291V: Fox Trapped in a Smokehouse

This is a book of interconnected short stories. It was an oversized hardcover book with full-page text and color illustrations, meant for an older reader. The stories all concern a community of animals who live in the woods adjacent to a farm. I’m fairly sure the title of the collection has the name of the animals’ home in it — maybe the lake they all live around, or the name of the woods, or the name of the farm? The book was published in the 80s or 90s. Each short story ends with a well-known moral or saying. I think there is a story about a badger or raccoon who is sick of it all at home and doesn’t want to get out of bed. There might be a story about an animal collecting (quail?) eggs that then get destroyed or eaten — the moral is don’t count your chickens before they hatch (or don’t put all your eggs in one basket?). The story I remember most is about a fox (perhaps the main character in the book) who gets trapped in the farmer’s smokehouse. He sneaks in to steal some of the farmer’s ham (I think?) and gets his leg stuck in a claw trap or gets locked in, and he has to beg another of the animals to help him escape before the farmer finds out and shoots him with his shotgun. In one of the later stories, I think the fox runs away from the animal community. I loved this book as a kid but can’t seem to work my Google magic to identify it! Thanks in advance to all you sleuths out there!

290D: A fairy for every color

I am looking for a children’s book that I used to read in the late 1980’s – early 1990’s that includes multiple short stories. I remember that there was a short story near the end of the book that involved fairies and the aurora borealis. There was a fairy for every color and one dark/black fairy that would try to story the colors. Every night the color fairies would form the aurora borealis and the dark fairy would try to stop them. The story ends by saying that this repeats every night. The main focus was on the aurora borealis. Unfortunately, this is all that I remember. I do remember that the illustrations were very colorful.

I appreciate any information you might have!

284B: An unsettling short story

At some point 15-25 years ago, I read a short story that I wanted to find for my son to read.  I have googled like mad but cannot find it.  Here is what I remember:

Set in a dystopian future, a couple puts on some special skin suits so they can have relations.  Then they discuss their desire to adopt a child and how they found a broker who can help them.  You learn that what children there are are wild and live outside the city. They drive out of the city into some ruined/abandoned area where the broker, an old man, is waiting at an old parking garage.  In the end, it is the wild kids who control the broker, not the other way around and they have used this ruse to lure the couple into their trap.

I so hope you can put me out of my misery.  These are the things that wake me up at night!

283H: Don’t Jump in the Puddles

I believe the book was named, ” Don’t jump in the puddles.”  I do remember some of the verbiage.  “It was a rainy, rainy day, but I wanted go out and play.  Mom said okay, but don’t jump in the puddles.  I walked through the puddles, I ran through the puddles, I even stuck my hands in the puddles, but I did not jump in the puddles.”

It was a blue paperback children’s short story.

Mid to late 90s.

261A: A collection of children’s tales

I remember two books of short stories, a part one and two though I cannot remember any part of the titles. They were hardcover and fairly large, the spines were at least half an inch thick. One was blue and one was yellow, and the books were illustrated in color. The biggest problem I have had in searching for them is that the stories I remember are not ones I have heard anywhere else. It is very possible that they contain well know stories as well, but I cannot be sure. One story has some humble person who needs something from a kingly man. The man likes riddles and makes a riddle something like, you must come back here not on foot or on horseback, not clothed but not naked, and not empty handed or with a gift. A little girl (his daughter I believe) solves this riddle by coming back riding a hare, wearing a fishing net, and holding a bird. I remember a picture of that scene. I think it was actually a second riddle, I don’t remember the first part. Another story I remember less of has a misbehaving boy who takes a deep breath through his mouth and inhales a tiny man (or two possibly). The man or creature talks to him and I cannot remember if he was good or bad but the boy stops misbehaving (possibly yelling too much) in the end.


I cannot remember anything else at the moment. but hopefully you all will have more luck that I have so far.

Thank you!

260A: Shorts stories with biblical references

I’m looking for a collection of short stories, possibly by Saul Bellow.

The book may have chapter headings which are names of Bible books, such as Job, Exodus, Psalms, etc). The collection may include a humorous story about a man on a ledge, ready to jump, but he keeps moving, and so do the well-meaning people down below who are ready to catch and help him.

259C: Young adult book of short stories from 80’s

My father was a middle school teacher, and I believe he brought this book home for me as he did with so many.  I believe this would have been classified YA maybe 5th grade and up?


(Stories are not in order, just as I think of them)


  1. a girl who went into the ocean and a shark bumped the back of her leg but didn’t bite her.  Narration was that sharks bite some people but not others, based on smell, etc.
  2. a boy in school was always lying to his classmates.  One of his lies was to say his parents belonged to the circus.  One day he disappeared from school and when they asked, they were told his parents came to take him back with them to the circus.
  3. A girl was delivering newspapers in a storm and she got swept into a drainpipe where she was holding on for her life.
  4. Someone was out on a boat on a lake and met a man who turned out to be a ghost (I think).
  5. A boy was skiing down a mountain, not paying attention, and the mountain was talking to him.  Then because he wasn’t paying attention, I think he fell and broke his leg.
  6. A boy found a pair of boots on a street corner, put them on, and the boots made him run without being able to stop.
  7. Someone walked into a café (I think) and began talking to someone else (someone had crutches).  When the older boy got up to leave, the other person noticed that he was missing a leg.


*There were definitely black and white illustrations.


I have been searching for this book for over 15 years – I surely hope you can help me!


257B: Children’s bedtime story about a man called Harum Scarum

The book was either published in the 1970-1980’s I believe, since late 1970’s was when I read it. It was a children’s story about Harum Scarum, an old man that was known by the children to be mean. Harum Scarum became nice and gave the children his candy. It was a beautiful short story about how the man was a good person, but just because the kids thought he was mean, they didn’t interact with him. They found out he was a nice person when he gifted them candy. If I’m not mistaken, the setting was a farm or the outskirts of town. The story was in a book that had several bedtime stories in it. I can’t find the title of the book or the name of the story. Any help will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!