328O: Teenage Girl Learns About Jealousy

I’ve been looking for this book forever! I read this book around 1985, in Taiwan. The book was written in another language, not sure which, mostly likely English, and translated to Chinese.

Kids / Young Adult / Teen book about a teen / pre-teen girl competing with one of her classmates about everything. The entire book was written in 1st person telling the reader how much she envies one of her classmates because that person had everything. I remember her describing the other girl’s hair and the smell of her shampoo. She loves photography and drama. Once she took a close-up photo of a tree for a contest, thought it was perfect lighting, perfect shapes… etc, but it ended up getting her in trouble because there were a curse word on the photo upside-down that she never saw. She went to a drama camp and completed for the leading role, only to found out that she had stage fright so bad that she can’t do anything.  At the end she realized that she was a great director, as soon as the spot light is not on her, she does very well.

Hope you can help.

328I: Boy Destroys “Talking” Gorilla Costume

I read a book when I was between 9-12, I’m 38 now, I’m not sure if that helps with the timeline, I borrowed it from my grandma but it wasn’t really old, and it was paperback.
There was a little boy, maybe 11, he found a gorilla/orangutan costume (but enough for a grown man) and he started to believe it was talking to him. I remember him holding his hands over candle flames and if I’m remembering correctly, he ended up destroying the costume in the end by throwing it in the fire.
It would be amazing if you can find it, it’s been bothering me for years! Thank you again for your time and I look forward to hearing back!!

327J: Late 50’s/Early 60’s Long Island NY Grade School Reader

I’m looking for a book I remember so I can reconnect with the late sister I never knew.
I was born in 1965. I have one living sister (June, born: 1957) and one who passed away before I was born (Susan: born 1948).
I think the book belonged to my sister Susan, who was killed by a drunk driver in 1963. My parents couldn’t bear the pain so most of her things were not kept–too many memories. A few schoolbooks were left in the basement. I remember one especially…it could have been Susan’s or my other sister, June’s. I hope this information provides you with an idea of the time period/range of dates involved. Fairly positive it was before the mid-1960s.
The last time I saw it was a very long time ago, probably around 1973. I’ve been looking for it ever since. It was a grade school reader, blue boards…would have been used on Long Island, NY, in either Suffolk or Nassau County. I believe the first story was about boys vs. girls building a tree house. I think the girls put curtains, etc. on the windows. There are pictures throughout the book, but I don’t think the reading level was too young (not Dick and Jane, for example). There was also a story about a circus with an illustration I clearly remember of a lady in a tutu standing on the back of a running show pony.
I don’t remember much else. I think it was fairly thick, and the standard size for a hardback book.
Our address in New York was in St. James, NY, but my sister Susan only lived there for about two years. Prior to that I believe my family lived on Duffy Avenue, Hicksville, NY. This might help with the school districts.
If you could find the title for me, it would mean the world, because I could try to track down the book. When I was child I liked reading it, but I think when my mom saw it, it was either given or thrown away because it was too painful for my parents. Today the book would also be a connection to my late sister — even though it wouldn’t be her copy, it would still be something she read.
Many, many thanks. I’m sorry I can’t provide more information.

327I: The Missing Blond Princesses

I’ve been looking for a book that I started reading sometime during third grade (which would have been around 1998 or 1999), but wasn’t able to finish before my teacher gave away various books to another teacher.
Obviously, I have no idea what it was called, but I remember it was not a picture book. I don’t remember what the cover looked like, but I imagine that the title said something with “Princess” in it, and something that would have sparked the interest of a 3rd grader. I also don’t recall the author or the year the book was published, but it would have been before 1999. I also don’t remember any names of characters or places.
What I remember from the book (if I’m remembering correctly) is that the protagonist is an ordinary blonde girl, who lives in modern times and is somehow whisked away from her life to a fairy-tale-like world and told that she is going to be the next princess of whatever world she is taken to. What she learns is that every princess before her was also blonde, but mysteriously went missing. This world she is taken to has strange birds that fly in the sky (based on what I pictured/remember thinking of when I read the book – again there were no pictures – but I imagined they were vulture-like). People are afraid of these birds, as they also believe these birds have taken the missing princesses. What the protagonist seems to start to uncover, however, is that these birds might actually be the missing princesses – maybe some kind of curse or something.
That’s either how far I got, or all that I remember. I know it’s not much to go on, but it’s been bugging me for years.

327H: Backwoods coming of age?

I'm looking for a book that I remember from fifth or sixth grade. That means published 1981-83. It was about two kids in the backwoods, maybe the Smokey Mountain area. I think maybe the girl is staying with her grandmother and the boy lives there. He seems to teach her the ways of the back woods. I remember there was skinny-dipping in the book. I think maybe the boy's name was Rusty? And that the author's name was two initials and then a last name.

327C: Max Moonpenny

My mom is searching for a book she read as a pre-teen about a girl named Max Moonpenny. I have searched and searched (and I even work in a library) but I can’t find anything about this book! She’s not sure if the title is Max Moonpenny or if it is something else. My mom grew up in the 1960s & ‘70s in Wisconsin, and a friend of hers also remembers the book and her niece was even named Max Moonpenny after the character from the novel. Unfortunately, the niece is prolific on the internet and clogging up my search results.

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated!

327A: Collection of scary stories from the late 70s or early 80s (Solved!)

I'm trying to track down a collection of short, scary stories that I read when I was young. I remember a story about a girl with a red cape (I believe her name was Lottie). There was also a story in the book about Sarah Winchester, the heir to the Winchester rifle fortune who continued building a mansion and never stopped construction because a medium told her she'd die if she stopped. I know it's a long shot, but I'd love to be able to find this book again.

326T: 1950’s young detective gang? (Solved!)

I was in elementary school in the early 90’s and remember reading a series of novel/short stories in class from a book series. They were similar to Encyclopedia Brown and Nate the Great, but the time frame of the books was more low tech (they had flashlights or torches I think, but don’t remember TV ever being mentioned), probably circa 1930’s to 1950’s so a little before Encyclopedia Brown time frame.

I remember 3 distinct stories that happened. The main characters were young, elementary school aged, and engaged in small town mysteries and adventures. One of the stories involved one person from this young gang following someone or something into a local cave and the main character followed them/him but tied raw liver meat to his shoes and told a friend if he didn’t come out to get a police officer and a tracking dog to find him from the scent of the liver meat on his shoes. They ended up finding him and the person lost in the cave.

A second story involved a new teacher the main character didn’t like and he intended to frame him by making him appear to be an alcoholic and planting alcohol in his house. The plot may be located in a baptist southern town as the main character thought the alcohol conviction would be a death sentence for the guy. I don’t remember much of the rest of that specific plot except that Mint Schnapps were part of the story and how the teacher was purportedly covering up his alcohol breath. The teacher found him out and apologized to the kid that he did not like him being his teacher but the town had appointed him, the protagonist reconciled with him eventually.

A third minor story was the protagonist forgot to study for an exam and tried to contract mumps from a friend of his who was out sick that same week. He snuck over to his friends house and asked him to breath in his face repeatedly. The protagonist was young, coming of age, used m’am and pal a lot in his vocabulary. The book or series may have been published in the 70’s or 80’s but I don’t remember a whole lot of technology being used in the stories though, and the prohibition aspect lead me to believe it is older. It could be Encyclopedia Brown but I’ve read through what I believe to be all of the book plots and didn’t see it.

326Q: Boarding School Girls Discuss Castle Drachenfels (Solved!)

I read it in the 1970s.  It was written for girls, maybe came in two volumes, the copies at the library had stripes on the covers.  Came from the Beverly Hills Public Library, if that is helpful.

I think it took place in a girls’ boarding school.  Maybe there was one girl called Cordelia, shortened to Cordy.  Maybe in it they told a story about a Castle Drachenfels.  It’s possible I’m mixing this up with another book, but maybe not.

Please help!  Thanks!