i'm like a nightmare bookstore customer
December 13, 2012 12:12 AM   Subscribe

Can the hive help me identify two books I barely remember?

a) One was a novel I read not too long ago. I'd say all details are iffy, in the sense that I think you could safely eliminate any one of them (e.g. the sisters might not have been twins). The protagonists were twin sisters in a very strange town and someone in the town was obsessively building a popsicle-stick model of the town and I think maybe someone (one of the sisters or the model-builder) worked at a post office. I remember this being a strange little story and to be honest I can't even recall if I liked it. I think maybe the sisters drifting apart was a key element (maybe due to one of them becoming interested in the model builder?).

b) The second book was a children's book my mother read to me, and she can't recall what it was, and it's been bugging me for decades. This would have been in the eighties, that she read it to me, although it wasn't necessarily new, then. I think the story was about a little boy who floats away on a regular children's balloon (meaning this is NOT James and the Giant Peach) to a weird little land with talking animals and maybe strange goblin people and whatnot. And I think he had many adventures in this place (meaning the premise was a framework for individual stories) but he was also preoccupied with how to get home, which might have been difficult because he no longer had the balloon. It was illustrated, although I think it was largely prose. I want to say that she read me a hardcover with a yellow dust jacket, but I could definitely be mixing that up with something else, and unless you had the same edition, that's likely a useless detail.

maybe one of the friends was a badger?
posted by neuromodulator to Media & Arts (7 answers total)
Aside from the balloon, b could be My Father's Dragon.
posted by Xalf at 12:17 AM on December 13, 2012

The second one sounds like Nigel Hinton's 'Beaver Towers' series, which I also read in the 80s. Boy called Phillip is blown away on a kite, and there's definitely magic and talking animals - I definitely remember my copy being illustrated.
posted by Catseye at 12:38 AM on December 13, 2012

I almost wondered at first if book a) was Her Fearful Symmetry, by Audrey Niffenegger. But that book is odd and I suspect you'd remember the Victorian themes.
posted by Nemtynakht at 10:29 AM on December 13, 2012

Loooooooong shot, but is A The Shadow Year, by Jeffrey Ford?

It could also be The Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce, though I think you'd remember the werewolves.
posted by wintersonata9 at 12:57 PM on December 13, 2012

No matches so far, but I appreciate the effort.
posted by neuromodulator at 2:08 PM on December 13, 2012

The first one is Alva & Irva: The Twins Who Saved a City by Edward Carey.
posted by emmling at 6:11 AM on December 14, 2012

Yes! Thank you. That's correct.
posted by neuromodulator at 10:06 AM on December 14, 2012

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