314D: Encyclopedia Brown without Mysteries (Solved)

I have strong memories of reading a chapter book in my grade school library where Encyclopedia Brown (or maybe another boy genius) plays harmless pranks on this hometown with the cooperation of the other kids. I remember it as a special edition of Encyclopedia Brown outside of the series where he solves mysteries.

In one story, the kids take all of their change from purchases as pennies for a few weeks, building up a huge stockpile of pennies — and then on a predetermined day, they go on a spending spree all over town making payment with pennies, leading to overflowing cash registers and befuddled clerks. In another story, the kids

In another story, the boy genius bets a friend that he can fool the whole town into believing that an imaginary person exists, and manages to get a library card and open a bank account in that fictional person’s name. He also describes the appearance of that person enough times that he convinces a whole crowd that they have seen him. He eventually reveals his duplicity and everyone is shocked to learn that they were fooled.

I have done hundreds of keyword searches on Google to track down this book, and have completely failed. I hope you can help me!

313A: Christmas Cat (Solved)

The book was older, around in the 80’s/90’s, maybe older than that. It was a children’s Christmas Story of an old man who lived alone. He was known as a grumpy old man. A strange cat came to visit him everyday before Christmas and everyday he would angrily make the cat leave. On the final day (Christmas maybe?) something happened  (a memory of a loved one or something?) he was overjoyed with the cat for some reason and he let him stay. The story ended with him loving the cat and it being the best gift he had ever received. The title seems like it was “Mr. Mcdoogal’s Best Christmas Ever” or something similar. I feel strongly that the old man went by Mr. Something that starts with an “m”. The central theme was how angry/grumpy the lonely old man was and how his anger grew everyday the cat showed up until something changed and he loved the cat suddenly. Maybe the cat stopped coming for a while and it made him realize how he had grown fond of the cats visits and he was overjoyed when he returned?

312J: Medieval Castle (Solved)

Children’s fantasy adventure with magic model boat and Ramses II I’m looking for a children’s book. Set in Britain, I think in the 1930s, and written then. Basic plot starts with a boy discovering a strange ‘antiques’ shop in a seaside town. In it is a model boat / ship, I think of a Viking longboat, which he acquires. Boat becomes a means to various time travel adventures to the past for boy and his family (brother & sister, or were they cousins?) which an adventure in ancient Egypt that involved rescuing Pharaoh Ramses II from an ambush by the Hittites at the Battle of Kaddish, visiting a medieval castle and later bringing back the daughter of the castle to ‘modern’ England – she is terrified by a motor car she thinks is a dragon. One other plot point. The boy tries to find the shop again once he discovers the boat is magic but cannot. But some time later does find it and knows he has to give up / return the magic boat model. I know I read it as child (1950s) but only came to mind when I came across a little Viking longboat model in a curio shop. Nice model, but not magic! Many thanks for any pointers.

311L: Lost Little Girl (Solved)

My mother is looking for her favorite book from when she was in school. She remembers the cover art was a girl sitting on a wood fence. Her top is a white tank top and she has a long skirt and long brown hair. In the background there is a dirt road leading to a house. My mom says the title is something along the lines of ‘The Long Road Home’ or ‘A Long Way From Home’, and she says it might have been published in the 60’s or 70’s.

311F: Whacky inventions and contraptions (Solved)


I remember looking at this book in the mid 80s, so it was probably published around that time or before. It was a large book and, as I recall, every page was completely filled with full-colour image of many inventions/contraptions, all set in context. It was highly detailed annotated with descriptions. I don’t recall there being any narrative.

For example: one page showed a house with all the rooms in view. Each room had things going on all annotated with detailed little notes. I remember the bathroom had a special invention that allowed a cheeky child to lie in a bath without getting wet. Built into this contraption was a hidden computer game console which allowed them to secretly play games (to me this dates the book in the 80s). To emulate the sounds of him bathing, another contraption stood near by called the “bath-farter” or something.

Another page showed a huge wheel of mischief rolling down a street with arms extending from it. These arms could rattle windows or throw sot down chimneys. Again – the wheel was annotated with many notes.

Authors/illustrators I thought it might be but sadly aren’t are: Heath Robinson, Alan Snow, Donna Lugg, Steven M Johnson and Raymond Briggs.

I’ve been looking for this book for many years and any help would be very gratefully received.


310F: The Rolling Wheels (Solved)

It’s the story of a family who joins a wagon train to travel to California.  In one of the episodes, they meet up with another wagon train before they cross the Sierra Mountains and it turns out that other group was the Donner Party.  They went their separate ways.  (It didn’t mention what happened to the Donners.)  Another vivid part of the book had them crossing the desert, they’re almost collapsing from thirst and tormenting mirages of water appear on the horizon.  Also, I seem to remember them carving on rocks, joining the marks of others who had traveled that way.

309Z: A priest and a prostitute (Solved)

This book is from the 1970's I believe. A priest lets an ill prostitute move in with him so he can care for her. Her name is Ursula Vaclav. One day the priest returns home soaking wet during a thunderstorm, and the prostitute runs and clings to him because she is terrified of thunderstorms. She then goes about making dinner while he goes to change into dry clothes, selecting a work shirt and pants rather than his priest outfit. He can't stop thinking about her as they drink wine with dinner, and he helps her with washing the dishes. As she puts the last dish away in the cupboard she turns toward him and he takes her in his arms and kisses her. He had never kissed a woman before, and then carries her up the stairs for more. I recall the title of the book as something like "the time and the hour", and I think the author was a man.

309J: A picture of mother (Solved)

There is a book from my childhood that I think about often. I would be forever grateful if you could help unite me with it. I don’t have a title for you, but here is what I know:
1) It is a picture book for children.
2) I read the book as a child in the early 80s.
3) Plot: It is a book about a child (might be an animal child, not sure) that wants to make a picture of his mother. He starts out making the picture on his own and feels he needs advice, so he  takes it to different animal characters to see what they think. Each animal looks at the picture and makes a suggestion to change it somehow to reflect a feature of that animal (for example: the elephant suggests that the nose be lengthened). By the end of the book the picture has a variety of different features that look nothing like the mom.
Sadly, I cannot remember much else. I have tried to imagine the title and the best I could guess at is “A Picture of Mother” or something of the sort. But I could be way off.
This books stands out to me now as a message about trusting your own judgement in creating art (or writing) and not allowing yourself to be so easily influenced by the opinions of others. Let your work be your own. I’m not sure if that was the message it had intended to give, but it comes to mind now as I pursue my own writing career. I’d love to have this message bearer as a tangible reminder of this lesson.
Please help me, for you may be my only hope. Thank you for your time and effort.

308X: A blue lion in the tree (Solved)

I’m trying to find a book from my childhood (1980s). It is basically a picture book about a kid in bed looking out a window and seeing different animals in a tree. I remember a snake and white owl on two of the pages. I don’t remember the rest, maybe a bear and a lion. Some of them were different colors too like blue. I believe it went something like “I look out the window to see a blue lion in the tree”.

Thank you for your help.