291B: He forgot to go “widdershins” (Solved)

Children’s book, enjoyed in ’60’s but probably from ’30’s or 40’s, possibly English.  Included a story about young brother and sister in a churchyard (castle yard?), playing with a ball.  The brother (possibly named Roland) went to retrieve the ball when it went over a fence, but forgot to go “widdershins” and was taken by a witch.  The little girl goes in search of her brother.  (It is possible the girl was taken and the boy went to save her, but I remember it as the girl.)  Illustrated with sweet old-fashioned colored drawings.

The story “East of the Sun, West of the Moon” may be in the same collection, or may just have been in the same bookcase.

288E: Ragamuffins and a talking cat (Solved)

I remember my mother reading aloud to us a chapter book (in the early 1960s) about a group of children called Ragamuffins (maybe just four children). They meet a talking cat named Pouffon (that is how she pronounced the name; I don’t know how it is spelled). Each time the cat speaks though, it loses one of it’s special whiskers, or it’s whiskers changes back to a normal color. It was very sad when the cat spoke for the last time, to help the children, since the cat only had one special whisker left. I think the book is probably a literary award winning book, since my mother made sure we read all of the Newberry and Caldecott Award winning books. I hope it is still in print. I think the book had a navy blue cover, (hardback), and maybe a line drawing at the start of each chapter. It may have been published much earlier than the 60s. It was probably a library book, and was pretty well-worn then.


Thank you so much for your help!

279H: Houses that gossip amongst themselves at night

This is the children’s picture book I am looking for:

Circa 1940s +/- a decade

Pictures are, I think, in water color

Colors are dark and muted as it is night time

Story has to do with houses that – at night – gossip among themselves

Pictures show mouths and eyes and expressions on the fronts of the houses

Some of the houses are very proud and snooty to other houses

That’s all I remember.

258D: Brother and sister make a perilous journey

The book I’m searching for is one I read as a girl. It was an old book then. I was reading it in the early 1950’s.


All I recall of it was a story of a brother and sister who had to make a perilous journey by foot, crossing a mountain range somewhere in Europe. They had the help of a kindly woman who sewed coins for the trip into the darts of the sister’s dress. This was so no one would steal their money. After they left her they made it to safety on the other side of the mountains.


The book was a standard size hardback, with a faded cover, as I remember it. I borrowed it several times from my aunt, who treasured the book.


255D: Afternoon in the garden…sees fairies (Solved)

A chapter book (possibly), with green binding, printed pre-1950s I’d say. Suitable for the 8-12 group, I think. It’s about a girl who is home (possibly sick), and goes outside. The garden is described beautifully with winding stone or brick pathways, and as she walks down them, she finds fairies among the plantings.

255C: Mary Ann nickname Pigeon

This particular book was written in, I believe, the 1930s, and is about a fairly large family; the youngest daughter is named Mary Ann/Marianne, but is known in the family as Pigeon. A large part of the plot toward the end of the book involves a new teacher who is mean to all of her students; someone decides to set off a stink bomb or something similar, and the teacher ends up keeping Pigeon after school until she tells her who did it, because she admits that she knows but can’t tell. While Pigeon is sitting at her desk, she notices the teacher is crying, and quietly walks up and offers her a sandwich from her lunch, at which point the teacher puts her head down on the desk and starts sobbing. She finally asks Pigeon why the kids don’t like her, and the reply is “Because you don’t like us,” which clearly gives the teacher pause. The teacher is about to let Pigeon go when one of her brothers shows up to get her for a family picnic (it’s wintertime); they bring the teacher along, and she (the teacher) makes friends w/the family and becomes a much kinder and happier person. That spring, Pigeon is picking flowers for the teacher before school when she falls down an embankment and almost into a river, getting very muddy in the process; she ends up being rescued by a young man, who turns out to be the teacher’s former fiance (now we know why she was so miserable at first!), who is hoping to mend their broken relationship. The teacher and fiance are reunited and decide to get married after the school year ends, and ask Pigeon to be in the wedding, because she helped bring them back together. There’s also a subplot at one point involving a young boy whose mother died when he was very young, who finds out that his father is planning to remarry and immediate worries that he’s going to end up with an awful stepmother. While he’s out in the woods, he runs into a very friendly, outdoorsy young woman who’s camping, who ends up telling him that she’s getting married soon to a man with a little boy, and is worried he won’t like her–needless to say, this is the prospective stepmother, and all ends happily for them. Anyway, I can’t remember the title of the book or the author, and I’d love to find it again!