Category Archives: 1980s

365S: How to Tell Bad News

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.

365O: London Ghost was Killed by Bomb

Looking for a book of short middle grade ghost stories read in 80s (so possibly 70s/80s book). Boy attends school in London and meets a girl who is revealed to be a ghost and had been killed by a bomb. Possibly a timeslip situation where he tries to save her or maybe she saves kids at the school from a fire? Not Kept In Timperley I think it is mentioned she was killed by a doodlebug, but not sure on that. Thanks!

365J: Girl At Grandparents’ Farm For Summer Wants Horse – Both Have Yellow Hair On Cover (Solved!)

I’m trying to track down the title of a children’s/young adult book from the late 1970s/early1980s.  I want to say it was a book sold via one of those “book club” orders that kids used to order books from in elementary school, where the teacher passes out the order forms with a list of book selections.  I remember it was a thin book with a dark gray cover with a pen-and-ink drawing of a young girl standing at a fence with a horse on the other side of it in a field, and both the girl’s hair and the horse’s mane were colored yellow.
The most I can remember of the story is, at the beginning, the girl – I think her name MIGHT be Jane? – is going to spend the summer with her grandparents on their farm, but first she has to get through – I THINK – the last day of school and her class’s “field day.”  I know that whatever the occasion, she sprains her ankle during a race and goes to her parents’ truck to nap until it’s over and they take her to her grandparents.  I also remember that while she’s at her grandparents, there’s a flood for her birthday and her grandmother gives her homemade gifts including a hand-sewn dress using fabric from the kitchen curtains.  And I know that there’s a horse involved – maybe a colt?  Maybe called Lightning?  I’m not sure.  I believe she wants the horse to be hers, and I think her grandfather isn’t all too keen on the idea.
I’m sorry I can’t provide any more info – I hope this is helpful!

365G: Large dinosaur made from egg boxes for a school project in a garage

Can you please help me track down a book from childhood?
I read it sometime between 1985 and 1988 (I think!) whilst at primary school in the UK. Although it could have been an older book, maybe from the mid-70’s to the early 80’s?
Book title: It was a chapter book, but I can’t recall the name at all, sorry!
Front cover description: I remember it pretty clearly, it is a night time scene (a painted illustration) of the open garage door next to a house, with the large egg box dinosaur (t-rex?) visible inside, and the light spilling out from the garage illuminating the dark exterior driveway. It was quite an evocative image from what I remember.
Description of the book: It is about a group of school friends (a gang or club maybe?) who make a large / life size dinosaur out of egg boxes (a t-rex I think?) for a school project in the garage attached to one of the children’s houses. At some point I think a child from a rival gang / club spies on them, and the rivals (possibly?) end up making their own egg box dinosaur as well (that could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure about them being spied on by a rival though).

365F: Inventions for Children (Solved!)

Can you please help me find a book I read at primary school??
I read it in 1985 or 86 (87 at the very latest) when I was in primary school in the UK.
I would have been 7 or 8 years old.
Book title: Possibly ‘Inventions for Children’ / ‘Top Secret Inventions for Children’ (but that’s just a guess, as I really don’t remember!)
Book description: It was a hardback picture book. Each page, which were mostly double page spreads I think, had roughly 2 to 3 fictional inventions on (all aimed at children).
Some of the inventions I can remember: an armoured vehicle for a child, driving down a street (narrowly missing a cat and a lamp post I think??). Some kind of periscope / binoculars that let you hide behind your desk in school without the teacher noticing (possibly in the shape of a boy sitting upright??). Some little booster rockets (disguised as decorative circular medals?) that went on your swimming trunks to make you swim faster.
I remember all / nearly all of the inventions having a cross-section / cutaway section to them, so you could see the internal mechanics.

That’s about all I can remember, it’s been driving me slightly crazy for years (having tracked down nearly all the other books I loved as a child already).
I will give you any more information if I can, just let me know! 

365C: Talented Singer in Love Triangle with Cousins, Leading to Tragic Death

I am looking for a book about three cousins – two girls, one boy – growing up together in a rural setting. I think they are all orphans. 
One girl is a talented singer and both of the other cousins are in love with her. When they are young adults the two young women go to Paris (?) so that the talented singer can work on the stage while the other woman is her companion. The young man goes to visit them. The singer is working in a music hall and is upset that the producer (?) is leering at her or setting her up to be leered at by the audience. 
The second young woman becomes uncontrollably jealous and I think there is a gothic sort of death of one or both women, possibly involving a fire. 
The book was made into a period drama tv movie or series in the late 80s or early 90s. I would say a BBC bonnet drama, but I’m not sure if it was the BBC or not. In the music hall scene, the singer is sitting on a swing on stage.
For years I thought it was My Cousin Rachel but it isn’t! It did have a bit of a Daphne du Maurier flavour with a psychological drama aspect.

364Z: The Parachuting Duck

I’m trying to help a friend track down a kids’ book she remembers from her childhood. She was born in the late 1970s, so the date of publication would be no later than the mid-1980s; likely earlier. She remembers the plot as having to do with farm animals – ducks, in particular – fighting in a war, and recalls an illustration of a duck or duckling using a parachute. Sound familiar to anyone? Very grateful for any leads people can offer.

364W: Not Bath Salt, but Crack

This book is set on some sort of island/plantation. Written in 80s or 90s. Young woman goes there and discovers a mystery which in the end turns out to be an underground crack or meth manufacturing ring operating in the area. At one point she sees her cat playing with a crack rock but she believes it is a bath salt at the time.

364V: Girl in Black Not Interested in Bucky

I am looking for a 90s or 80s book where a teen is writing an advice column for school and no one knows she is the one giving advice. She receives a letter about one of her best friends who dresses almost always in black from a boy (Bucky??) who likes the friend. She is conflicted about the advice to give because she would tell someone else to go for it but she knows her friend would not be interested.