305Q: Happy & Hoppy

This paperback (actually more of a pamphlet) was available in the 1960s. It contained several short stories. I believe it was blue and white. One of the stories involved a lost dog (I think it was a large black dog).

Another of the stories involved woodland creatures and lanterns in the woods. I believe there were characters named Happy & Hoppy.


The title is 1960s blue stories pamphlet


304Z: Frosting was everywhere

I’m trying to find a book that I read in the 90’s. Not sure when it was published. It was a large hard cover book with pictures and several short stories. One of the stories was about a poor brother and sister who had to walk past a bakery every day. The owner was rude to them. One day as they walked by, they saw the frosting machine had tangled the owner, and frosting was everywhere. They helped her and she was nice and gave them baked goods. Another story was about a girl with 2 sisters who were trying to woo a prince. She baked him a pie, I think it was strawberry. And it won his heart. I hope this is enough info. Thanks!

304X: Volunteers for an experiment

This was the best story I ever read.  I was in maybe the fifth grade, in 1959(?) and it was in a collection of short stories that was in our classroom for when you had finished your work early.  It was not a brand-new book then, either.

But the story!  These two unemployed guys are looking through the want ads, and they find a doctor who wants volunteers for an experiment.  He has a diving board that faces a black window.  The volunteer is supposed to jump from the diving board into that unknown space.  Well, one of the guys does it, but he never comes back.  So his friend returns to the doctor’s office and jumps through it himself.  He describes what it was like:  dim and twilit, with backwards writing on can labels, a sort of wasteland with boulders, and here and there a glowing luminescent ultra-violet hint, not too bright, but noticeable.  Maybe two or three of these lights in the whole landscape.  He figures out that his friend fell in the rocks and was killed, because of the improper alignment of this other world with our own.  I mean, you can’t just jump into it and assume you will be all right.  So he thinks some more, and realizes that the glowing spots are places in our own world.  One of them is the University, and the other appears to be the doctor’s laboratory.  So with great effort he leaps in some way back into the doctor’s laboratory, and then throw the doctor himself through the window into the blackness.

So, does this sound at all familiar?  I’ve never been able to find it again.  I think of it as The Diving Board and the Black Window, but that’s probably not the name of it.


If you can find it, I would be so happy!

303B: The dead man’s childhood mementos

I am 66 years old, but when I was in elementary school in Mountain View, CA, I read a short story in some reading textbook (probably from the 1950s) that I have thought about ever since. It was a “Western”. I do not remember the story’s title, but there was an illustration showing a rough-looking man in black who was an outlaw and who was being hunted by a sheriff (I think for murder).

The outlaw made it to a place where he had buried what the reader was led to believe was a treasure box. When he was killed, and the authorities opened the box, it was filled with the dead man’s little childhood mementos.

There was an illustration of the open box as well.

It had a profound effect on me, and I would love to be able to read it again.


302M: Gray binding and Wild Swans

I am trying to identify and purchase a copy of a children’s lit anthology I had as a child. The copy I had was hardcover, gray binding with a bright green repeating motif on the cover. Among the stories included was HC Andersen’s “The Wild Swans.” There was another story about a princess sent to live with a family that had five girls whose last names ended in “-belle,” and a youngest sister Echo.

301X: Shoes that looked like ballet slippers and a string of pearls

The book that I have been unsuccessfully searching for is a book of short stories for girls that was published in the mid 1960’s.  I recall purchasing it at a school book fair, most likely in junior high.  The stories were mostly coming of age stories for teenage girls.  One story told of a girl who did not fit in in high school, and she wanted new clothes that she believed would help.  I remember she wanted to buy “shoes that look like ballet slippers and a string of pearls.  I seem to recall that she also played the piano.  Another story was about a girl who felt very unattractive and her dad said something to the effect of she was not a pretty girl but she was going to be a beautiful woman.  I have searched for this collection of short stories for many years and have found many collections, but not this particular one.  I would be very grateful if you might have any information about this elusive book.  Thank you for any suggestions you may have.

301V: Two girls and a worm monster

For years I’ve thought about a short story I read some time between 1997 and 2007.  I’d estimate 2000 – 2006.  I imagine it was in Harpers, Atlantic, or New Yorker.  I’ve never been able to find it.

In the story there are two girls.  I think English, maybe Canadian.  They are in the woods and they see some horrible creature.  I think a worm, a giant worm.

Then it’s 60 years later and the narrator sees the girl, now all grown up, at a sight-seeing visit.

The atmosphere really affected me.  I was reminded of Alice Munro and then I suppose later of “My Brilliant Friend” by Ferrante.

I can’t find it because googling ‘worm’ or ‘monster’ or ‘two girls’ gives too many silly hits.

Any sleuths out there?

293J: Domination of other by using weakness as a status symbol (Solved)

Science fiction short story where one planet maintains control of another by elevating some people to power on the subject planet. These elevated people have hereditary obsessive compulsive disorder which sets them apart from the common people and also disables them from actually leading their people who are then subjected to producing for the benefit of the alien overlords. The main character’s obsession is to follow a wood grain pattern. It takes her all day and she is exhausted from it. Somehow she meets a commoner and discovers that she might live a different life. I’ve tried very hard to find the story but no luck so far.

293H: A Hole and Three

A book or possibly short story about 3 elves and a hole in the wall that speaks to them.

This story was read to the class by my third grade teacher at Hubbell School in Des Moines, IA, in 1949.  I remember that we were entranced by it and insisted on making it into a drama.  For our play the “elves” dressed in red long johns and the boy (Kenneth Brown) who devised the “hole” was cast in that role.  I would be grateful if someone could direct me to it because I don’t remember the story and would like to see whether, as an adult,  I can fathom what it was that charmed us so.

293G: Dell

A boy opens his eyes and begins to see Not a book, but a short story I read in 1959 in sophomore English, a slight “a-boy-goes-on-a -journey” kind of story and the first piece of literature in which I recognized myself and one that I still recall with goosebumps. I think it was named “Dell,” the name of an adolescent boy living on a Midwestern farm. He is awakened one summer night by distant honky-tonk music coming through his bedroom window, a foreign intrusion into his otherwise quiet life. Arising, he goes outside looking for its source. Following the sound, he crosses several dark fields, climbs a small hill and looks out in the distance to see, far away but close enough to clearly discern a highway truck stop, ablaze with tall lights and neon signs, like a light-bomb on the black prairie floor. Some rigs are parked, their radios blaring; others are pulling out into the night with the shafts of their headlights illuminating their journey into the darkness, going—where? That’s what Dell wants to know, with an immediacy, an insistence previously unknown to him. From that story to a degree in English several years later. It was my “first step” in the journey and I would love to recover it if possible. Any help would be sincerely appreciated.