three or four different books in this series. Each book had a different color stripe/band at the top. I think the Insects one was green, the pink one was Weather, and the blue one was Human Body. Insects went through different types of insects, and it included real photographs along with illustrations. I remember an illustration of two stag beetles fighting each other, the artist gave the beetles cartoonishly big eyes. It talked about insect diets, and discussed defense mechanisms. It showed the life cycle of dragonflies, butterflies, praying mantises, bees, wasps, ants, pill bugs etc. There was big real life photo that showed the yellow blood a ladybug secrets when threatened.

The Human Body book talked about each organ and what it did, and how your body healed itself from bacterial infections and skin abrasions. It had a few pages that discussed the best way to take care of your body (exercise, healthy diet, etc). It described what a dentist visit might be like. It showed how a cavity is formed with a little illustration and what it might feel like to have one. I remember an illustration where there’s a frog, a raccoon, and a human child with their bellies face forward. This was to show that some animals, like frogs, did not have bellybuttons because they were not mammals like humans. There was a section about hygiene and I remember it advocated using qtips in your ears, and baby oil + qtips to clean your bellybutton! It had an illustration of a nude child and dad sitting on stools in the shower with dad holding a  removable shower head helping the child wash off.

I don’t remember as much about the Weather book because I thought weather was boring haha. It probably discussed tornadoes, hurricanes and storms and why they form, and what to do if you’re caught in one.

And before anyone asks, no, it is not “The Big Book of Tell Me Why”, or the “Just Ask” picture book series (although I did own those and love them!).


304Q: Rainbows and Dinosaurs

The book was a children’s book from the 1980’s that had something to do with rainbows and dinosaurs. Each page had a different dinosaur of a different color. The text would be something like the “the green dinosaur play in the grass”. I’m not sure if that is an actual quote from the book but it gives an example. The only sentence I do remember is “the black dinosaur waits for the dawn.” I learned to read by memorizing this book and then later recognizing the words and letters. I would like to find this book for my toddler son. Please let me know if you can help.