Category Archives: Unsolved

373Z: Southwestern Gothic Romance Tragedy

I am looking for a book written before 1978.  The storyline is that a man from the Northeast travels to the Southwest because he has a lung ailment.  He is of modest means when he arrives at his new home but over time becomes wealthy and successful.  He becomes the owner of a Hacienda, not just of a large house but basically the owner of a large cattle ranching operation.  He marries a beautiful Hispanic woman who is much younger than he is.  She later betrays him with a young American cowboy.  The workers on the Hacienda learn what has happened and they let the hero know that they will kill the Cowboy if that is what he wants.  The hero of the story decides that he loves both his friend and his young wife (whom he feels guilty for marrying) and decides to spare the lovers.  However, the shame of the situation means that he must abandon his home and much of the great wealth he has accumulated. 

When the man first arrived in town he had almost nothing.  When he leaves, even though he is abandoning great wealth, he is riding a very expensive horse on a saddle with silver buckles, silver spurs, etc.  He is armed and has money in his saddlebags.  The idea is that despite all he is losing he is much better off than when he arrived.  The only relatively precise quote that I can remember from the book is: “Ten years is only an long time at the beginning or very end of a man’s life.”

This book may have been a Readers Digest Condensed book.  It may also have been written by a Mexican author and translated or an American author with ties to the Southwest and the Hispanic community.  The cultural norms play a large role in the book.

I read this book between 1972 and 1978.

373Y: Black Ghost on Halloween and Adventures in the City

Here is what I remember: In the early 1970’s I read a book about a girl (possibly named Ginny?) and it was a young teen/adult chapter book.  The girl does a number of fun things, like making her own Halloween costume.  I think she called it a black ghost.  She dyed fabric black and made strips of fabric that flew out as she spun around.  In another part she goes to the “city” with her dad.  Seems like it was around the Holidays and she eats clams with spicy sauce and talks about how they slip down her throat.  I wish I could remember more!  I loved that book so much and have lately been craving books from my youth.  It would have appealed to girls from 5th grade on.  

373X: One Fine Grandpa?

This was a children’s book where the grandpa lives with his grandkids (for some reason I think he lives above their garage?) and is starting to get dementia. He keeps insisting nothing is wrong with him- he just has a sinus infection? I thought the book was called One Fine Grandpa. I remember reading this book in the 1990’s and early 2000’s. 

373W: The Magic Old Couple

Book about a Magic Old Couple. It was printed before 1974. An old magical man and wife help some children. The kids enter a gate to visit the old man and woman in their back garden. The lady pours them lemonade from a pitcher that is never empty and the ice cubes never melt. That’s all I have. It was read to us by our 1st or 3rd grade teacher in either 1971 or 1973 ish

373U: Vintage Picture Book, Kitten cleans room to find rain gear so he can play in the rain with his friends

Kitten wants to play in the rain with two friends, but he has to clean his room to find his rain gear, which includes, boots, hat, jacket. His friends check in on him and help him clean, they even find a sail boat that they can play with in the puddles. The book is NOT the obvious Three Kittens, Rainy-Day Kitten, etc. . . been searching for years now. I think it was published sometime between 1940s-1990s, And I want to say it had a beige/yellow/tan cover with a spot illustration.

373T: Zen Koans for Young Adults

This was a book I purchased for my elementary school library in the mid 90’s through early 2000’s.  I think it was published in 94 or 95.  It was a slender black hardcover book with white lettering (I think) about 21.6 cm x 16.5 cm.  I don’t remember a cover image but if there was one it was a simple line drawing.

I think one or more of the keywords Japan, Japanese, stories, koans, or zen were in the title or prologue.  It had brief stories (one page or less).

Here are two I remember:
*The master pours tea in a student’s cup, but the cup is full so what the master poured spills over the sides.
*The master and student are walking down a muddy road.  They encounter a woman standing before a muddy muddle.  The master carries the woman to the other side of the puddle, puts her down, and he and the student trudged on.  After many minutes the student blurts (something like) “Master why did you carry that woman?  You know (avoiding women?) is part of our practice. The master replied that he carried the woman but a few steps but the student was still carrying her.
I’ve scrolled through what seems like millions of hits for Zen and koans with no luck. It was written for young people (5th-adult?) according to my search tools.  It was not in a picture book format like the Muth books. And it pre-dates them by many years.

373R: Wizard with a floating kettle

I read a book in the 1980s, or possibly even very early 1990s, but the book may have been published long before then. All I remember about it is that there is a scene where a tea kettle is hovering behind a wizard, and the wizard says something about it keeping the water “just at the boil”. I think the character who stumbles upon this wizard becomes his apprentice, or the two travel together, or something, and I believe the sorcerer/wizard/whatever he was is in a clearing in a forest. Formulaic, I know, could be describing a hundred fantasy books – except for that teapot that is consistently at the boiling point! Help?

373Q: Looking for the title of a book: Stories of the Garden Gates in the Tower Room

I am looking for the title of a book that had belonged to my mother and was in our home library. It was probably sent to her by her librarian aunt, so probably published in the 1930s, but could be older.

The story is about a boy who goes into a tower room & stares at the gates in the wallpaper, a gate opens and he imagines himself in a story behind that gates. They aren’t many gates because the wallpaper was cut quite a bit to fit around the windows in the small round room.

He lived with his aunt.

He was sad when went to the tower  room. He might have been sent there as a reprimand or he might have gone there of his own accord, or both. 

I think that each gate was a virtue and the story that unfolded in the world behind that gate exemplified that virtue.

373P: Dog Learns Colors

Hoping you can help me remember my favorite children’s book, here we go. 
Title: Don’t remember but going with “Dog Learns Colors”
Details: I was born in 1997, and this is a book meant for preschool to kindergarten kids. I’m guessing it’s a late 90s (maybe earlier) or early 2000s book.
I can’t remember the cover well but I believe the dog was like a terrier, mostly whitish with maybe a spot or some brown fur. In the short picture book, each page is dedicated to a color and the dog then wears clothes matching and does an activity matching as well. I remember for yellow he wore a yellow raincoat and for purple I think there was some purple grape jam involved. I want to say for the color black the dog appeared as a mime maybe? I remember black and white stripes. I believe the plot involved trying to decide what his favorite color was.
The style used for the illustrations was unique, the pictures were simple and used minimal detail. I want to say they were a type of watercolor, the children’s book “Where’s Your Creativity?” is drawn in a similar style but it’s not quite it. I included a picture. Wishing you luck, thanks!

373O: Primer featuring a little fairy/brownie

I am looking for a copy of the first book I ever read (I have been looking for it since 1995 without success). What I remember is:
– I was born in 1960 and started reading in 1963. We were poor and the only books we had were from my father (born in 1940) so the book would have been 1920-1940s for when he went to school in 1945.
– I remember the color of the book had a dark sandy brown cover and had the words “first primer” or “young reader” on the cover. Primer figured prominently on the cover and/or title page but I cannot remember the exact wording. I think there was a square illustration on the cover but am not sure.
– There were stories, poems, and I think a musical score at the center of the book. The main story involved a little brownie (fairy/sprite) with a red cap, with squirrels for friends/neighbors. The illustrations were only two to three colors, red and brown primarily.
– I have been looking for this book for approximately 30 years. off and on, without success. Other books in the similar time frames come close but they are not the one. The closest ones in style, illustration, and structure are The Work-Play Books Make and Make Believe by Gates and Huber and The Children’s Own Readers Book Two by Ginn and Co. circa 1920s.
I grew up in Norwalk, CT in the 60’s if that helps in any way.