295N: The Lonely Doll meets The Curious Clubhouse

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?

293Y: Mother and child mouse encounter a road at night

Children’s book set entirely in a rural setting at night. A mother mouse guides her child mouse through grass and vegetation — perhaps a meadow — and I think I remember berries in the illustration. I think she teaches/explains her surroundings to the child mouse as they go. At some point, they encounter a road, and the child mouse feels its cold, hard, unfamiliar texture. I think the mother mouse tells him that the road is dangerous. I was reading this book in the late 80s or early 90s.

293L: Teenager Horror Anthology Containing Invisible, Evil, Witch-Succubus

Young Adult Horror Anthology

Paperback about 5 in. x 7 in. x .25 to .50 in. thick

Read between 1989-1993

The book included multiple legends, such as a traditional re-telling of the Warsaw Golem and the Wendigo.  I would guess it was written in the 80’s because it already had creases and tape on the spine when I read the book.  The cover contained a boy sitting in a chair, whose hair was standing up on end, with a monster behind him; reading a book with the exact same cover, which had the exact cover, etc.  I remember it being similar to Bruce Coville and Beverly Cleary and R.L. Stine books, though I think this book was written prior to Stine.  It is not any of the “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” series.

The main story I remember is set in a western town, possibly a cowboy/farmer town.  It centers around a young boy who is mistreated by his older brother.  They both work as farmhands and the older brother fall asleep under a tree.  The young boy sees this baboon-looking creature with long hair sneak up behind the brother and attack the brother.

This baboon creature, who I remember as a witch with long hair and red skin for some reason, rides on the brother’s back and sucks his life force out. When the younger brother tries to help, the witch sinks her claws deeper into the brother’s back.  No one notices this creature but the young boy I think.

Eventually, the brother gives up and commits suicide by throwing himself over a cliff.  The boy looks down as the witch lets go of the brother.  She looks up at the younger brother and starts to climb up the cliff’s side as she tells him to wait because she is coming for him.

Any ideas?

292W: The Pope and a Jewish doctor

I do not remember the title, it is a novel about 30-40 years old by a popular writer.

The story is that a Jewish doctor is called to treat the Pope who has a heart problem and in the first 20 pages or so follows a full and complete description about the treatment and how the Pope will feel and react following the procedure.

292O: Favorite childhood illustrated/cartoon book

As a child, back in 1981, there was a book at the library that I used to enjoy looking at and even attempted to draw from. [elephant, hippo and bear illustration]

Because it was an expensive and rare book it was stored in the reference section of the library and I wasn’t allowed to check it out. I could only view it at the library. I went back to that library as an adult and found out they no longer have that book, and I nor the library could remember the title or artist of the book.

It was an oversized large hardback book. I only remember the outside of the book being tan in color. Some illustrations were black and white and others were in color; I believe all were of animals.

Any idea of what book this was?

292I: A Royal Family ‘roman a clef

Back in the l980s or early 1990s, I read a recently-published ‘roman a clef’ about the British Royal Family.  Cannot remember the title or the author.  The main character was “Princess Louise’ (aka “Louie”) who was clearly modeled on the real-life Princess Anne.  She was widowed, lived in Kensington Palace, and had a pet parrot.  In the novel, she had been born into the Russian (Romanov) Imperial Family but had married the heir to the British throne.  Part of the plot may have involved a potential kidnapping.  I am not sure, but there may have been a sequel (or two).

291V: Fox Trapped in a Smokehouse

This is a book of interconnected short stories. It was an oversized hardcover book with full-page text and color illustrations, meant for an older reader. The stories all concern a community of animals who live in the woods adjacent to a farm. I’m fairly sure the title of the collection has the name of the animals’ home in it — maybe the lake they all live around, or the name of the woods, or the name of the farm? The book was published in the 80s or 90s. Each short story ends with a well-known moral or saying. I think there is a story about a badger or raccoon who is sick of it all at home and doesn’t want to get out of bed. There might be a story about an animal collecting (quail?) eggs that then get destroyed or eaten — the moral is don’t count your chickens before they hatch (or don’t put all your eggs in one basket?). The story I remember most is about a fox (perhaps the main character in the book) who gets trapped in the farmer’s smokehouse. He sneaks in to steal some of the farmer’s ham (I think?) and gets his leg stuck in a claw trap or gets locked in, and he has to beg another of the animals to help him escape before the farmer finds out and shoots him with his shotgun. In one of the later stories, I think the fox runs away from the animal community. I loved this book as a kid but can’t seem to work my Google magic to identify it! Thanks in advance to all you sleuths out there!