Category Archives: Solved

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!

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! 

364J: Russian (?) siblings go live on a farm when orphaned (Solved!)

This is actually two books that I remember reading many times in the 70’s. These were two novels. The plot was that two siblings were orphaned and went to live on a farm. Maybe they were Russian or Ukrainian? I remember the description of the girl being given a special costume to wear that had many many skirts. I also remember a description of the Wax, Dyed Eggs at Easter. I think they went to the special fair and got a very decorated cookie. The Farm was stocked with lots of food, including sausages hung in the pantry. The second novel was a little darker, because I believe there was a war.
Thank you for any help you can give with these two books.

364D: Children’s or YA Science Fiction—Girl goes to Mars, is orphaned during trip (Solved!)

Read this hardcover from the library in the late 70s. Teenage girl with dead mother, lives with her aunt or grandmother but spends summers with her dad. When girl is near the end of high school her dad announces he has a wonderful opportunity–he has to make a trip to Mars, and he can bring along one person, which will be her. She doesn’t want to go because she had her next few years all planned out and it will be a year or more before they get back. She sulks and yells, but is told she IS going. On board, her poor attitude does not win her any friends or allies among the people she meets. There is a small group of other children and young people on the ship, but she alienates them with her constant complaining and her attitude that people who live on Mars are backward and ignorant. One young man who is returning home to Mars takes on trying to improve her attitude as a personal challenge. When her father dies during the trip, leaving her with no return ticket, the young man’s family unofficially adopts her and helps her adapt to Mars. She enrolls in college there, and generally drops her snobbish, “Everything Earth is superior” viewpoint. I think at the end of the book she is faced with the one-time chance to return to Earth, or to stay with the people she has come to think of as her new family. There was probably a romance between the girl and the boy who “adopts” her. 

I think it was shelved near the Beverly Cleary books, so author’s last name probably began with either C or  a letter close to it.

363Y: Mystery about disappeared businessman found in a circus (Solved!)

This is a mystery I read in the past several years, set in London, about a tall man who worked in the City, left for work, seen by a tradesman in the block by his house, never reached the end of the block. Years later, the ?main character, a younger man or maybe a detective, found him in a circus in Europe. The younger man may have been a relative. It turned out the tall man was very athletic and had bounded over a high brick wall around an estate in his block to live with a woman who collected snakes. They left for France and owned the circus, I think. I thought it might have been a Sayers or Allingham mystery, but the descriptions of each of their books doesn’t sound like it could have been.

363U: China Doll Buried in Earth Years Ago (Solved!)

I am not sure where to start. First of all, I think it was one of those books where a little girl is sent to a relative for the summer. This book would be from the 1980’s at the earliest. Not sure on that. But during the time she is wherever she is – and it IS in the country – she finds out about a doll that’s been lost for a long time. It’s a china doll and I am pretty sure there’s a silver or pewter tea set. Again, not positive, but I think the doll was buried to protect her from something real or imaginary. Somewhere in the story there was a bunny salad bowl with a hole in one of the bunny legs. A map or directions of some kind were wadded up in that hole. I am nearly sure it was a Scholastic book.

I think it was something about the British coming and the little girl was worried about her doll. Then years later this little girl comes along and hears the story and tries to find the doll. It could be as much difference as 80+ years later. The mystery was solved a great many years after the doll was buried. Her cloth body was gone, it was just her china parts. And the bowl with the bunnies decorating it was important to the mystery. It might have been a bunny platter or big plate instead of bowl, but there was a hole in a rabbit’s leg and the map was wadded up in it.

There is no magic or otherworldly parts to this book. I THINK the little girl learns about the doll through either an old letter or a diary she reads. I THINK the doll doesn’t get found for a long time because the girl that buried her years ago moved.  I really wish I could remember more. Its a chapter book and was probably for tweens, so we are looking for a paperback. Although it could have come in a hardback. But its not a picture book.

363N: Girl Witch and the Ferris Wheel (Solved!)

The book I am looking for must have been published before 1994 at the very latest, and I would think after 1975 although it could be earlier. It’s a children’s chapter book. The main character is a girl child with magic who is learning to be a witch: she lives in a cave with I think her grandmother/s and/or aunts who are old witches, and who are pretty grumpy and uncomfortable. She sneaks out one night and discovers a fairground nearby, and rides on the ferris wheel. (She might make a human friend, which isn’t allowed, and there might be a cat, but I’m not sure about those.) She decides to show her older female relatives that humans can have nice things, and I think she steals some of the ferris wheel cars and puts cushions and warming spells in them so her older female relatives will have nice warm places to sit? I think the cover was illustrated, but not super cartoon-y. I have googled and googled and found nothing.

363M: Quaker seamstress in Philadelphia during American revolutionary war (Solved!)

Cheryl Hill, chill4hhorse@comcast.net[/private[

I am looking for a book I read as a teen and young adult in the late 1960s and early 1970s.  I recall finding it at my local library and I believe the author’s last name began with the letter A.  The story was historical fiction and the main character was a seamstress in Philadelphia during the revolutionary war.  She was a member of the Quaker religion and her fiancé fought with George Washington.  She worked in the home of Peggy Shippen’s family and was able to overhear some of the plans made by Benedict Arnold and his wife.

362X: Children’s David Lee Roth Short Story (Solved!)

I’m looking for a children’s book of short stories I received as a gift in the 80s. I think the front cover had a photo of an eagle with people standing on it. It may have been a blue cover.


I do remember one of the short stories was about two sisters in a fight. The younger sister accidentally drew a pen mark on her older sister’s David Lee Roth poster and when she tried to erase it she rubbed a hole through.

362U: 1980s British teens in love novel (Solved!)

1980s British novel about working-class teens in love
I think the title was the names of the two characters, like “Frankie & Tina” (but not that.) (But “Tina” might be right.)

The novel was for adults, but it was about teenagers, and I read it as an American child in the early to mid 1980s. It was about two working-class teens coming of age who fall in love. It may have been an interracial romance, or possibly the girl on the cover just had darker skin in the drawing. I think they got married. They may have also had a baby. I think there was a lot of dialect or slang. It was a bit gritty and had vivid detail about their jobs and things like that, but it was pretty cheerful, not like a “kitchen sink” drama. It could have been an earlier book reprinted in the ’80s and I’m starting to think it could have been a British reprint of an Australian book. Basically starting to overthink everything. It is not the Kevin & Sadie series or Oscar & Lucinda.
The cover was a crayon-style drawing of the two characters. The way I remember it, it had a dark blue background on the cover and an orange spine. This makes me think Penguin (but not one the series that all have the same covers.) The cover art had very similar style to these covers: