When I was a child in the 80s, there was an old picture book at the public library. It had no text, but it took place in a kind of fairy tale castle on some other planet. If I remember correctly, each scene followed two children as they explored the castle. They may have been following a piece of yarn that eventually led them to where their mother sat knitting in one of the castle rooms or towers. There may have been a sort of robotic-looking cat playing with the yarn at some point. I remember the artwork as being full color paintings like you find with 1960s scifi book covers or movie posters.
Several years ago I was trawling through Wikipedia lists, and I believe while on some list of ‘greatest books’ (but I cannot recall which one) I came across a book that at the time I didn’t really give a second thought but later I became fascinated by. The details are as follows. It was written I think sometime in the 1880s or 1890s, and I believe by an Italian (though this is tentative). However, it’s setting may have been ‘Central Asia’ in the general and indistinct sense. The framing was that there was some very large fortress that was on the edge of a desert and the main character is serving there, with some sort of army. What I think was what struck me later is that it wasn’t exactly supposed to be the Russian army (which is what one would expect, as the Russian conquest of Central Asia was just wrapping up at this point, and there were indeed several fortresses, as inane as it sounds to say), but it was just ‘an army’. Furthermore, the Wikipedia page described it as a novel about futility and hopelessness, and vaguely anti-war. These things all further intrigued me, later on, as I came to reflect that it at once reminded me of Kafka’s The Castle, Mervyn Peake’s Gormeghast, and Bowles’ The Sheltering Sky.
There was an image associated with the Wikipedia article as well, but I cannot recall if it was a cover or an illustration. At any rate I shall try to describe it. It seemed to be set at night, and there was a eerie olive-dark-greenish hue to it all. It seemed to be done in a hazy sort of pastel way. The image itself was very reminiscent of this (link embedded) illustration of the British retreat from the first Anglo-Afghan war, so much that I am worried in fact I am filling this in artificially. On the left side of the image there was a large fortress, set probably half way up the page, on a rocky outcropping. Down below, on the right side, on what looks like a small road, there was a small silhouetted figure on a horse that was rearing up on its hind legs. This figure and their horse only occupied the smallest part of the page. Beyond them, on the right side, the desert stretched off “ringed by the flat horizon only”. The ‘right’ and ‘left’ sides may be flipped, but I am fairly certain of the features and relations of this composition.
That is as much as I can recall of this book. I would be very grateful if you could find it for me, but please do not put any pressure on yourself to find it.
During my childhood, my family lived in Gloucester, Virginia from 1968 to 1971. My sister and I both remember a book we had out from the Gloucester Library at the time, but we have no memory of the title. It was a children’s story with two children, I think a boy and girl, probably brother and sister, exploring a mysterious castle or tower. The book was hardbound in green (may have had gold illustration in the binding) and was a somewhat tall rectangular shape but not too thick. There were illustrations inside in black and white, I believe. Unfortunately, that’s all we can remember. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you!
I have a book I read in 6th grade, which was around 1992. The book itself could have been older, like 1980s. It was a definite Young Adult book even if that didn’t have the description at that time. It was about a Lady who was recently widowed, very young, who lived in a crumbling Tower (Castle). She may have had one servant. She had a Rose garden which I think was a big part of the book. A criminal possibly a thief or murderer arrives at the castle one day and stays essentially taking her hostage. I remember it was a romance. It was a really short story in a very thin book, it reminded me very strongly of “A Door in the Wall” just in terms of time. And may have been plague mentions I can’t remember. It also reminded me of Secret Garden, just because the Rose garden seemed to play a huge part in the story.
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!
Description: Likely published in 80s to early 90s. Educational content about prismatic light and rainbow colors. Illustrated story book. I remember it being hard cover, but may have been published both ways.
World is grey and wizard/magician/sorcerer brings prism to introduce light and color to the people. Takes children characters (more than one) on the journey to discover the colors of the rainbow throughout the world which may be better defined as a kingdom. I think there was a king and a castle involved.
I’ve located a similar book titled The Color Wizard by Barbara Brenner. It is very close to the story line, where there is a magical person painting the colors of the rainbow. In the book I’m searching for there are children and a prism is involved in the story. I don’t remember the magical one inhabiting the castle, but as a visitor.
Thank you to anyone who is able to contribute to finding this!
I’m trying to find a book that I read when I was in elementary school. Unfortunately, I don’t recall many helpful details about the book—including its title and author—but I do remember loving the book and recommending it to a non-reading friend who also loved it. I would very much like to find it so that I can buy it for my daughter.
The following is all I can remember about the book:
–It is a portal fantasy novel about a boy and possibly also a girl who somehow enter another world in order to help save a troubled kingdom or land (not very unique, I know).
–The plot involves a castle, mountains, wolves, and a race against time. Magical/mystical talking(?) wolves play a role in the book, from what I remember. I believe they were either the antagonists or the servants of the antagonist.
–From what I remember of the cover, it has a white border or partial border around it with a colorful collage of images from the book against a dark background. I believe that a castle, mountains, and wolves were all present in this cover collage.
–I checked out the book from my elementary school library when I was in either third or fourth grade, but I believe the target audience of the book is late elementary readers (4th to 6th grade?).
–I read this book in the mid-1980s (between 1983 and 1985?), so it was published prior to that.
–I do not think that it was recent publication at that time, though it wasn’t a very old book either. My guess is that it was published between 1950 and 1985—probably in the 1970s.
–It is a fairly long chapter book (perhaps 200 to 300 pgs?).
–The copy I checked out from my library had a small trim size, but was fairly thick with small type.
–It was written and published in English, probably either from the U.S. or England.
–It is a stand-alone novel, not part of a longer series.
–I do not believe it is a well-known or famous book. I have not, for example, run across it on lists of best fantasy novels of the 20th century.
–The title is strange, or, at the very least, not particularly appealing to an elementary school reader because I remember telling my non-reading friend to read it despite the odd title.
–I think the title might have the words in it like “nowhere,” “other,” “land,” or “world.”
–The letter “O” also stands out in my memory as an important part of the title.
I remember finding this in my elementary school library and haven’t found it since. I remember that its a picture book about a man who I think is down on his luck and he hears about an offer to stay at a haunted castle for a night and win money or something. I think I remember that he was pretty like chill through the whole night? And had like bread and cheese, and a horse or mule? I absolutely loved this book and I’ve been thinking about it on and off for several years at this point and I miss it.
I have used several other places, and have had no luck with this one.
It is a high fantasy type of book that takes place entirely in the fantasy world. It definitely seems like the beginning of a series. I vaguely remember it being written by a female Australian author and I believe it was published in the mid-later 1990s or early 2000’s. It was a trade paperback that I checked out from the library. The cover was a simple cover, not a complicated/traditional fantasy one.
It starts with a young woman working in her family’s inn/tavern and then she gets swept up with a prince who later gets imprisoned and who she frees at the end. At the beginning, she has a bad opinion of him, but then she travels to some place where he is getting ready for battle I think and gets to know him better. I believe there is magic based on elemental powers. I remember that she has to work with elemental beings, and they start learning to work together. At the end she ends up going to the castle where the prince is imprisoned and she frees him.
I’m looking to find a book from my childhood, and have now been through hundreds of internet pages. Hoping you might have a lead! All I remember really is:
- illustrated color paperback picture book, probably c. Late ‘60s- late ‘90s
- story about a group of siblings moving into or visiting a castle? Maybe just an old house with a tower
- a unicorn from a tapestry comes to life, and he is white with a beard. The children bring him down out of the tapestry.
Things I’m not sure of but seem familiar:
-something about a yellow bedroom
- maybe an illustration with one of the children looking behind the tapestry
Thank you! The Magic Tree house has a story with some similar elements, but that’s not quite it.