Lost bedtime story book from the 1980's
February 28, 2011 5:55 AM   Subscribe

Calling all Librarians! I am in need of your superpowers. :-) I can not remember the title and author of my favorite childhood story book. I have a one-year-old son who absolutely loves reading. It would mean so much to me to share these with him. Please help!

Now for the details I do remember....

I assume the copyright date is 1979-1988 which is the range of when I read it. It had a red cover (don’t they all!)… and a picture of a bear family on the front. The book contains all original stories (no well known fairy tales.) It is divided into two sections. Each story is a few pages long with illustrations.

The first few stories center around a family of bears. In the story I best remember, each of the bear children tries to select a gift for their Mother or sister (can't remember), but one bear child spends all his money on candy for himself. There are also other animals featured. I remember a story about a wolf trying to capture a little girl bunny when she is playing blind man's bluff with her friends.

The second half of the book features magical creatures like pixies and gnomes in the forest. I think there is a story about laundry day. There is a big party at the end with all the creatures in the woods, and one of the little boys makes a crutch for the scarecrow so he can leave the field and join everyone.

I've posted this question on several other sites, with no success. I will be in complete awe of anyone who can figure this out!
posted by JJMOM to Writing & Language (19 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Any chance it's by Richard Scarry? The first part (animals, short stories, lessons) sounds a lot like him and I think i can picture the rabbit. His style is distinctive and there are a zillion books featuring his work in various combinations. See if his illustrations look familiar.
posted by carmicha at 6:15 AM on February 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for taking the time to read my plea for help! LOL. I actually own a worn out copy of Richard Scarry's Best Word Book Ever. I don't think the illustration style is the same as the book I am looking for, but I will take a second look at all the Scarry story anthologies to make sure.
posted by JJMOM at 6:56 AM on February 28, 2011

The second part very much brings to mind Gnomes, one of my favorite childhood books, but it doesn't seem that the author or the illustrator came out with anything combining bears and gnomes. Do those illustrations look familiar?

I recall some of the stories including bears, but it's been 15 years and my copies of the Gnome books are on the opposite side of the globe, so I can't check, sorry. From the Google image results, I wonder if I'm not confusing trolls with bears, however :)
posted by fraula at 7:16 AM on February 28, 2011

The bear family stuff at least sounds like the Berenstain Bears - does that look familiar?
posted by Catseye at 7:18 AM on February 28, 2011

The mixing of bears and pixies/gnomes sounds a little like the UK newspaper serial Rupert, which is sometimes available bound in book form - but I don't know that series well enough to know if it was in print at the specified time or ever contained a story line like what you're referring to.
posted by richyoung at 7:41 AM on February 28, 2011

Response by poster: Ok.. I'm sure it's not by Richard Scarry. The illustrations from my book are different. Less cutesy and silly. I'll see if I can locate some examples of a similar style. Also not a Berenstain bear book.
posted by JJMOM at 8:29 AM on February 28, 2011

Response by poster: The Gnome book is beautiful, but not the one I'm looking for. My book contains short stories and is not in guide format. I may buy it from Amazon though, it looks like a wonderful book!
posted by JJMOM at 8:35 AM on February 28, 2011

Response by poster: Not Rupert either. My bears were brown. :-) But what a great suggestion. Good to know there is another author out there that mixed bears and pixies together!

I'm so impressed with the quality of answers I am receiving. You guys are truly amazing!! Please keep them coming. I have hope for the first time in months that this mystery will be solved.
posted by JJMOM at 8:43 AM on February 28, 2011

Have you tried your local library? Some libraries have live librarians on their website for these kinds of questions.
posted by majortom1981 at 8:51 AM on February 28, 2011

The story you describe sounds a lot like A Birthday For Francis.
posted by NoraReed at 9:46 AM on February 28, 2011

The Faraway Tree?
posted by Sassyfras at 12:58 PM on February 28, 2011

This site may be useful - there's a Stump the Bookseller section (with some questions very similar to yours), and one on Anthologies.
posted by peagood at 1:54 PM on February 28, 2011

Oh! And do consider that you may have had an older book that was re-published under a different cover at the time you remember it. If you scroll down on the Anthologies page, the Giant Golden Book of Elves and Fairies has stories with titles that bring to mind your question. I'm often surprised how old some of the stories I remember from my childhood are, because I never realized that many of my books were vintage even thirty or more years ago!
posted by peagood at 2:06 PM on February 28, 2011

Oh! And, again, you might want to see if anything by Enid Blyton rings a bell. She does have many many many collections of stories, featuring all those sorts of kids and fantastical characters (including a scarecrow) and they were often re-published, sometimes with contemporary illustrators.
posted by peagood at 2:38 PM on February 28, 2011

Best answer: One of the top results for bears and pixies was "Fireside Tales: bed-time stories of pixies and teddy bears":

The description by this bookseller suggests that it might be the book you're looking for:

No pictures of the cover turned up, but you can see some of her illustrations at the following two sites:
posted by derforsher at 7:16 PM on February 28, 2011

Best answer: going off of derforsher's find - I found a picture of the cover (and it's red!!) here on ebay.
posted by Sassyfras at 7:47 PM on February 28, 2011

(scroll down to see the pic)
posted by Sassyfras at 7:49 PM on February 28, 2011

Best answer: Here's one on Etsy.
posted by Sassyfras at 7:51 PM on February 28, 2011

Response by poster: Oh my goodness! I can not believe you found my book! I am soo happy!! It is Fireside Tales. I cried when I saw the cover picture. I have so many great memories of this book. I read it just about every night when I was a child. When my parents moved, it was somehow lost in the shuffle. I can't wait to snuggle with my son at bedtime and read this precious book.

Thank you to everyone who submitted answers to this question. I actually posted this question on the Abebook site and Loganberry bookstumper, and no one could figure it out! You people are the best of the best!

Derforsher and Sassyfras.....you are my heroes. I can not thank you enough. I wish I could hug you both. Please know you have made a new Mom and her little boy very happy. You are truly.... truly.... amazing!
posted by JJMOM at 5:40 AM on March 1, 2011

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