349B: Man disappears from London, found years later in French circus (Solved!)

I think this was an English mystery or part of one, maybe from the Golden Age of mysteries (Christie, Allingham, Sayers?) where a City man leaves his home to go to work, is seen by a tradesman at one end of a block, but never reaches the other end and is never seen again. Much publicity about his disappearance. Years later, someone — perhaps a young relative — finds him as part owner of a small circus in France, with his partner the neighbor woman with exotic snakes whose high brick wall in the middle of the block he vaulted over to live with her.

348Z: The Griffins Who Loved Tragedies and Other Short Stories (Solved!)

Collection of magical and wacky short stories for children, I believe it was an anthology of different authors, but I’m not sure. The edition I read in the 2000s had a cover illustrated with dancing pumpkins entwined with various characters from the short stories. It was old, maybe 70s or 80s? One story was of the pumpkins, someone tended them too well and they danced around the town causing havoc, another involved too much bubblegum. The only story I remember in detail was one of an author who wrote comedies. Everyone loved them, but he dreamed of writing tragedies. Whenever he tried submitting tragedies to his publisher, he was turned down. Being the father of two boys, he can’t afford to stop writing his jokes. These two boys also wanted a swimming pool. One night the author threw his tragedy out the window, and the pages floated to the mountains. The next few nights he heard crying coming from the mountain – and finally he went to investigate. There he found a griffin, crying over a few pages of his manuscript. Griffins, apparently, love tragedies. So the author offers to write him more, and give dramatic readings, and the griffin brings his friends, and their tears flow down the mountain, and become a natural swimming pool for the author’s boys, who become the best swimmers at their school.

348Y: The Magician’s Windows and Other Short Stories (Solved!)

Seeking a collection of magical, short stories for children illustrated with grayscale sketches. I believe it was one author. The edition I read in the earlier 2000s was older, maybe 60s or 70s, and had black and white sketches for each story. The stories I remember include one of an acrobat who had never touched the ground since the day they were born, and it ends sadly when their lover is hurt and they fall from the sky?; a magician who had different colored window panes in each room of his house, and to the children who visited each window looked out to a different world, a yellow desert, a green jungle, a blue Atlantis; and two sisters whose parents each separately made deals with the sun and the moon so the babies would live – when the girls were grown they were light and dark, life and death. The light girl was always singing and keeping the parents happy, but the dark girl never sang until the parents were tired of the light girl’s songs – then the dark girl sang her only song, a song of eternal rest. Mostly what I remember from the book was how mystical and melancholic it felt.

348T: Children’s book about alchemy, 1970s or 1980s (Solved!)

I had a book when I was a kid that I really liked a lot. I was born in 1976 so it would have been published before the mid-80s, probably. It was about an alchemist, possibly old and doddering, who was trying to turn lead into gold. If I remember correctly it had sort of sepia-toned line drawings, and there were quite detailed illustrations and instructions on how various alchemical apparatus worked. I remember illustrations of him working with tubes and liquids and flames and such. He also needed a unicorn horn so he had to get a young maiden to help him catch one. Can’t remember the title at all.

347U: Girl Sent to Live with Her Father Who Is a Pilot (Solved!)

I have been trying for years to remember the title of a book I read in the late 1960s or early 1970s when I was somewhere between third and fifth grade, I think.
Details I can remember: A young girl is sent to live with her father despite her not knowing him well. Over time, though, they develop a warm relationship. The father is a pilot and I believe the story takes place on a military base where the father lives. I may be mistaken but the base could be in Hawaii. I also remember that a Japanese man works at the house, maybe as a butler.
If you could possibly tell me what the title of this book is, I would be beyond grateful.
Thank you so much!

347O: Children’s Picture Book – Bears Confused By Clothes (Solved!)

I loved this book as a child in the early 1960s. The story was about a family of bears who moved from their home in the forest to a big city. Because they now lived in the city, they all started wearing clothes, like the city people.  But after a few days of wearing clothes, the bears could no longer recognize each other among all the hundreds of city people, who were also wearing clothes. The bears became separated from each other. They were sad and lonely, because each of them was alone.
One day, a huge storm swept through the city streets and blew everyone’s clothes off. The bears happened to be on the same city block. With their clothes blown off, the bears immediately recognized each other and joyfully reunited. They raced away from the city and returned to their cozy home in the forest, so glad to be together again.

347K: Chapter book with some illustrations about a possessed plush Easter rabbit, with a human agoraphobic girl as the main character, possibly part of a holiday themed horror series? (Solved!)

The book is a chapter book, probably about elementary school reading level? Along the lines of goosebumps. I think I remember black and white illustrations scattered throughout the book, but not more than four or five I think. I remember some of the details pretty vividly because it was a very weird book, but I can’t remember the name and google searches for it just sort of turn into word salad.
 The main character is a girl who expresses a fear of almost everything (I remember that alien abduction is specifically mentioned as a reason she doesn’t want to go outside?). Her name was Katie or Emma or some other names that can have a lot of different nicknames. Her family goes to a mall where a mysterious/creepy Easter Bunny mascot gives her younger brother a plush Easter bunny, which he loves and she despises. The girl begins to hear “thumping” in the hallway and finds the plush in odd places, leading her to believe that the plush is alive and malevolent. Unrelated to the rabbit, there is a scene where she participates in a class play about the myth of Hades and Persephone and hallucinates that she sees the myth occurring out the window of the classroom.
The back half of the book is fuzzier for me. On Easter night (or the night before?), her brother goes missing (presumably kidnapped by the plush) and she has to go down a rabbit hole in her backyard(?) to follow the plush rabbit and save her brother. Somewhere along the way she finds a table setting with name cards that are all variations of her name, but none of them are the nickname she prefers and I think it’s probably symbolic of something? At some point in this journey she ends up on the moon. I think she has to make a declaration about how she will be brave and face her fears in order for the bunny/the universe (???) to give her brother back to her? I think the lesson learned was that you shouldn’t be scared of the unknown.
The blurb on the back of the book seemed to give me the impression that it was part of a holiday themed children’s horror series, but I don’t recall ever seeing anything that looked like it was from the same series

347I: A book named Toby? (Solved!)

I remember the cover was white with a monochromatic pencil-style drawing of a rundown old house with a bit of grass/ground in the foreground.
A lonely, rejected boy named Toby is forced into this spooky house by bullies, I believe near Halloween. The boy is 12? Possibly younger? I’m sure his name is Toby, and that is likely the name of the book, but I can’t find it by that title anywhere.
He has to spend the night in this old house because the bullies block/locked the doors. I believe he was locked in the attic? Or stayed there overnight. He learned that his fears are in his head and he needn’t fear his imagination.
I read it before 1980, so it would be at least that old, but not much older.
It isn’t long, or large. It might even be a short story, but I’ve not been able to find one by that title that fits the story either.
The cover reminded me of Where the Sidewalk Ends in style of drawing.

347F: Beautifully Illustrated Book Somewhat Scary/Morbid (Solved!)

I am looking for a book that I read as a child. I grew up in the 80s so it was published before then. It was a somewhat scary and morbid story about a little girl in the woods. I believe something happened with her parents and she was alone. What I most remember is the illustrations were absolutely beautiful. I think the girl’s name was something with an M – Milly, Mildred, Millicent, etc.
The book was so creepy it was almost not for kids.

346S: The no where land – Abstract Menace Engulfs World (Solved!)

The book opens with a team of emergency responders in a bar. Suddenly an alarm goes off, which is a shock – this normally doesn’t happen. Their work is to contain something abstract that has become very physical (e.g. “nothingness”) that threatens to engulf the land/world and is the result of some sort of corporate greed in the past. There are large pipes that contain the menace. This assignment doesn’t go as planned and the protagonist (a man) embarks on a harrowing journey.  Later in the journey some outside group/nation that seemed vaguely Middle Eastern comes to help. A new order is established with things very different as a result of the abstract threat.
The title is something like “the no where land” or “the nothing world”. I would guess that the book was written in the last 15 years by a man. It is sci-fi / fantasy but the laws of reality within the book are constantly changing and it’s a real mind bender.