348Q: A little girl and a racoon (?)

This is a paperback book that I believe was bought new around 1980 – 1981. (I think my mom bought it, and we lived in Western Massachusetts at the time, although she gave it to me to read on a trip to New York City to visit my grandparents.) It was a slim book with pictures for school-age kids, but I think it was closer to the size of a typical chapter book rather than a picture book.
The story is about a little girl who at some point ends up fighting or having some kind of conflict with an animal outside, who I think was a racoon (although for some reason a fox also comes to mind, maybe instead of or in addition to the racoon? There also may have been no fox). The conflict in the story was quite emotional – I remember the little girl feeling both mad and maybe sad, and I’m pretty sure she also ultimately cared about the racoon/animal. The racoon/animal may have also been injured or in trouble somehow. I liked the story, but it wasn’t the most bright or cheerful tale.
I think the little girl had straight or wavy black hair worn up in a ponytail. I also feel like she wore a skirt ending above her bare knees. The pictures were delicate, and – at least in some cases – had dark features or strong shadows. The color I remember most apart from the dark aspects is orange…which kind of overlaps with my memory of a fox and its reddish-orange fur.

348K: Fat girl runs away from home by taking canoe to an island and living in the forest

I think I read this in the 4th grade (I was born in 1979). This girl was really unhappy at home, so she took a boat and rowed away to an island. On the island she learned to fend for herself. She made a cozy home either in a kind of dug out, or a hollowed out tree. She survives the winter, and eventually returns home feeling much better about herself because she has lost weight and is independent.

348J: A Girl & Her Cat


I have been trying to find a book that I adored in my elementary school days (2nd/3rd grade) to display in my 4th-grade classroom. I remember the cover was in a sepia brownish tone with an illustration of a water well and a cat. I recall the book being about a little girl, a cat, and something to do with a water well. Also, I have a memory of the little girl luring ants onto a string with honey. I think she may have lived with her aunt. I have done several searches for a few years without luck, and my friend told me about your bookstore, so I thought I would give it a shot.

348D: Orphan Girl Finds Factory Job and Friends

I was born in 1946, probably read and reread this book several times during the fifties and it burned its way into my psyche.  The story line is a little girl who is orphaned? Abandoned?  At any rate, she is alone and knows she has to take care of herself.  She wanders in the woods and comes across an abandoned hut.  She moves in and goes about making a home and a life for herself.  She is able to find a job in a factory nearby and finds some friends….and there my memories run out….
I have no inkling of the title nor what it looked like. It was not a picture book but I think it did have some illustrations.
Not much to go on,I know.  I don’t even remember her name.  I don’t expect anything, really…just worth the “investment” to have someone on my team.  I’ve been haunting old book sales for years without success.

 

348C: British family children’s novel


I’m trying to find a book I read in the late 80s. It was about a British family with several children. The book was told from the perspective of a younger brother. His older sister was named Helen and he didn’t get along with her at all. At one point in the book he leaves a towel balanced on the bathroom door as a “Helen-trap.” I remember thinking this book was hilarious but I don’t remember much more about it.

 

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!

347R: Kids hunt for a treasure at a lake only to find it’s confederate money

I read the book in grade school in the early 80's.

I remember it's a mystery book where kids visiting a lake look for a treasure.  In the end, the treasure turns out to be worthless confederate money.  One scene I remember vividly:  The boy is tricked by the girl to swim to the bottom of the lake with his snorkel and look up.  She claims it's a beautiful view.  When he does so, the protective valve on the snorkel opens and water floods into his mouth.

I also seem to recall a dragon on the lake at night, but it's made of paper and burns up from the candles used to illuminate it.  It is possible, however, that this memory might be from another book...

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

347D: Cruel Soot Turns Good

Hello all. I’ve been racking my brain for years over this one and I need some help. I remember my first grade teacher reading this kids’ chapter book to us in increments during class in the mid-90s, but I can’t recall many of the details. It’s bugged me to death for years.

Here’s what I can remember: The protagonist is female, probably an older kid or teenager. The book is written in third person and in English. The setting was a fantasy pre-modern city or town. Could be Victorian-esque, but maybe earlier or later. The villain is a cruel, miserable guy named (or nicknamed) Soot who wears all black and is feared throughout the area. I think he drives some kind of carriage or wagon but I’m not sure. The story opens with a king taking his last breath and then dying. The story ends with Soot turning good and joining the heroes in some kind of magic they’ve learned, and the protagonist falls asleep listening to their incantations. I think said incantations involve groups of three unrelated words, and the very last one mentioned was “dictionary”. The most frequently suggested titles, Awful Auntie and Keys to the Kingdom, are not the ones. I know this isn’t much to go on, but anyone who manages to put this to rest will have my gratitude.