Monday, May 25, 2009

Childbook Reading, part 3

If you happen to know or suspect what any of the unnamed books in this post are or who they're by, I would love to know.

The Hardy Boys. I read far too many of these, along with some Nancy Drew and Tom Swift, before realizing a deadly secret: they're all the same.

Pineapple Place. I remember little about this other than the name. When I checked recently, only the sequel was still in the library system.

Those Morgana books. I don't remember the title or author, but some children stumble upon a house full of mirrors. When a spell involving moonlight is worked, the mirrors became portals to another world, with the nice touch that on the other side you would appear however your reflection did here. Magic, originally contained in gemstones (if I recall), had been divided up into staffs of different ranks. There was a nasty game of questions in a dark basement. Someone is killed by shattering a mirror as he was passing through it. And one of the girls becomes Morgana's apprentice.

These books were really quite dark. I suspect I stopped reading them more or less intentionally, which is probably why I can't find them again now. Do I really want to? (This was probably somewhere between 3rd and 5th grade.)

Goosebumps. I also consider this wasted time now, although I suppose I know I don't like horror. I had a friend in second grade who had practically all of them and lent them to me.

Asimov, Norby and sequels. Who can forget this cute barrel shaped robot, hyperspace, ancient aliens named after Renaissance painters, and alternate universes? Probably my first sci fi.

Another unnamed book about a girl who was turned to stone either at the beginning or end. I think she was accepting of it which made it merely melancholy instead of terrible. There may have been a smog monster involved but I suspect I got it confused with another book.

Another unnamed book about some kids who fight aliens who have no creativity. There's a magic remote and Baba Yaga, too! I think the title was an acronym but I'm not sure exactly what it was. Something about geeks or nerds saving earth? The aliens may have been shaped like trash cans but that doesn't seem quite right.

The Falcon and the Serpent, by Cheryl A. Smith. Someone is stealing the souls of a kingdom's children: they go to sleep and never wake up. I particularly remember the trap set for the protagonist: he must choose to die for what he believes or, avoiding death, spurn his beliefs. From what I recall, this book had enough threads in the background that there could easily have been more set in this world, but Google finds nothing.


Anonymous said...

The People of Pineapple Place by Anne Morrow Lindberg was one of my little sister's favorite book's as a child (for which I feel some glee, as I gave it to her) My favorite book by this author is actually Osprey Island: Carmarogalie retne island forever!

The Goosebumps series are by R.L. Stine: Meh.

The stone book might by Court of the Stone Children by Eleanor Cameron.

The Falcon and the Serpent is listed on Amazon. I can't do this at home, but at work I (or most librarians with WorldCat access) can find out if Cheryl A. Smith wrote anything else in this series and Inter-Library-Loan (ILL) it for you.

Serendiptiously, I just read another author's blogpost about how L.J. Smith was "her Twilight" when she was a teen: reading your post reminded me of the mirror-world series she wrote. here's the Amazon link to The Night of the Solstice which may be the "Morgana" books you remember. I'm afraid I only read/skimmed L.J. Smith for readers' advisory purposes: I'm not terribly big on horror, myself.

Joshua said...

I've never read or heard of Osprey Island; I'll have to check it out.

It's possible I read the Eleanor Cameron one (I did read several of the Mushroom Planet books) but it doesn't sound quite right from the brief summaries I'm finding. I think (but am not quite sure) the stone girl in mine wasn't quite human. The reviews of the Cameron one on Amazon are quite stunning (or perhaps just stunned), though, so I'll try to check that out too.

For some reason the stone book is connected in my memory to another book which I think involved ancient libraries, people with telepathy living in caves, and people from space with whom they could communicate via telepathy... only the space-people's was much faster, possibly because it was done by computers? They might only be connected because I read them around the same time.

I did just find another book by Cheryl Smith under the name Cher Smith... from PublishAmerica. My guess is anything else she's written will be under yet another name.

Night of the Solstice looks extremely likely to be the book I remember, together with the sequel. From what the Amazon reviewers say these aren't really horror, although from what I remember they are fairly dark.

Joshua said...

I finally read The Court of the Stone Children last night and it's definitely not the book I remember, but it struck me as a fairly thoughtful children's book. It would also be quite hard to classify: mystery? ghost story? coming of age? The plot is almost incidental, a way for the author to show the various relationships Nina develops with people in her new home (and a sweet French ghost).