298X: The sky was purple all the time

I am looking for a book I read in 4th grade ~(1975). The book was fiction. It took place in a fantasy world. The sky was purple all the time in this fantasy world. Unfortunately, I don’t remember much more than that.

Let me know if you have any thoughts on what it might be. For the longest time I thought it was a Judy Bloom book, but now I don’t think it is.

298L: A treasure in a monastery garden

The book I am thinking about would have been published before 1968 I believe because i read it when I was about eight or nine in 1967.  I live in England.  I believe i borrowed it from the library or the school library.

The book was about a group of children staying in an old Abbot’s house or at least close to an old monastery.  Virtually all I can remember of the plot was the finding of an old map in a settle in the house, which led them to find treasure in the monastery garden. I seem to remember the treasure was actually from the church and it was important for some reason that it had been found.

I know it is very little to go on!

Thanks

298G: The Perfect Dress (Solved)

I am searching for a book I read as a young elementary school student in the late 60s but the target audience was a little older, perhaps middle school girls.  I think the book would have been published somewhere between the mid 50s and early 60s. Even in 1969/1970 it felt slightly dated.

Here are some facts I remember:

1) The protagonist was a young (13-15) teen girl and the book may have been part of a series (of either books or movies-not Giget.) Or maybe not.

2) The setting was very much all-American, white picket fences.

3) Our heroine was very excited to be invited to the out of town wedding of her older male cousin.

4) Although I can’t remember the name of the protagonist or her family, the bride’s name was Joan. At one point she shows her mother a picture of a bride in a magazine and asks “Do you think Joan will wear a dress like that?” To which Mom replies non-committally “Perhaps.”

5) Much of the book is about the struggle to find an appropriate dress for our heroine to wear to the wedding.

6) The perfect dress is actually found at a thrift store or among clothes that the mother is collecting for a charity drive, a seamstress makes some adjustments, and she loves it.

7) At the pre-wedding festivities the protagonist becomes friends with a similarly aged girl who I think is the bride’s sister/cousin and who is a junior bridesmaid in the wedding.

8) Unfortunately, they forget to pack the perfect dress. Much sadness ensues.

9) The junior bridesmaid becomes sick and our heroine is called upon to fill in.

10) The bridesmaid’s dress is green velvet with a little velvet toque.

And that’s it, that’s all I’ve got.  I borrowed the book over and over from the library, but the dust cover was missing so I don’t even know what it looked like.  Even though it doesn’t sound like much, I loved it and would like to read it again.  Thanks for any help you can provide!

298A: A Clockmaker in Bern

I must have read this some time in the 70s. Not a picture book, I would say this book was middle grade fiction (aimed at 8-12 year-olds). I’m guessing I read it between the ages of 9 and 11. It took place in Bern, Switzerland, and although I think the protagonist may have been a young girl, there was definitely a clockmaker in it, and his shop. I don’t think it had any elements of fantasy in it, but I remember finding it a magical story. I wish I remembered more about it, but that’s about all I’ve got!

 

297S: Star-Shaped Key (Solved)

I am looking for a book targeted at, I think, 10-to-12-year-olds, which I suspect was published between 1965 and 1980.  I think the protagonists were a brother and sister who for some reason were spending some months (summer vacation?) in a remote location, which I believe was mountainous.  The permanent inhabitants were faced with a problem that I do not remember but which I believe involved water.  A recurring plot point was that the young boy was taught to play draughts and was challenged to improve–this name for the game may mean that, though I read the book in a U.S. library, it was a British book.  The problem was solved through the use of a key with a star-shaped end which was inserted into a rock face and turned.

As a final detail, I believe the cover of the book was mostly a picture, drawn in blue and white.

297Q: Like a Canadian Little House on the Prairie

1950s (or earlier) Canadian series about a family.

My mother is looking for a series she read in the 50s but she doesn’t know whether it was published for her generation (born in the 40s) or the books were from her mother’s childhood. They seemed pretty contemporary however. She grew up in Canada and the books were all set in Canada.

The main characters were a boy and a girl, possibly twins. There may have been additional siblings. They moved a lot and each book took place in a new town, much like Little House. Their father may have worked for the government. Or possibly he just was sent many places and they regularly visited him.

One book took place in a logging camp with lumberjacks. In another, they moved to Montreal and dealt with the language barrier, being English-speaking. She particularly remembers them having trouble figuring out the French labels for hot and cold on bathroom sink faucets.

297P: Wizard/Mage/Sorcerer’s Trap (Solved)

This is a book I read hundreds of times in my childhood I can assure you it exists and yet I cannot find it.

It is a thin paperback book with watercolour highly detailed paintings. It is set in a far off land with two kingdoms across the sea from each other. One inhabited by a good king and the other by (I think his brother) an evil, very powerful, wizard.

The wizard decides he wants to take control of the kingdom of light and decides to do so by killing the king’s only son on (i think) his coronation day.

Cut to a parade in the street of the good kingdom, we meet a blind young woman who weaves baskets to make money. She hears of the coronation day and people buy her baskets more than ever. She speaks to a gentle man who gives her too much for her basket but insists she keeps the excess. Suddenly the prince goes missing and the evil wizard mocks the king by telling him he has turned the prince into a fish. The king banns all fishing and the people starve as well as cannot make money. The girl cannot sell her baskets. The wizard says he will set the prince free if someone can get a magic pearl guarded by an octopus at the bottom of the sea.

The king offers anything to whomever can bring his the pearl and by extension his son back home.

First a knight steps forward. He is put on a boat with a special orb to let him breath underwater and never returns. Then a lion tamer steps forward. He is put on a boat with a special orb to let him breath underwater and never returns. It is a long while before anyone else comes forward. But eventually a thief steps forward. He is given a boat with a special orb to let him breath underwater but also doesn’t return.

Eventually when the girl is about to starve and is on her last piece of bread a talking turtle asks for a piece. She shares it with him and finds the courage to go and search for the prince. (The turtle offers to be her eyes i think) the king doesn’t believe in her but is desperate and reluctantly lets her go. She and the turtle run into, a swordfish, a sea lion, and another sea creature before finally making it to the giant octopus.

She gets the pearl and makes it back to shore.

i forget what happens next but it is revealed that:

swordfish=knight

sealion=lion tamer

other creature= thief

octopus= sorcerer

turtle=prince

The prince decides to marry the blind girl and they all live happily ever after.

I forget what happens to the sorcerer, he either dies or vows to leave the kingdom of light alone.

Please help me find this book it’s a favorite of mine (as you can tell) and it’s driving me crazy not having it!

296W: Sci-Fi Retelling of Homer’s The Odyssey

I read this in the late 1970s. A 12ish year old boy living in a rural area of the US notices small lakes are disappearing in his area. He deduces that aliens are stealing the water to use for fuel and starts watching for their ship, which he boards when he sees it. The ship takes off while he is aboard and the rest of the book is his adventures in trying to return home. There are other abductees from other planets already on board who become his crew. It is a loose re-telling of Homer’s The Odyssey in that the boy travels from planet to planet aboard the ship and encounters people who are recognizably the Lotus-Eaters, the Cyclops, Circe, etc. Because it’s a children’s book, many of the details are toned down. For example, the Cyclops had poor vision and thus needed to wear a thick lens to see, which the adventurers broke to “blind” him. I remember very well there was a full-page painting of the boy in the Cyclops cave, which might have been the cover of the book.

 

296V: Family moves to country home

This book was from my elementary school library, read around 1967. The book was older, 1950s or 1940s. A family that was either down on their luck, or through an inheritance, move to a house in the country that came with African-American servants. This might have been in the South and it seems as though there was an adjustment. I recall food scenes, such as how much the family enjoyed the fresh baked biscuits. This might have been their first encounter with them. In another scene, the mother twists her ankle while walking through the garden and sits alone until she was found because she was in too much pain to walk. What struck me was that this was the first book I read that was told from both an adult and a child’s viewpoint. There was a mystery involved too but I don’t recall whether the house was haunted.