I’ve tried to track down this book periodically over the past few years with no success. I can’t remember the title or author at all. I don’t know when it was published, but I would have read this in the early 90s—and I don’t remember it seeming physically like an old book. I’m not sure if I can’t find it because it’s rare (hopefully not!), or if I’m just not using the right search terms. Maybe you can help! Here’s what I remember:
It’s a richly illustrated picture book about a quirky, flamboyant man (I’m pretty sure he wears a top hat?) who moves into a drab, stuffy neighborhood where he is ostracized by the uptight parents in the community. The illustrations are somewhat stylized (maybe — but not definitely — collage). One day, neighborhood children, who have been warned by their parents to stay away from this oddball, accidentally break his window with a baseball. (Or maybe they just hit it into is yard… I can’t quite remember.) In any case, when they go to retrieve their ball they discover this guy to be incredibly kind and welcoming. I think he gives them some pink lemonade.
The children, their parents, their houses, and the neighborhood in general are rendered in black and white, but the inside of the stranger’s house is bright and colorful. I can’t remember exactly what happens next, but I think the kids and the man become friends. When the parents find out, they are furious and forbid the children from hanging out with the man, which breaks his heart. I think the inside of his house turns black and white at that point.
But one night, the “ringleader” parent’s house catches on fire, and the strange man saves the family. I think I remember a page where the text is stylized to look like smoke. And I remember an illustration of the family members jumping from the window into a tarp held by firefighters (or maybe townspeople.) This leads the community to accept the strange newcomer, and the entire town bursts into color.
For whatever reason, I cannot figure out what this book is. And it is driving me crazy! If any of this rings a bell, I’d be thrilled. Sincerest apologies for all the vague rambling. And thank you!
Picture book, possibly 1950s (certainly pre-70s). A realistically drawn chipmunk overwinters in proximity to a human household. It lives (I think) in a woodpile, where it makes itself cozy with gathered provisions. There may be an abandoned Halloween pumpkin involved, rotting away bit by bit.
In this children’s book, a pet alligator lives in a penthouse apartment. He wants a garden to be on his balcony. One day, he falls off of the balcony to either get at a plant or a balloon animal. (Somehow, balloon animals are involved. ) He gets stuck in a tree, and his owners frantically search for him. At the end, they buy plants to put on his balcony. Each page was full of intricate details when you examined them closely.
I am looking for a short story, written before 1970, about two elderly strangers, each reminiscing silently to them self about a great love from their youth. As they leave the bench and go their separate ways, we learn that they were the couple, and they did not recognize each other.
Young adult book I read in the late 1970s/early 80s about kids who find out a large tree is a time machine traveling in 50-year increments. Their parents went into it (I think?) and in the end they decide to go into it as well knowing when they come back everybody will be older.
This was an illustrated children’s book about a family of pigs whose parents left them with a terrible/villainous babysitter. They had to save each other. Does this ring any bells?
My 4th grade teacher in 1958-59 read us a chapter-a-day in a children’s book about a group of kids trying to solve a mystery. While trailing a bunch of crooks, the smell of the kids’ mosquito spray (quinine) gave them away. Calpurnia was the housekeeper.