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.

 

296U: Teenage model

I read this book, from my high school library, around 1972. It was contemporary at that time. The main character was a pretty, poised girl who gets a job as a fashion model. This scene might have occurred during the hiring process, which took place at a restaurant. She gets the impression that one of the men is flirting with her, so she asks if he has children. When he says yes, she asks to see pictures of them, which distracts him from the flirting so she feels as though she has rejected him without offending him. The girl has a nerdy younger brother and this scene only stays in my mind because a friend who also read it asked me “what are the runs” when she gets to this part. The main character stays home with her younger brother when he has the runs. Although they typically quarrel like siblings do, she feels bad for him this day and is kind.

296T: Foreign college students

I found this in a public library around 1971 and it was a contemporary book. I think it was set in a small New England or Eastern college town. The main character is a student there and becomes friends with students from the Middle East. In one scene she accompanies her friends as they look for apartments to rent and sees the discrimination they face. She falls in love with one of the students, who gives her a gold ring with a sapphire stone. She wears the ring on a gold chain around her neck. The book ends as he breaks her heart by telling her he plans to marry a girl in a marriage arranged by his and the girl’s family. She doesn’t understand why he would marry someone he doesn’t love and he can’t explain to her why he feels he must.

296S: Buttermilk skies

This book was most likely written in the early to mid 1960s. I found it in my junior high school library around 1970.

It might have been written first person.The main character was girl about 15 and I recall three distinct scenes.In one she stands looking out her back door at dusk or night and sees what she describes as “buttermilk skies.” She might say it came from the Hoagy Carmichael song. In another scene she stares at herself in the mirror before going out and thinks “When last seen she was wearing ….” like newscasters do in describing a missing person. The last I recall is that she crossed herself, even though she was not Catholic.

296N: Cristobel and a tinkling Christmas Tree Fairy

Hi. I am trying to remember and locate a book that I loved as a child – possibly published between 1956 and 1961, in which the centrepiece was a Christmas Tree with a fairy that every now and then tinkled. In any memory the tree stood on the landing at the top of the stairs in the house.  It may have involved a girl called Cristobel /Christobel/Christobal.

Was it the same or another book in which there was a character, a girl, called Aurora. In this book there seemed to be a grove or woods.

Both were well-written and may have been Australian prize-winners from the Children’s Book Council or similar. However they do not seem to me to have been particularly Australian in flavour. Possibly English.

296M: A machine called a “Spindizzy”

1960’s/70s cheap science fiction. It involved a colony that had female creatures who had evolved pink skin, and tails. Several of these creatures were featured in what appeared to be a painting on the cover of the mass market paperback I had. The main male character was sent by his company to check up on/audit the colony in some way. The female creatures were a second class of citizens who had small tattoos who indicated the type of work they did at the colony. The main male character falls in love with one of the female creatures and they attempt to escape the colony. Their attempt to escape involved a machine called a “spindizzy”.

 

295N: The Lonely Doll meets The Curious Clubhouse (Solved)

I read a juvenile novel in the 1980s (from my school library). It may have been from the 1960s or 1970s about a very lonely girl who moved to a new house in the country, and while exploring, she found a secret playhouse that had dolls and teddy bears in it, and I think they came to life. Kind of like The Lonely Doll meets The Curious Clubhouse, but definitely not either of those! It had illustrations, maybe an orange cover, and I feel like Secret may have been in the title, and the author’s last name began with G or H?

295J: He tries to introduce her to the skeleton

Please help me find a childhood book probably written in the late 50s 60s or early 70s. Similar to The Secret Garden, it was a weird tale of a boy named, I believe, Micah who gets lost in the woods and he’s gone for such a long time he has to learn to survive eventually he finds an old moss covered skeleton that he befriends similar to that movie “Castaway ” where Tom Hanks befriends a basketball. Anyways, the boy is all alone. I think he builds some sort a little hut and learned to survive on his own. I think, he’s about 12 or so and eventually someone finds him like a little girl or something and he tries to introduce her to the skeleton and she freaks out and runs away so the boy’s left alone again in the forest with his skeleton friend and I don’t remember the dénouement but it’s kind of sad. Eerie yet beautifully written and haunting tale. It wasn’t very long but I think I was about 10 when I read it and it transfixed me.

295A: Plants feeling pain

Looking for paperback science fiction collection of short stories (probably from about 1958-65) with a story about plants and trees being able to cry out (at a pitch not audible to humans) when they feel pain. A scientist, who devises a way to convert the sounds to those audible to humans, goes mad when he is able to “hear” the effects of mowing a lawn.

294N: Boy with Toy Boat in Central Park

I’m searching for a children’s chapter book that I read and loved when I was about 10 or 11 in the early 1970s. All I remember about it is that it was about a boy who lived in an apartment building near Central Park, and in the afternoons he and an older man (perhaps his grandfather?) would sail his toy boat in Central Park. (I’m not thinking of Stuart Little!) I think the apartment doorman might have been a character as well. My guess is that the book was written sometime in the mid-1960s.