Category Archives: 1980s

367Z: The Rainy Day

I’m looking for a book that probably came out in the late 70s/early 80s. It was illustrated with primarily line art, orange and yellow colors. A little girl lived with her parents in an apartment (I think?) and had a rainy day. She went outside to play in the rain, came inside for a bath and soup. It is such a simple book but it always comforted me because the family stayed home and made their own fun together. Being a child of divorce, this was foreign to me. I’d dearly love to find it again.

367T: Fantasy creatures sing boy to sleep, get stolen, then rescued

I am looking for a children’s picture book from the late 1970s, early 1980s. The book was on natural/beige paper with brown line drawings. The story was a fantasy where a young boy lives in a small cottage. Every night, flying creatures (birds? harpy-like things?) fly over his home and sing him to sleep. Possibly as the sun sets. They sing the same song every night. The lyrics were along the lines of “Remember my friend of the song of your heart. Remember my friend, for the rest of your life. Love conquers all, for it never grows dim. Love conquers all, for all time”. The book came with a cassette tape and my siblings and I could probably hum the song to this day. One night, the bird things don’t come and sing. The boy gets worried. He hears knocking at his door or window. It is a talking animal or non-human of some sort. He hears that the local monster thing that lives in a cave or mountain through the woods has stolen the bird things and plans to eat them and/or make them sing only for him. The boy says, “We must get them back. We must!”. The boy climbs on the back of a horse or four-legged animal and they race through the woods to the cave/mountain. The boy sneaks into the cave where the bird things are in cages. He releases them somehow and they escape. Not sure what happens to the monster thing. The book ends as the bird things once again fly over his house and sing him to sleep. I want to say that the monster thing is a Gorgon but I’ve maybe conflated Greek myths later on with this early fantasy children’s book. Or, it is a really well known adaptation and this will be an easy solve.

367M: Person who eats along with story they read

I think this might have been a short story published in Cricket Magazine in the 1980s – early 90s, perhaps with Quentin Blake illustrations? It was a short story that told about a reader that had a voracious appetite for books AND for any food that was mentioned in the books they read. If the character in a book was drinking tea, the reader had to have tea, and so on.
The memory of this story has plagued me for years, I’d love very much to read it again.

367D: 1970s Children’s Environmental/Dystopian

I’m looking for a book I read in the seventies (or maybe 1980), it was a children’s book about kids that lived in a high rise and never went on the streets because of too much pollution/a ruined world. They may have gone outdoors only once a year. They may have worn gas masks or breathing masks. I remember dark illustrations and it being a cautionary tale. I believe that all the remaining world’s population lived in one high rise building. I think there may have been one remaining plant or flower and that going to look at it was extraordinary/special. Definitely a picture book.

366O: Woman in a Purple Cloak

I am trying to find a book I had as a child in the 80s. I can neither remember the title nor the plot nor any characters. All I can remember is an image: a girl/woman in a purple cloak on the right hand side of the book. The purple cloak may have been a dress. It was close to fuschia. In the illustration it was snowing. The colors used were rich & deep. the cloak curved out to the right & the figure was walking to the left. I have found a few images that are very similar, which I am including below. I am fairly certain the artist was either Arthur Rackham or Warwick Goble. I hesitated over the first image, thinking it might have actually been what I remembered, & perhaps it is but the intensity of color faded over time?

366G: Uncle Flees Disaster, Leaves Orphaned Children

I’m looking for the title of a dystopian middle grade or YA book I read in the late 1970s or early 1980s. An orphaned girl (tween or early teens) and her younger brother live with their aunt and uncle in an apartment building in a big city. (Maybe in the UK? I have a vague feeling that some things didn’t seem familiar to this midwestern suburban kid.) The uncle is mean and doesn’t like having them there. There’s a disaster of some sort and the uncle flees with his family, leaving the niece and nephew to fend for themselves. There’s no power or water and when they run low on food they leave the apartment. The girl fills a canteen or bottle with water from the toilet tank, saying she was grateful that at least her uncle wouldn’t let her aunt use the cleaning pucks that turn the toilet water blue. Later there’s some sort of charismatic leader and evil government. I don’t even remember if it was a particularly good book. It just occurs to me sometimes and I’d like to remember the rest of the story.

366E: Girl Trapped in Cistern

Sometime in the period 1984-1988, when I was a child, my summer reading subscription (Weekly Reader?) sent me a novel about a girl who lives alone with her mother in a country house. One hot summer day she escapes her chores in the cellar where there is an old-fashioned cistern (unlidded concrete cylinder built into the floor). She climbs it to lie on the rim, but then falls in and remains trapped for hours because her yelling is unheard by her mother vacuuming two floors above. That’s all I remember!

365V: Teen girl diabetes horse (Solved!)

This is a book I read in the 70s or maybe early 80s. I believe it was set in England or somewhere not in the US. It was about a young girl who had been diagnosed with diabetes. Her parents bought her a horse. She has a mean sister and I remember at Easter she got all this sugar free stuff and her sister got a big chocolate egg and she lunged for it and her sister ended up busting her head open. That’s all I remember. I hope you can help!

365S: How to Tell Bad News (Solved!)

I am trying to find a story from 45 to 50 years ago. My mother was an English teacher and had a stash of older literature including a story that follows this story line. I believe it was English literature.
A man returns to the train station nearest his home after a long trip. His footman picks him up in a buggy and during the trip home they talk.
So Jeaves, how are things at home? Well sir, I hate to tell you but your fathers dog died. What? He wasn’t an old dog. Pray tell how did he die? Well sir, he overate himself to death. How could that be. What did he get a hold of that he was able to overeat? Well sir, he overate horse meat. And where would he get so much so much horse meat. All of your fathers horses died. Oh my, what killed my father’s horses? They died carrying water to put out the fire.
And on and on it goes. The house burned down from all the candles that were lit for the funeral of his mother. 
I want to say the title is How To Tell Bad News.
I really appreciate your help on this.