296X: Yellow Cape/Yellow door

This book was on the shelves of the library of my middle school in the early 60’s.  I would find it by the cover, which I think showed a tree with a round door.  Not unlike Hobbiton, the story was about small people and their society.  They lived in hollow trees. The thing I remember best is that the individuals wore capes that matched the color of their front door.

 

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.

296S: Buttermilk skies

This book was most likely written in the early to mid 1960s. I found it in my junior high school library around 1970.

It might have been written first person.The main character was girl about 15 and I recall three distinct scenes.In one she stands looking out her back door at dusk or night and sees what she describes as “buttermilk skies.” She might say it came from the Hoagy Carmichael song. In another scene she stares at herself in the mirror before going out and thinks “When last seen she was wearing ….” like newscasters do in describing a missing person. The last I recall is that she crossed herself, even though she was not Catholic.

296F: Teen Overeats on Holiday Vacation Due to Parents’ Divorce

I read this young adult novel in the early 1990s at my local library. It seemed like it was relatively recently published at the time. I believe that it was a first person story, about a teenage girl who is either on Thanksgiving or Christmas break from school. Her parents tell her they are getting divorced, and she starts secretly overeating all of the leftovers from either the Thanksgiving or Christmas meal. She is writing in her journal, feeling isolated, and having some weighty conversations with her parents–particularly her dad, if I remember correctly–all while developing an unhealthy relationship to food. The book ends with her swearing off of the overeating, and taking walks in the snow to lose all of the weight she gained over the holiday vacation.

296E: Littlest Joe

About a mutt dog, a many-paged book and the longest I’d read at age 11 in 1957, who goes through many awful experiences through his lifetime and dies at the end. I think the dog was part pit bull and maybe bulldog, definitely a short, squatty and solid guy. I had checked it out as many times as possible, then finished it all through the night so I could drop it off at the library the next day. Intending to reread it, I found that it had been withdrawn for repairs and never returned to the shelves.

296B: A secret note or message or clue

I have no idea what the title is but the book would appeal to a 8-10 year old girl. It was in my grade school library. I remember that the girl was orphaned or sent to live with a relative, possibly a grandmother or aunt. I’m leaning toward aunt. The place is mysterious and there is a mystery of sorts. The key part I remember is the young girl protagonist finds a secret note or message or clue on paper under a loose brick, I believe around the pool or on the patio, but I’m 99% sure it was around the pool. This would have been around 1978-80, although the book may have been slightly older.

295Y: Young Reader Adventure with Plane Crashes, Loch Ness, and Balloon Races (Solved)

This book was read in middle school. It featured four stories with the same gang of young boys. One story was of them faking a Loch Ness Monster using radio-controlled boat in their lake. Another was their search for a crashed airplane using radio direction finding. A third was their competing in a hot-air balloon race. The fourth I do not remember. This was probably published in the 80’s or late 70’s.

295V: Trapped in a snow globe as pets

It was a paperback about two girls on a trip with their family and they stop at some mine or cave. The younger sister runs off into the gift shop and the older follows. The evil gift shop owner ends up trapping both in a giant snow globe as pets for a giant family in the cave system. They really just wanted the little sister so the elder is a freebie. They end up escaping when the older girl melts the snow globe on the fireplace or something and they run out through the tunnels.  Might have been apple paperbacks or similar.

295U: Ring-Around-A-Rosie (Solved)

I am looking for a book I read in the mid-1960’s, probably young adult.  Tells the story of a girl who moves to Cape Cod? (some seashore region) to train with a famous tole (painting on tin ware, etc.) painter.  At first she just copies his designs, but he insists she should find her own muse.  One day she sees a group of kids playing ring-around-a-rosie and does a design based on that.