304Z: Frosting was everywhere

I’m trying to find a book that I read in the 90’s. Not sure when it was published. It was a large hard cover book with pictures and several short stories. One of the stories was about a poor brother and sister who had to walk past a bakery every day. The owner was rude to them. One day as they walked by, they saw the frosting machine had tangled the owner, and frosting was everywhere. They helped her and she was nice and gave them baked goods. Another story was about a girl with 2 sisters who were trying to woo a prince. She baked him a pie, I think it was strawberry. And it won his heart. I hope this is enough info. Thanks!

304X: Volunteers for an experiment

This was the best story I ever read.  I was in maybe the fifth grade, in 1959(?) and it was in a collection of short stories that was in our classroom for when you had finished your work early.  It was not a brand-new book then, either.

But the story!  These two unemployed guys are looking through the want ads, and they find a doctor who wants volunteers for an experiment.  He has a diving board that faces a black window.  The volunteer is supposed to jump from the diving board into that unknown space.  Well, one of the guys does it, but he never comes back.  So his friend returns to the doctor’s office and jumps through it himself.  He describes what it was like:  dim and twilit, with backwards writing on can labels, a sort of wasteland with boulders, and here and there a glowing luminescent ultra-violet hint, not too bright, but noticeable.  Maybe two or three of these lights in the whole landscape.  He figures out that his friend fell in the rocks and was killed, because of the improper alignment of this other world with our own.  I mean, you can’t just jump into it and assume you will be all right.  So he thinks some more, and realizes that the glowing spots are places in our own world.  One of them is the University, and the other appears to be the doctor’s laboratory.  So with great effort he leaps in some way back into the doctor’s laboratory, and then throw the doctor himself through the window into the blackness.

So, does this sound at all familiar?  I’ve never been able to find it again.  I think of it as The Diving Board and the Black Window, but that’s probably not the name of it.


If you can find it, I would be so happy!

303G: 80s Children’s Chapter Story Anthology Big Book (Solved)

I think from the 80s, it was an anthology with chapters of different kids stories in it. I think there was a Judy Blume chapter (Fudge), a story about a boy picking between a blue or red toothbrush, a story about a kid not wanting to touch the gunk in the bottom of the sink that is left after the dishes, maybe the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle story about the kids not hearing their parents so they put powder in their ears, maybe a Wayside story chapter. I think it was a big white book (hardcover with a white jacket).

303C: Beauty and the Beast fiction anthology

I’m hunting down a fiction anthology that involved “Beauty and the Beast” riffs. One of the riffs involved a perfect couple (I think New Yorkers) with a perfect life–and the wife was slowly beginning to think that her beautiful, flawless, successful, doting husband had a terrible double life as a beast in a city reeling from a series of bloody, violent attacks. I’m fairly sure it was published in softcover in the late 1980s to mid 1990s. One detail that really stands out to me is that when the husband came home late one night, the wife noticed a drop of blood on his cheek and realized that he was the beast–which left her in a whole bunch of serious dilemmas, most of which were left as cliffhangers. This was only one of many stories in the book, but it really left an impression. If I recall correctly, most of the writers in the anthology were women. I was way into Sheri S. Tepper and other female authors at the time, if that helps, but I don’t think it was her story collection “Beauty.” I hope you can find it! Thanks 🙂

303B: The dead man’s childhood mementos

I am 66 years old, but when I was in elementary school in Mountain View, CA, I read a short story in some reading textbook (probably from the 1950s) that I have thought about ever since. It was a “Western”. I do not remember the story’s title, but there was an illustration showing a rough-looking man in black who was an outlaw and who was being hunted by a sheriff (I think for murder).

The outlaw made it to a place where he had buried what the reader was led to believe was a treasure box. When he was killed, and the authorities opened the box, it was filled with the dead man’s little childhood mementos.

There was an illustration of the open box as well.

It had a profound effect on me, and I would love to be able to read it again.


302M: Gray binding and Wild Swans

I am trying to identify and purchase a copy of a children’s lit anthology I had as a child. The copy I had was hardcover, gray binding with a bright green repeating motif on the cover. Among the stories included was HC Andersen’s “The Wild Swans.” There was another story about a princess sent to live with a family that had five girls whose last names ended in “-belle,” and a youngest sister Echo.

302J: Alien had Answers, but Earthlings treated him like an animal…until he became one

The short story was in an 8th grade English reader (adopted by Uintah school district in the 1980s).  It was light blue and white.

The short story came from the section in the reader that was something like strangers in a strange land.

It was an excerpt from a science fiction writer (famous, I believe) so the short story might have come from a novel.  I have spent hours sifting through science fiction novels trying to come up with this story.  I found The Thing…but, I believe I’m going to have to find the reader itself.  Hence, I’m asking you.

The story line is:  An alien crash lands on earth.  Earthlings find him.  He is walking on two feet, but he looks different than them.  They struggle accepting him because of his looks.  *there is a painting picture in the book itself of an alien trying to talk with people and the people look mob-like angry*

The alien explains to them that his people have advanced technology and that he would share it with them.  At one point, he even tried to tell them that he had the answers to the universe and God.  The Earthlings laugh at him, shun him, and tell him he is an animal.

Eventually, the Earthlings put him in a cage.  They continually call him an animal.  He tries talking to them until he finally gives up and becomes quiet.  He sees the other animals in cages and watches the interaction between animals and humans.  Somewhere I remember them using the word creature.

In the end, the cage door is left open and the alien (like an animal) runs away into the forest …”running on all fours.”  I’m pretty sure I’m quoting this correctly as I remember it being a powerful key statement.

I remember this science fiction story being in a section with pioneer and moving west stories.  It seemed oddly placed until you read and realized it was placed there to take a next step in cognitive thinking and applying it to the future.

Thank you for helping me with this.  I want to use it to teach through the story the idea of intolerance vs. tolerance and what can happen if we don’t treat someone with respect.  It definitely a story that made one think.