298U: Look at me, Mama!

The book I am looking for was published in the early 1970s or possibly late 60s. It was a large format children’s book (probably around 15″ tall by 10-12″ wide). If I remember right, it had a black and white checked border on the cover, similar to The Real Mother Goose. It was an anthology of children’s stories. There was a story about a little girl who picks her neighbors flowers, and her mother explains to her that she shouldn’t do that and they plant a garden for the little girl so she has her own flowers. There is another story about a little boy picking huckleberries and pretending to be a bear or maybe running into a bear in the woods. There is another one about a little girl who reads The Little Red Hen and then she pretends to be the red hen. There is also a poem called “Look at Me, Mama” wherein a bunch of different bugs do things and tell their mothers to look at them – there is a line that goes something like “And when a little water bug sticks his face – his WHOLE FACE – into the water and says ‘look at me, mama!’, she does!”

The graphics in the book are all very much straight out of 1968 – 1975.

For the life of me, I cannot remember what this book was called and I’ve not seen a copy of it for years. I’ve been googling everything I can think to google. It was one of my favorite books when I was a kid and I want to share it with my son, who is now about the age I was when my mom used to read it to me.

I hope you can find it – thank you!

297Y: Incompetent burglars and a streetcar/diner

In the early to mid-60s, I read a hardcover library book that I guess was published either late 50s or early 60s.  It was about a boy, I think his name was Charlie. He lived in a town where an old streetcar had been turned into a restaurant, so you could eat your meal while riding around the town.  And somehow he got mixed up with some incompetent burglars, who couldn’t get the slang term for “gun” right; instead of saying “gat,” they would mangle it somehow. I’m pretty sure Charlie had a large dog.

297X: Secret Code, Tunnel To Underground Station

I read this in the late 1950s or early 60s. Two or three children are sent to stay at a relative’s or ancestor’s house. The plot involves solving a code in which vowels are rearranged or relocated so that “Underground Station” encodes as something like NDRGRND STTN. The message and the plot involve a tunnel, the ends of which are called underground stations.

297S: Star-Shaped Key (Solved)

I am looking for a book targeted at, I think, 10-to-12-year-olds, which I suspect was published between 1965 and 1980.  I think the protagonists were a brother and sister who for some reason were spending some months (summer vacation?) in a remote location, which I believe was mountainous.  The permanent inhabitants were faced with a problem that I do not remember but which I believe involved water.  A recurring plot point was that the young boy was taught to play draughts and was challenged to improve–this name for the game may mean that, though I read the book in a U.S. library, it was a British book.  The problem was solved through the use of a key with a star-shaped end which was inserted into a rock face and turned.

As a final detail, I believe the cover of the book was mostly a picture, drawn in blue and white.

297J: A boy in a fully automated house (Solved)

Hello! I have been trying to find a children’s picture book from probably the 1970s or possibly 1960s. It was about a boy who lived in a house that was fully automated. (No parents are in the story, I don’t think. ) A machine would wake him up in the morning, put him in the shower, dry him off, put his clothes on, make him breakfast, sit him down to eat, and send him off to school. It was not a robot, more like he was moved through a conveyor belt of morning routine activities. They boy seemed to sleep through everything. One night, the machine goes on the fritz, and he is sent through the morning activities in the wrong order. The machine is all messed up – he gets his hair washed with breakfast, clothes put on upside-down, etc. Hope you can help!

296W: Sci-Fi Retelling of Homer’s The Odyssey

I read this in the late 1970s. A 12ish year old boy living in a rural area of the US notices small lakes are disappearing in his area. He deduces that aliens are stealing the water to use for fuel and starts watching for their ship, which he boards when he sees it. The ship takes off while he is aboard and the rest of the book is his adventures in trying to return home. There are other abductees from other planets already on board who become his crew. It is a loose re-telling of Homer’s The Odyssey in that the boy travels from planet to planet aboard the ship and encounters people who are recognizably the Lotus-Eaters, the Cyclops, Circe, etc. Because it’s a children’s book, many of the details are toned down. For example, the Cyclops had poor vision and thus needed to wear a thick lens to see, which the adventurers broke to “blind” him. I remember very well there was a full-page painting of the boy in the Cyclops cave, which might have been the cover of the book.