302Z: A flower pot for a hat?

Vintage children’s picture book about mixed up (hillbilly?) family that drives a crazy car, lives in a goofy house, wears funny clothing (a flower pot for a hat?), and paints their farm animals (pig? goat? cow? chicken?) funny colors. The son’s name is something like Oscar Idis Nooney and the other family members (father, mother, daughter) have similar names. It has to be vintage 40s or early 50s. No idea about the title but it was a favorite of my father’s. He was born in 1941.


302N: The Wisdom of the Weasel

This is a story which I remember hearing on the radio when I was about four years old in 1948.  I’m pretty sure the radio program was the “No School Today” show with Big Jon and Sparkie.  I have the impression that this story was on a record Big John played, rather than a story he told or read himself.

The story as I remember it is that two young rabbits, one brown and one white, were friends and played together in the woods.  Someone (the fox?) started a rumor among the white rabbits that the brown rabbits were dangerous to them because the hunters could see the brown rabbits so easily when the snow was on the ground in the winter.  “And when the hunters find the brown rabbits, they’ll find you too.”  Another rumor (also from the fox?) started among the brown rabbits that the white rabbits were dangerous to be around because the hunters could see the white rabbits so easily when the leaves were on the ground in the fall.  “And when the hunters find the white rabbits, they’ll find you too.”  The rabbit community was split.

The two friends consulted the oldest and wisest animal in the woods, the great ermine weasel.  He told them that he knew both sides of this split because his coat was white in the winter (except for the tip of his tail that was then black) and brown the rest of the year (except for the tip of his tail that was then white.)  He told them that rather than being dangerous to each other, the white and brown rabbits should help each other.  In the fall, the brown rabbits should go out first in the morning, and tell the white rabbits to come out only when the brown rabbits had made sure that there were no hunters around.  And in the winter, the white rabbits should go out first and make sure it was safe.

The two friends carried this wisdom back to their rabbit village, the rumors were defeated, and the split in the community was healed.  (And the fox went away hungry?)

What is the name of this story, who wrote it, and where was it published?

299T: Fairies Tattoo Naughty Girl’s Face

I am looking for a children’s book that was a favorite of mine at my grandma’s house growing up. I’ve been searching for years trying to find what the name of this book was, with no luck. Despite it being fairies, and involving colours, it’s not Andrew Lang.  This is what I remember of it:

It was a hardbound book, blue or green cover, with embossed printing. So probably published prior to 1950s

The story revolved around a little girl who wasn’t very nice, so she is visited by a fairy who’s name is similar to “tintinnabulum” (I remember that very distinctly). This fairy caused a word to appear on the girl’s forehead (possibly the word KIND) that only the girl and the fairies could see; if the girl acted kindly, the word would fade with each kind act, for each unkind act it would grow darker.

The girl was then put in a hall with seven doors, one for each color of the rainbow- she needed to travel through each fairy realm, do deeds that would remove the word on her forehead, and find the door back to the hall. Each of the realms had something to do with the color of the door (Like, the light blue door’s realm was in the sky, and the dark blue was under water).

Eventually she goes through all the doors, the word is gone, and she gets to go back home.

298P: A girl who cried all the time

I am looking for my mother-in-laws favorite childhood story. She was born in the 40s and her mother read it to her all the time. They lived on a farm in Iowa.

The story was about a girl who cried all the time. First her aunt left because of the crying, the her uncle, and soon it was just the little girl with her mom. Her mom always warned her if she didn’t stop crying that people would leave and they did. My mother-in-law thinks even the animals left. When the girl realized that everyone left because of her she stopped crying and learned her lesson.

Can you help me find this book?

297U: Buster Hard Rocks and Tilly Fields

My inquiry is about an old story that a dear friend told me.  She was born in the 30s and, I believe must have heard the story when she was young.

She thinks it was in a book of children’s stories.  It is about Buster Hard Rocks and Tilly Fields.  The moral of the story is how difficult it is to grow and prosper crops or other things you are growing when all you have in your field are hard rocks.  But if your field is easily tilled, then you can grow crops.  Then similarly in your life, the condition of your heart and mind can be difficult to cultivate if you are hard and unwilling to listen and be persuaded.

I would love to find a copy of a book with this story in it.

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.

297N: Billy and the Spinach Fairy

I’m looking for a very old book called Billy and the Spinach Fairy. It is a story that appears in a few places, but I’m specifically looking for the illustrated stand-alone book.

Billy and the Spinach Fairy is a book from the early 1930s or earlier. The latest it would be published would be 1936, but I suspect it is older than that.

I found one unillustrated copy of the story in “A Story for Every Day: 365 Bedtime Stories,” Whitman Publishing Co., Racine, Wisconsin, c 1931: Feb. 4 story, pp. 34-36. (No individual author listed).

A reprint of the story, with slightly different text, appeared on page 67 in the October 31, 1943 edition of the Oakland Tribune. It was on a page of story submissions from children. It was supposed to have original stories, but a child plagiarized the story and submitted it as her own. I have attached a digital copy of the page, a digital close up of the story, and my own retyping of that close-up, which is difficult to read in the digital newspaper copy. I corrected two spelling errors in my retyping, but otherwise it is identical to what appears in the newspaper.

If I could find this book, I would make my 85 year old mother very, very happy. She is an avid reader, and this book is the first book she learned to read when she was a little girl. She and her older sister remember it vividly and have described it to me in great detail, so I know it exists. They both speak of a detailed picture of a fairy living in a quilt on a little boy’s bed. The fairy has a hat with a feather.

I have done an extensive search, including: AbeBooks (my query from 2010 is still posted on their website); I have contacted a rare children’s book dealer in NY; I’ve gone to the reading room of the Jewish Heritage Center in NYC, that has a book called The Story of a Boy Who Did Not Like Spinach by Abraham Hyman Friedland. That was a Hebrew book and was a different story entirely. I’ve gone to the Princeton University rare children’s book center and looked at Lois Lenski’s book, Spinach Boy, and that’s not it either.

Billy and the Spinach Fairy is out there. Somewhere. In someone’s attic; on a shelf; or in a box. Please help me find this book for my mom before it’s too late.

297F: Poor Susie Cruthers

I had cousins that used to read to me from a book during the years 1942-1945 that began something like:

Poor Susie Cruthers

Had no sisters

Had no brothers…

I don’t remember the rest but it went on to say things she liked to do.

Thank you for you willingness to search for the treasures of childhood.