292U: Mr. Down Stomps the Keystone (Solved)

A children’s book from the 1970s or earlier. I am not sure of the title but it might be ‘Mr. Down’ or include the words ‘Mr. Down’. The setting is possibly medieval England. Townspeople are trying to build churches to pray in but every time they complete one, Mr. Down (a little troll-like guy or gremlin type character) comes in the night to stomp on the roof and destroy the church. They go through several designs all of which Mr. Down stomps on until they finally design an arch with a ‘keystone’ at the top. This is a classic Gothic style arch and no matter how much  Mr. Down stomps, it will not collapse. I used to check this book out of a small Methodist church library in North Carolina every single summer of my childhood.  It would mean the WORLD to me to find this book again.

 

292R: Betty Realizes her Dream to Become an Author (Solved)

The book I want to find is titled Betty. It may have a subtitle, but I can’t recall it. I read this several times from cover to cover before I was 12, and oddly can’t recall the name of the author, but it made a great impression on me. I had found in my grandmother’s home, and I never knew who, from among the family, was the original owner/reader. The volume went missing when I was at college.

I infer that Betty was set in Australia, because when the young woman who is the protagonist and title character goes to the big city to make her way, I recall it was “Sydney”. Betty was one of several siblings, and with her twin, Cyril, the next born after Dot (for Dorothy). She had a tempestuous relationship with one of the younger ones, Nancy, made more difficult since the loss of their mother and Dot’s job away from the home put Betty in the role of surrogate mother and homemaker. Betty judged herself very harshly for the unkempt condition of the house and children, who ran amuck while Betty spent long hours writing fiction. Their father was at with them in the home, and very loving but not about very much. At one point, one of the small children went missing for several hours before being found unhurt, and Betty so blamed herself that she conducted a midnight funeral ceremony to bury her writing materials “forever”. For a while, the children were regularly bathed and the house neatly maintained. Not long after, she dug up her writing materials and resumed her writing. By some luck, she was offered a writing job in Sydney, where she went to live in a flat and had an adventure.

My guess at to the era the book was written and published would be the 1930’s. There are just a few clues in the transportation and communication as described in the book, and the well-worn cloth-bound style, paper and fonts.

292J: Wise Old Owl (Solved)

I don’t know the title or author; it was a children’s book for preschoolers that was read to me more than 80 years ago. One of the characters was a wise old owl who sat in a tree, saying, “I am thinking important thoughts I didn’t have time to think yesterday.” this line has been quoted in my family ever since to anyone who was staring into space, daydreaming.  I have long wondered what the book was.  Thanks for any help you can provide.

292F: Boy teaches children to fly (Solved)

I believe I read this book in the mid-1960s from the school library. A new boy shows up in the community and, over the course of the summer, teaches all of his classmates to fly. Spoiler alert: it turns out he is actually a bird temporarily in boy form, and when he leaves at the end of the summer (presumably to migrate), one of the girls (maybe a loner who has no family?) goes with him, as a bird. I don’t think it’s the girl from whose point of view the story is told, but that’s possible. The title that sticks in my head, but which I think is wrong, is That Summer, the Birds. THANK YOU!!!

291Q: Selfish Girl Loses Candies and Finds New Friends (Solved)

This book would be from mid-late 1950s. Color illustrations throughout, done in a painterly style. A girl (with pigtails?) named (Belinda?) gets some money somehow. She sneaks off to the penny candy store to spend it and doesn’t want any of the other children to see her. In the old-fashioned candy store, they wrap her purchases up in a brown paper cone. As she runs home to avoid the others, the candies fall out one by one. The neighborhood children pick them up and return them to her. She learns about selfishness and makes new friends. I think she is wearing an old-fashioned coat with muff. I tried to find this book when my daughter was little, to no avail.

291L: I’ll be the mommy (Solved)

The title is something like, “I’ll Be The Mommy and You’ll be The Little Girl”or vice versa.  It also may include “I’ll be the Daddy, you be the Little Boy,” (or vice versa as well.)  The book is from the early 1980’s, I think, suitable for early primary children.  It is two stories in one book  The first part is about a mommy and little girl going for an outing and they change roles briefly.  If they book is turned over and similar story involves a daddy and a little boy doing the same thing.  In the middle of the book is a two page illustration of the parents and the boy and girl meeting up in the home…just adorable.  It is nicely illustrated and while I don’t see it listed on any Sesame Street lists, the illustrations of the characters remind me of that company’s type of drawing.

291J: Boy befriends man with a donut cart (Solved)

I read this book in maybe 1978. Black and white Illustrations with hidden objects throughout, like a giraffe under a man’s hat, etc. A boy runs away from home and befriends a man who sells donuts from a cart on the street. The donut salesman falls in love with a woman who has a pretzel cart and this makes the runaway boy jealous. Then a bull escapes from a pet store and runs into a giant tank of coffee, which the boy is sure to drown in as he gets trapped in a basement filling with coffee. The donut salesman saves the boy by dumping all his donuts in the coffee. The boys goes home at the end.