301Y: This is not the Laura Ingalls Wilder story

The book I am looking for is one I checked out from the Louisville free  public library in the 1960s.

The story  was about a family moving west in a covered wagon. (This is not the Laura Ingalls Wilder story)

The family faced hardships and trials. It was a children’s chapter book with an orange cover that I believe had a covered wagon on the cover.

I know chimney rock was mentioned as a landmark in the book. I have looked many times for this book and would like to read it again. In contrast to the little house books, it was a bit more graphic, mentioning things like animal skeletons and tombstones along the trail.

It was fascinating and dramatic. I know this is vague, but would truly appreciate if you could find it. It has been gone from LFPL for many, many years.

301S: Five O’Clock Charlie doesn’t seem right

A YA book like Beautiful Joe but is the story of an abused horse. The horse’s name may be Charlie. Looked up Five o’ clock Charlie but it doesn’t seem right, seems too happy (is there anything about him being abused by a first owner?). I can’t give any more detail as I never read it. I want to buy it as a present for a friend who read it as a child, he’s in his mid 40s.

301C: A boy is dropped off at a “poor house”

The book that I am looking for is as follows:
 
Set in the time of US slavery, this children’s story opens with a very young boy being anonymously dropped off a horse drawn wagon at a the end of the driveway of a rural ‘poor house’ in a northern US state.  It turns out that his slave mother was forced to leave him behind while fleeing her ‘owner’ and the father of her baby as she tried to reach Canada via the underground railroad.

The reader does not have this information at the start of the tale but rather learns this as the story unfolds.  The story follows the little boy who is taken in by the operators of the ‘poor house’, however unwillingly.  In return for lodging he is assigned chores and when old enough goes to school and makes friends.  His closest friend, however, is one of the other residents, a giant male adult with mental health issues that cause him to occasionally become violent, which necessitate that he be kept in a cage in the house so that he will not harm others.  Near the end of the story, this man (perhaps severely afflicted with severe SAD)  is killed in an accident in a rock quarry where he works when mentally able to do so.
 
The little boy is visited by a white man from the south, and eventually comes to understand that this man is not someone with good intentions, in fact he is his father.  He has been pursuing both he and his mother who had managed to escape. I forget all the details of the story, however, the boy does end up safely in Canada

300Y: Dramatic in a good way

So I read this book when I was still in elementary school, no older than 12 years old, meaning this book couldn’t have been published after 2003. Sadly, I cannot recall anything about the title or author, only that the cover, if I remember correctly, featured a boy with a lady ghost on his left side, with black and white colors.

So the story is about a school class that somehow ends up lost in a forest during a bad storm, I believe they were all in a school bus for a trip but it crashed. As far as I recall, no one died, but everyone ended up being separated. The story is linear but there are a some flashbacks we get to see while the characters are lost in the woods.

Speaking of characters, these are the people I recall:

  1. A boy whose mother died and the text implies he can see ghosts, including the ghost of his mother; he might have been the protagonist, but I don’t think the book narrated from his point of view often, if at all.
  2. Another boy called Alvin (or at least I think it was Alvin, I distinctly remember being distracted by his name because I always thought of Alvin and the chipmunks, so it’s either that or Theodore or Simon) who was implied to be involved with some shady business people. He had a briefcase that he carried around, though we never get to know what the contents are. If I recall correctly, he owed money (or something else) to these said shady people, and two men in suits are after him and manage to find him while he’s lost in the woods.
  3. The suits, the two men (might have been more though, but I’m nearly certain it was two) that are going after Alvin. The impression I got is that they were trying to kill him.
  4. The class teacher, who was a woman.
  5. An unnamed boy and girl who were part of the class.
And these are the scenes that I remember involving said characters.
  1. The class teacher has a flashback while she’s lost about the boy who can see ghosts, she recalls poems that they wrote in class, and how reading the poem of this one kid worried the teacher because it either implied that he could see ghosts, or that he wanted to die following the death of his mother, or both.
  2. The unnamed boy and girl are ‘regular’ kids who were friends, might have been love interests too, and while lost they have a scene where they reunite and fiercely embrace each other under the rain, I remember thinking the description was very heavy with emotions, even a little dramatic (in a good way though).
  3. Towards the end of the book, Alvin is found by the two suits, and have him cornered under an old/abandoned tunnel. Either that or Alvin tricks them into thinking he went to the tunnel while he hid. Either way, the suits end up meeting with the boy who sees ghosts instead, threaten him, but the ghost of his mom appears and I believe it was implied the ghost got rid of the men, or at least that’s how I understood it.
  4. The next morning (I believe they were lost during nighttime) the whole class reunites, Alvin made it out safe; I remember a classmate asks about his briefcase he always carried around (cause he was so defensive about it) saying he was leaving it behind, but Alvin replies that he doesn’t need it anymore. I believe the text also implied that the boy who can see ghosts no longer can see his mother after the tunnel incident, but gets closure somehow as a result.
That’s all I can recall… I believe the book was illustrated too, with some pictures every chapter or so, but here’s the catch. I’m from Mexico, so I’m not certain if what I read was a book originally written in Spanish, or a book that was translated from English to Spanish. Given the Alvin name (not a common one in Spanish) I’m leaning towards it originally in English, but I’m not 100% sure.
I hope all this helps, this book has been haunting me for years and I just want to get closure somehow haha.

300X: The fertile farm bought with three moths (Solved)

This is for my husband. He said he had a reader he loved as a kid. It was published by Scholastic. He said it is about a family who loses everything. The father, mother and at least two kids get in their car and head out. They end up buying a farm which is not fertile because they were taken advantage off. However, the farm is kind of magical and becomes fertile. The farmer who sold it to them comes back at toward the end of the book and wants it back. He says that the father of the family had said he would buy the farm with everything in his wallet and that he did not hold his end of the bargain because there were three moths in his wallet he did not give away. The farmer proceeds to plant trees which grow immediately and turn the day to night because of the shade of their canopies. The family goes hunting for moths with a flashlight and find three moths to pay the bad man with.

 

300R: Haunting voice that would sing

As a grade-schooler in the late 1960’s or early seventies, my teacher read the class a mystery book/novel about a little girl who’d gone to stay with relatives. Possibly for the summer. She was mystified by a haunting voice that would sing a song again and again. I remember something about a swing and hollyhock flowers. I’m not sure but I think by the end of the story it turns out to be the ghost of her deceased Aunt who died as a child.

300Q: Nutcracker in the summer (Solved)

The book is juvenile fiction about a young girl, age 9, who dances ballet. She wants to start using toe shoes but everyone tells her she is too young. She goes on a summer vacation to the beach and meets a famous ballerina and her choreographer husband who decide to stage a shortened version of The Nutcracker at the grand hotel where they are staying. The girl is invited to participate even though she is not staying there. The owner’s spoiled daughter makes a fuss and is cast as Clara. She had started dancing with toe shoes but it is causing to much stress on her developing feet and she can’t dance very well. I think her name is April.

300K: Secret Garden with a fountain – but with animal friends, not humans

I read this book about 30-35 years ago when I was 9-12, it was illustrated with cartoony yet cool pictures in color. I have no memory of the cover, I think it may have been paperback. It is the story of some animal friends, one of whom discovers a walled/gated garden that is completely overgrown. It has a fountain that doesn’t work, and while it once was beautiful, is basically unrecognizable because it was abandoned. I can’t remember what animal the main character was, but I think it was a kangaroo or a giraffe and for some reason I think the name was Geoffrey or Jeffrey. Not sure though.

He works in secret to completely restore the garden and fountain, while keeping the exterior appearing unchanged. His friend misses him and worries that they are growing distant since the main character is spending so much time working in the garden.

At the end, there is a birthday party and the protagonist rigs the hedges of the garden in sections and hands a string to their friend having the birthday to pull,  which they do, revealing the transformed garden and splashing fountain to the astonishment and delight of all. I think there is then a celebration with a very special cake, perhaps orange chiffon, perhaps I am making that up.

I read this book over and over and now want to read it to my kids but can’t remember title or author and none of my searches are working. Hope you can help!

300H: Best Friends

The book is a juvenile chapter book from the ’70s or ’80s. Called something like _Best Friends_. It’s about a girl who loses her best friend to another girl. I remember that she eats Chinese food with a new friend at the friend’s restaurant. She also participates in a puppet show from Alice in Wonderland and she is the Red Queen. The former best friend comes crawling back after a fight with the new girl but she realizes that she likes having lots of friends vs. exclusive to one best friend.