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.

 

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.

292Y: And The Sun Came Up

My grandfather read this book to me over and over, probably around the early 1950s, so it may have been published as early as the 1930s. It was a children’s picture book, and all I can remember is the last page read, “And The Sun Came Up.” That phrase was most probably used throughout the book.  I loved it and have looked for it all these years, at antiques stores, rummage sales, etc. I would love to know the title and see if it is still around somewhere, so I can read it to my own grandchildren.

292X: Animals he could make small and take home

I have no idea about the title of this book. It is one I read (and owned) in my childhood. I think it was sent as part of my subscription to a children’s book club–perhaps Children’s Literary Guild. Probably I encountered it between 1940 and 1946. Plot was about a child–I think a boy–living rural, who went to a visiting circus. There he encountered animals who he could somehow make small and take home with him.