Tag Archives: England

365G: Large dinosaur made from egg boxes for a school project in a garage

Can you please help me track down a book from childhood?
I read it sometime between 1985 and 1988 (I think!) whilst at primary school in the UK. Although it could have been an older book, maybe from the mid-70’s to the early 80’s?
Book title: It was a chapter book, but I can’t recall the name at all, sorry!
Front cover description: I remember it pretty clearly, it is a night time scene (a painted illustration) of the open garage door next to a house, with the large egg box dinosaur (t-rex?) visible inside, and the light spilling out from the garage illuminating the dark exterior driveway. It was quite an evocative image from what I remember.
Description of the book: It is about a group of school friends (a gang or club maybe?) who make a large / life size dinosaur out of egg boxes (a t-rex I think?) for a school project in the garage attached to one of the children’s houses. At some point I think a child from a rival gang / club spies on them, and the rivals (possibly?) end up making their own egg box dinosaur as well (that could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure about them being spied on by a rival though).

365F: Inventions for Children

Can you please help me find a book I read at primary school??
I read it in 1985 or 86 (87 at the very latest) when I was in primary school in the UK.
I would have been 7 or 8 years old.
Book title: Possibly ‘Inventions for Children’ / ‘Top Secret Inventions for Children’ (but that’s just a guess, as I really don’t remember!)
Book description: It was a hardback picture book. Each page, which were mostly double page spreads I think, had roughly 2 to 3 fictional inventions on (all aimed at children).
Some of the inventions I can remember: an armoured vehicle for a child, driving down a street (narrowly missing a cat and a lamp post I think??). Some kind of periscope / binoculars that let you hide behind your desk in school without the teacher noticing (possibly in the shape of a boy sitting upright??). Some little booster rockets (disguised as decorative circular medals?) that went on your swimming trunks to make you swim faster.
I remember all / nearly all of the inventions having a cross-section / cutaway section to them, so you could see the internal mechanics.

That’s about all I can remember, it’s been driving me slightly crazy for years (having tracked down nearly all the other books I loved as a child already).
I will give you any more information if I can, just let me know! 

365D: Castle on a Hill

As a small child in the early 2000s I compulsively read a picture book in the school library but for years have been unable to track it down.

It followed the history of a single hilltop in I believe England. Every page would open to a new period of history with a new drawing, as new groups of people would use the hilltop for its advantageous position.

The first were Celts, who built a stockade around the hill along with dirt walls.

Then a Roman fort with intricate buildings and brickwork.

Eventually there was a Manor House with a rudimentary wall.

And finally a huge castle with lots of towers and a moat.

There were other examples I don’t remember but these are what have stuck with me. Each page includes people in the various forts living, working, and doing activities. Parts of roofs and walls were cut out in the drawing so you could see inside.

And there was even a “Where’s Waldo” type game. In each variation of the hill were a pair of “lovers” (for lack of a better word) who were hidden among the people and activities and you had to seek them out.

Around the drawing was information about the time period, the purpose of why they built something (e.g. a drawbridge), and interesting facts like stuff about defending a medieval castle from attack.

I know this sounds like a lot of depth, but I promise this was a children’s picture book. Somewhere between the ages of 5 and 10 I was obsessed with it. Please help!

363B: Bronze Age slave girl saves metal items to purchase her freedom

I checked out this book from my school library when I was in upper elementary, 1971-1973, so the publishing date could be ’50s, ’60s, or early ’70s. I seem to remember a cream colored dust jacket, with black and white illustrations inside that resembled cave drawings. The girl kept her bits of metal under her pillow to keep them safe. I seem to remember a leader wearing a cloak pinned with metal and also wearing a torc around his neck. I don’t remember any psychic abilities or romance in the plot. It’s not “The Cave Twins” or “The Distant Lurs.” (I’ve gone through *most* of the queries until my eyes crossed. 😜) It might have been set in Britain, maybe another European country. She may have saved her owner’s clan by warning them of an imminent attack. And I think she was indeed able to purchase her freedom at the end of the story. Sorry, the details are very fuzzy but I checked the book out several times and loved it. (Probably one of the books that started my love for strong female characters.) Thanks in advance for your help! 

362U: 1980s British teens in love novel (Solved!)

1980s British novel about working-class teens in love
I think the title was the names of the two characters, like “Frankie & Tina” (but not that.) (But “Tina” might be right.)

The novel was for adults, but it was about teenagers, and I read it as an American child in the early to mid 1980s. It was about two working-class teens coming of age who fall in love. It may have been an interracial romance, or possibly the girl on the cover just had darker skin in the drawing. I think they got married. They may have also had a baby. I think there was a lot of dialect or slang. It was a bit gritty and had vivid detail about their jobs and things like that, but it was pretty cheerful, not like a “kitchen sink” drama. It could have been an earlier book reprinted in the ’80s and I’m starting to think it could have been a British reprint of an Australian book. Basically starting to overthink everything. It is not the Kevin & Sadie series or Oscar & Lucinda.
The cover was a crayon-style drawing of the two characters. The way I remember it, it had a dark blue background on the cover and an orange spine. This makes me think Penguin (but not one the series that all have the same covers.) The cover art had very similar style to these covers:

362H: Friends in College in England Mystery Book

In about 2006 I read and very much enjoyed a book about a group of friends at university in England (Oxford? Cambridge? Not sure). I remember a lot about the book but cannot remember the author or title. I’ve been scouring the internet which is where I found you. Please help!

There are four main characters: Brother, Sister (possibly named Maggie), Sister’s boyfriend (these three are British), and one American girl.

The book starts with the American character planning for a party to which Brother is invited. The American character is pregnant. The other characters are not invited. The rest of the book is the backstory about what happened between these four people at university.

The Sister and American girl meet at university. The American girl thinks the sister is really cool. The Brother really likes the American girl, but it’s unrequited. She has a strained relationship with her family including a family member who calls and reports her so that she gets strip searched by the airport security agents on her way back to the states for Christmas (or something like that). The security agent that searches her makes a comment about her breasts looking like fried eggs.

Somehow the Sister dies. Car accident?

The Brother despises the Sister’s boyfriend. And years later when sister’s boyfriend appears on some type of reality show where the citizens of England can call in and vote for their favorite contestant, he spends his entire lunch break every day calling in to vote for the opponent so he doesn’t win the reality show.

Brother and American girl see each other at the party. He has a terrible new haircut and it’s awkward seeing each other because of all the history between them including sister’s death.

Ok – please help me get this out of my brain! Thank you in advance!

362G: Christmas Board Book with Little Lights and Music

I have been searching for this book for years with no luck. It is a LONG LONG SHOT probably impossible 😫 but hopefully someone may know or may have had it too as a child.

I had a children’s Christmas book around 1993- 1996 that came from the The Book People (or a very similar company) that came to my mums work place. It was a large book between A3 maybe even A2 size, it had little coloured lights that came through tiny holes onto each page that flashed and it played music when you pressed a button. The button was within the page.

It wasn’t an old fashioned looking book. I unfortunately don’t remember the front cover picture (if I saw it I think I would!!) but I do remember one page had a large snowy scene with Father Christmas flying on his sleigh. It was a thick board book. I know this is not a lot to go on but I loved this book so much and would love to find it again for my children 🤞🏼

Summary:

– Large Christmas board book A3/A2 size
– From The Book People or similar book club company (UK)
– Around 1993 – 1996 time
– It had little multicoloured lights that flashed. They were on the back page but came through tiny holes onto each page.
– There was a button which you pressed and it played a tune.

362A: Monkey eating crackers

I have very little to go on. I remember this book so fondly from my childhood. I would guess from middle school years. I remember just laughing and laughing about a passage from it while reading on a plane ride to England.
A young girl has a pet male monkey who is hidden in her bag or piece of luggage perhaps on an airplane or maybe a train. The monkey is eating some crackers I think and starts sort of spitting them. The description of it just had me laughing out loud. Sort of the words to describe the sound of it. Maybe ‘pffft’, no that is not right.
The girl may have been the daughter of a diplomat? I think the monkey may have snuck into her luggage and she hears him eating the crackers. I think bits of crackers come out of the piece of luggage as she opens it. I’m not sure though.
I do not know if the book was American or English. It had a mostly purple cover 🙄 and was hardback.
I know that is a minuscule amount of information to give you. Oh, I would have been in 8th grade in 1982 but moved to England after finishing 7th grade. I think it was a fairly newly written book.
I have always hoped that I would be able to remember more and be able to find it. I cannot for the life of me remember the name of the monkey or any of the other characters.

361G: YA historical novel heroine Margaret Plantagenet of York, later Margaret Pole

Young Adult historical novel about the childhood/teenage years of Margaret Plantagenet of York, who later became Margaret Pole, and her brother Ned (Edward, Duke of Warwick), at the end of the War of the Roses and beginning of the Tudor period.  It starts in the court of her uncle, Edward IV, after her father (George, Duke of Clarence) has been executed for treason, and ends with her brother’s execution and her romance with Reginald Pole.  My memory is that the heroine is known as Meggy or Peggy. I probably read this in the early 60s, but it might have been written in the 30s, 40s or 50s. I thought the author might be Elizabeth Janet Gray, Rosemary Sutcliffe, Margaret C. Leighton, or Elizabeth George Speare but can’t find anything that seems to match this story among their titles.