349M: The Empty Valley Mystery

All I remember about this book is that a group of kids (who were maybe related. There were two brothers?) ended up in this absolutely empty valley - there was a plane involved. And they explore this valley - find a cave to live in. And at some point they solve a mystery - a chicken is involved - and they find gold. And then get rescued. This was is the Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew genre. All I remember about the cover is that it had a numeral of sorts on it. Also, in another book in the same series one of the brothers finds a rare bird - a great auk or something.

348A: Children’s Puzzle Adventure!

This is a child’s adventure book. Its format is kind of unique, because it narrates the story and throws some questions at you in the meantime. It’s a drawing book with pictures and stuff, so as you read the story, you also need to stop at each question to think, before the next page tells you the answer.
For example, at the start of the book I remember some young guys gathering around a table looking at a map. The next question is: where is the plane flying? The next page then shows you the answer is Naples. This may not sound vivid enough, but the format is like this: a picture above, and a word of answer underneath. Like this:
                                                    answer: Naples!
And then the adventurous kids took off on a transformable plane to Naples. One more vague impression I remember is that they mentioned the paper production factory in Naples or something.
The next part of memory is about this. A couple of boys (probably the same batch of people) wanted to sneak in someone’s house from their backyard. The picture of the backyard is drawn on the book and you have to find a way in for them. I remember even back then I thought this was pretty easy.. It’s so obvious from the picture you could see a big tree sticking the limb into their balcony. The answer of course, is to climb through the tree and up to the balcony. Then they managed to sneak into their house and got something they were looking for out. I don’t remember what that something is though, maybe it was a picture or something? Excuse me for my bad memory again, because I was only six or something when I read the book.
All of this is just not enough to describe the book. Because it was a picture book, not in words can I put it clearly. I also remembered the book by the strange impression of Naples. It’s really hard to remember a book from those words so I will just go on anyway.
Another part is those boys got onto an island with cannibals. I remember they hid behind a bush as they watched the cannibals cook a large pot of meat over the fire. And they noticed something shiny in the corner. This actually came as a question and the book asked you what have they found? It’s a skull with some drapery on it. Maybe it was a gem or a crucifix? I don’t remember what’s on the skull but definitely something important they sought after. So they took the gem and went away without being noticed by the cannibals. And then they came into a cave or something. And there was a skull in there, too. What’s special about this skull is that there was a note left behind and on the note it said: I’m Alfonso! This actually came as a question before they showed you the content on the note; they asked you what have you found? And I was like, oh how can I know. And then I turned to the next page and saw this line of words. What’s special about this guy Alfonso is that he was a main character in this story, or at least has to do with the story line, and he was some sort of pirate or something that probably held a large treasure? I don’t quite remember. Anyway I (the main character of this story) was quite shocked at first to find out the identity of this skull. At this point I guess you could see that I actually play as a character in this book. The book would ask what “you” would do instead of say, what “Peter” or what ever the name of the main character of the book would do. Guess I was pretty enchanted by this book at that time?
The other part is I went to a castle or something and I got caught by the villains who live there. I was put into a dungeon and watched by guards. At night time the guard gave me some cookies of different colors to eat, but they came with descriptions. For instance, the red one says:”Eat this and you will never wake up in the morning to see the sun again”. The green one says the blue one is safe to eat or something blah blah blah. And in the end the book ask you which one should you choose to eat? Next page comes with the answers: the blue ones and yellow ones are safe to eat or something. So you took the right choice and went to sleep filled. I never actually have to work out these puzzles you see. I just turn over when I’m stuck. Not cheating, because do you really expect a six year old or something to do much when in a dilemma?
Then I remembered the kids who took off in a transformable plane came back again. They went underwater this time and of course the plane could turn into a submarine at the press of a button or something. They headed towards the base of the bad guys in this story. The underwater fort was like a huge dome of glass on the outside, with a castle or something like that on the inside. The concept is really ridiculous by the way. Then I remembered the hook asking me a question: where are we? The next page comes with an astounding answer of: Atlantis!
Ok, actually it wasn’t that astounding because when I was a kid I didn’t know what Atlantis is for it was the first time I’d heard of it. And so I was like: ok, Atlantis. Then I read on to the next page.  The next page had a picture and it is like the entrance to the fort is blocked by heavy guards. So we can’t pass in that way. Then I saw a pipe floating across the surface with some trash in it coming out. I guessed it was the sewers or some garbage path that we can go through. So I went through there and got in.
In the enemy’s fort, we sneaked in and the door was locked on the main entrance of the office. Though there was a piece of glass on the door that you could look into. Then comes the strange part. The main character (me) looked through the glass and saw two men talking in the office. One man was sitting at the table like the boss or something, and the other sit across from him. They didn’t notice us at all because they were talking. Then I gasped: it was the same guy sitting at the table! I some how recognized him as Alfonso! Wut? I remember I was really puzzled when I remembered this part, because if this is true, wasn’t he already dead in the cave before? I must have misremembered something or the plot is about reverse or time travel. Because he (the main character) must have recognized something weird to gasp, and I don’t remember what it was the name he remembered at seeing the guy in the office, but I’m a hundred percent sure the guy he saw buried in the cave was Alfonso. It could be either one of these three: I remembered the name of the guy wrong: who he recognized at the office wasn’t Alfonso. This story had a time travel element in it and they traveled back in time to see the great pirate before he’s dead. Or this skull in the cave was fake: it wasn’t Alfonso who had died in the cave, the skeleton was somebody else’s! Alfonso faked the note to disguise himself. And now that they’ve seen him alive they’ve broken the conspiracy. Three both could explain why he was so excited to see the guy in the office.
The next part comes with a bit of a change in character. I wonder if this was a next story in the same book. The main character was no longer a child, and in the previous parts certainly was unless I misremembered again. This time I play the role of a detective or something. I’m a detective who went to a exhibition on the queen’s treasure or something in Paris. Or at least I thought so. Then in the exhibition there was a crown which drew my attention. The queen’s crown. It looked something different from before. So I took out a photo of it and compared it to the crown in exhibition. The question then is to find the difference between the two. And of course I found it: the crucifix on the crown looks different and a jewel had been stolen. I soon found out that this was a fake crown and the real crown was stolen by some petty thief. Then I tracked their traces and tried to find more evidence that they’ve been here. And sure enough I found it. It was a diamond sitting in the corner of the wall shining at me through the page. Then I kept searching for them but couldn’t find them.
Then I remembered I had a good friend that’s called Mel or something, she was a crystal gazer and can tell me where the thieves had gone through a crystal ball. Then I found her in her lodging. I asked her if she could help, and gladly she did with her crystal ball. Through her crystal ball she could see the vague impression of something somewhere, which later became the clue as to how I find them.
That’s all the things I could remember from that book.. I was delighted at this book. Could anyone give a clue as to what it is?  I didn’t fake all this out I promise.
Date of this book was probably around 2006, though I don’t remember either.

294K: Cut-out model airplanes

I do not know the title or author of this book.  The cut-out “book” came out sometime around 1940-1945, I believe.  It was about 8 1/2″ by 11″, possibly bigger, and perhaps 3/8″ thick.  The book contained cut-out WWII era airplanes in full color, perhaps two pagers per plane.  When assembled they had a 3D presentation e.g. the fuselages were cylindrical and the wings’ surfaces were curved.  They were not intended to be “flown” like a glider.  They were surprisingly realistic when assembled.