The book was the size and style of a Dr Seuss book with an orange cover. It contained fun things for kids to do ie: curly paper book mark races ( something about Willy?) , rooting a sweet potato and making a newspaper tree. I think it may have been the same illustrator as the Seuss books. It would probably have been published in the 1960″s.
Category Archives: Early Reader
368M: Mysterious Archipelago
I’ve been looking for a book, but have been unable to find it – I believe it’s because I can’t remember any sufficiently specific keywords, but it’s also possible that I made the whole thing up.
Context : it’s an early chapter book (see: Secrets of Droon, Fairy Realm) I would have read this somewhere between 2003-2010, but probably 2005-2006. This is part of a series of books, and I believe it’s the last one – probably the third or fourth book in the series.
Physical description: I think it’s about 200-300 pages long, and I had it probably in a paperback, which I almost certainly got from the library. I think the cover was light (maybe a white background?) with some bright colors, and I distinctly remember both the cover art and the illustrations having a sparse, low-fi, doodle-y style. One of the things I remember best is that all the books had maps in the front, which I think were in black and white – this particular map shows the mythical islands where most of the story takes place, and I learned the word “archipelago” while reading it. It’s possible that the author was from the U.K., based on the vibes of the place names.
Plot description: It’s a fantasy series (all the characters come from a fairly generic, medieval-y world, definitely none come from our world through a portal or anything). It features a young, plucky heroine, who is now a seasoned adventurer (despite her humble origins in the beginning of the series). She might have some kind of professional title (possibly “Royal Adventurer” or something of that ilk) – I’m pretty sure the first book in the series involves her being sent (or sending herself) to slay a dragon, but instead befriending it. I think at some point, she’s illustrated with curly, light-colored hair, wearing a horned helmet and an oversized chainmail shirt (possibly found in the dragon’s hoard?). In this book, she is caught in a storm (while flying on the dragon? Or perhaps in a boat? Did she sail into it on purpose?) and becomes stranded on an island that seemed to be part of myth (diegetically- she had found a partially destroyed map with some clues on it, while searching for some MacGuffin, which involved some kind of powerful object or noble person who had disappeared under unusual circumstances). On this island, there are people who might be mages of some sort, who heal her injuries, fix up her mode of transportation, and give her soft robes to wear – kind of a Calypso/ spa kind of thing. I think these people are also tall and unusually beautiful in some way. They have some kind of communal ritual involving music/singing, which maybe also controls the weather (possibly maintaining the storm that the heroine was caught in initially). It’s clear that the island is way better than the place that the heroine comes from (delicious food, clear crystalline water, warm weather, birds singing, what-have-you) and the people want to protect it or something. The heroine is then able to explore the archipelago and finds a resolution to her initial quest/MacGuffin. The people on the island offer the heroine a permanent place in their luxurious hidden society (are they trying to hide something suspicious, or rewarding her valor? Maybe they’re just like that) but she feels an obligation to the people who sent her on her initial quest, and so returns home. After this, she feels that her adventuring days have come to an end, and retires in a hilly place with sheep and apples. If she has a dragon, it might live in her barn or otherwise nearby. The place might have a whimsical, Irish-sounding name, like “Winsey”.
367M: Person who eats along with story they read
I think this might have been a short story published in Cricket Magazine in the 1980s – early 90s, perhaps with Quentin Blake illustrations? It was a short story that told about a reader that had a voracious appetite for books AND for any food that was mentioned in the books they read. If the character in a book was drinking tea, the reader had to have tea, and so on.
The memory of this story has plagued me for years, I’d love very much to read it again.
367C: When the Sweets Come Alive
I remember this book from childhood, where on one page there is this bakery where it is either run by a witch or vampire and the treats are alive. Like the devil dog cakes are actual devil dogs with a tail and wings. The lady fingers are actual fingers. It was cute and cartoony and these treats were all in a glass case like a real bakery. It was definitely an elementary book like a beginner book. I must have been reading it in the 1990’s. I can’t recall the overall theme of the book but vividly remember this particular page. I think the overall theme must be fantastical or magical, maybe Halloween but I can’t remember a title or author. Please help me.
366D: Anthropomorphic pastels at a cafe
I am looking for a children’s book that I remember, featuring anthropomorphic oil pastels or chalks as characters, set in a cafe or restaurant where they spent time. It was somewhere between a “picture book” and a “chapter book” in terms of length and balance of illustrations vs. text — some pictures but mostly text, I think. In fact, I wouldn’t swear that it was intended for children, but it was appropriate and comprehensible to an elementary school student. The tone was somewhat serious and melancholic, with bohemian themes. The cafe may have closed or changed hands, or a character may have stopped coming or left town. It would have been published before 2002.
364O: Mr. & Mrs. Bumper books?
In the early/mid 80s I read a series of books I referred to as the Mr. Bumper books. No clue what the plot was, just that the main characters were an adorable plump elderly couple with round glasses who gardened. I probably have the name of the character wrong but it was something like Bumper or Bumpus. Pretty sure they were illustrated hardcover books with large chunks of text. Early readers. Any ideas?
358M: Children’s book on a boy and too many cats
357C: 70s Purple Dragon (Solved!)
I was in elementary school in the 70s and I remember reading what I think was an early chapter book series with a boy and his purple dragon/dinosaur/monster. The illustrations in my memory were very minimalist and had a Quentin Blake feel to them but I’ve researched Quentin Blake’s work and don’t see it listed. The dragon/dinosaur/monster was very tall, definitely purple, and walked on two legs. I have a vivid memory of the boy riding on its shoulders. I don’t remember anything about the plot except they seemed somewhat surreal (maybe?) so I don’t know if the creature was real or imaginary. It’s possible the series was school literature only (not mass market published).
354A: Dog who can drive and lives in a mansion
When I was young (likely about 5-9 in 1987-1991) my mom would often read me a hardcover kids book about a dog who wanted to live like a human. He could drive a car and he lived in a mansion.
The cover was a turquoise-shade and on the cover was the dog and the mansion he lived in. It was the size and shape of a Doctor Seuss book and about a similar number of pages.
Likely relevant: we lived in Nova Scotia, Canada and the book was in English.
352X: Puppy Cat
For years, I’ve searched for this story. It is a children’s short story that came out of an old school reader that I had in first grade. I was in first grade in 1977 in Spruce Pine, NC, USA. I’m sure the readers were pretty old by then. The title of the story was Puppy Cat, I think. It was a dog who thought he was a cat. There are several newer stories that are similar, but I’ve been looking for this particular version. I’ve had no luck over the years!