360I: Magic Ball (Children’s Sci-Fi)

I read this book as part of a children’s summer reading program at a small branch library next to my Dad’s hardware store in Clarksville, Indiana. The timing was some time between 1965-1968. Every book you read would earn a balloon stamp on a clown bookmark. You only received the stamp after giving a verbal recap of each book to the librarian.

I do not recall the title but I believe there were limited graphics inside the pages. A young boy finds a red ball in a field near his home. He quickly realizes that the ball can respond to his wishes. It can change color and size. Become heavy or light. It can even fly around the room and come to home when he calls.

Late in the book the ball starts to exhibit strange behavior as if it wants to escape. The boy follow the ball into the field where he meets the ball’s true owner: an alien child from a nearby space ship that has landed. The boy gives the ball back to the alien child and is thanked by the alien parent.

This book started my love of science fiction writing and led me to the likes of Wells, Verne, Asimov, Bradbury, Clarke and many others.

359T: Lifetime Feud Between Pony Express Rider and Teamster

Keyword: “Slade”. May be name of character, part of title, even place name.

I read the book in the mid to late 60’s. It was a Western, not a children’s book. A Pony Express rider and a teamster hate each other for reason unremembered (by me), which leads to a life-long feud. Their lives are somehow inextricably entwined, and they keep encountering each other. At the end, the teamster dies. I believe he may have been killed while saving the Pony Express rider. The Pony Express rider is distraught, and realizes his life is no longer as full as it once was, and he feels sad and empty.

358Q: Strawberry Soda is a Success at Girl’s Party (Solved!)

The book I’m looking for was probably written in the 50’s or 60’s. It’s about a girl who is just encountering feelings for boys. The biggest thing I can remember is she decides to have a party and her parents get strawberry pop and she is afraid it’s going to be the wrong thing and instead, everyone loves it! No clue why I remember this, but there you go. She seems sort of sheltered, but in the end her party is a success and she gets a boyfriend, I think. I wish I could remember more! Hopefully someone else will remember strawberry soda/pop!

357Q: Sci-fi book including “Men of Harlech”

Some 60 years ago, I was reading a science-fiction book in which an adult was with two children, ca. 12 years old, on a trip of some sort.  While they are out walking, he sang “Men of Harlech” to them; the words for a verse or two appear in the book:

“Men of Harlech in the hollow, do ye hear like rushing billow …”, &f.
I recalled nothing else of the book until a few days ago when I suddenly recalled that a planet named “Lepton” figured in the book somehow; I thought this additional detail might be enough to find the book.

The reason for such vagueness, beyond the 60-year time lapse, is that I never finished the book. I was perhaps 9 or 10 years old, but this wasn’t a children’s’ book; the librarian jerked the book from my hands, telling me to “stop pretending to read that book” and go pick a book from the children’s’ section instead.  I could read the newspaper before I started 1st grade, so I was by no means pretending, and I wasn’t interested in children’s’ books.

My mother had a somewhat heated talk with the librarian sometime later, and the librarian never bothered me again on subsequent visits.  But I was unable to locate the book again.

357P: Schizophrenic Lady M.D.

Book written in 1950’s, 60’s I think. But remotely possible published as late as 70’s, 80’s.  Autobiography (?) by woman (maybe named “Diane”, not sure…?) who suffered schizophrenia (I think, or some sort of mental illness) and became an M.D. despite this.

Probably a U.S. book, but not sure.  English language, anyway.

357I: A 1960’s book about a lost lamb

Looking for a fiction YA (perhaps adult) book from the early to mid 60’s that I read in junior high. I was given the book as a present. It’s about a lamb that gets lost in a forest/jungle. I remember that it had a jaguar, panther or puma that befriended the lamb and helped keep it safe. There were no illustrations that I recall; strictly text. It was a fairly long novel, about the length of the Harry Potter novels. The book had a green hardcover with the lamb and trees on it. I want to say that the lamb on the cover was black, but can’t be sure. Does anyone remember this book? I know it sounds vaguely like The Jungle Book, but that really isn’t it.

357D: Adventures with a small bald alien

I think that I started reading this book in 1961 or 1962. A boy stumbles across a small alien individual ... male and bald ... and they have adventures. I remember that I liked it and re-read it several times.

I know, it sounds like the plot to ET.

I believe that a woman was the author of the book.

Thanks and good luck.