299A: Medina Textbook

A reading textbook used in Medina City Schools around 52-54 or so. (I already checked with them, they have no record) This described pioneer life-how soap was made, how wool was carded into yarn, how cloth was dyed. The book followed a little boy around in pioneer times and daily life for him.

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!

297Y: Incompetent burglars and a streetcar/diner

In the early to mid-60s, I read a hardcover library book that I guess was published either late 50s or early 60s.  It was about a boy, I think his name was Charlie. He lived in a town where an old streetcar had been turned into a restaurant, so you could eat your meal while riding around the town.  And somehow he got mixed up with some incompetent burglars, who couldn’t get the slang term for “gun” right; instead of saying “gat,” they would mangle it somehow. I’m pretty sure Charlie had a large dog.

297X: Secret Code, Tunnel To Underground Station

I read this in the late 1950s or early 60s. Two or three children are sent to stay at a relative’s or ancestor’s house. The plot involves solving a code in which vowels are rearranged or relocated so that “Underground Station” encodes as something like NDRGRND STTN. The message and the plot involve a tunnel, the ends of which are called underground stations.

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.

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.

296N: Cristobel and a tinkling Christmas Tree Fairy

Hi. I am trying to remember and locate a book that I loved as a child – possibly published between 1956 and 1961, in which the centrepiece was a Christmas Tree with a fairy that every now and then tinkled. In any memory the tree stood on the landing at the top of the stairs in the house.  It may have involved a girl called Cristobel /Christobel/Christobal.

Was it the same or another book in which there was a character, a girl, called Aurora. In this book there seemed to be a grove or woods.

Both were well-written and may have been Australian prize-winners from the Children’s Book Council or similar. However they do not seem to me to have been particularly Australian in flavour. Possibly English.