Please help me locate these books from childhood.
January 18, 2008 9:30 AM   Subscribe

Another books from childhood question. Can you help me find these two books? I remember them from the early 80's or so, U.S.

Book 1: A very well illustrated book. A kid gets a gift from his uncle(?) who's some sort of world traveler. The gift is a stone. It eventually hatches into some sort of tadpole/salamander type creature which grows quite big. So big that the kid has to sneak it out of the house into a local gymnasium swimming pool where he goes and visits it. It keeps growing and he eventually has to get rid of it and I can't remember how it happens. The uncle sends him another gift, another stone, which hatches into some sort of pterodactyl creature. The book had illustrations on one page and writing on the opposite page.

Book 2: Another illustrated book. This one may be a little tougher. The artist created several children's halloween books. The monsters were large and cartoonish, a little scary but more 'gross' than anything. One book I remember is about the 'big hairy toe', but upon searching that seems to be a fairly common scary story theme. I definitely remember a witch, some sort of shack that the child protagonist hid in, a skeleton, some sort of creature peeping through the keyhole in the shack and a chase maybe through a forest. I think the witch wanted to make a stew with the toe. This book was pretty much picture focused, the images pretty much took up both pages.

I'd love to find out if you can help me locate these books. I've been searching off and on for the last year. My brother and I really enjoyed them as kids. Thanks.
posted by kookywon to Media & Arts (12 answers total)
Could the first one the same one described here? There are a few similarities in your description.
posted by iconomy at 9:38 AM on January 18, 2008

Could the second be Gwot! Horribly Funny Hairticklers? There's a story called The Hairy Toe.
posted by iconomy at 9:42 AM on January 18, 2008

Can I Keep Him? by Steven Kellogg is the first one.
posted by rikschell at 9:57 AM on January 18, 2008

rikschell beat me to it! can i keep him? by steven kellogg
posted by kidsleepy at 10:05 AM on January 18, 2008

AH HA!! Can I keep him is definitely not it, but I do remember Steven Kellogg. So I did some amazon searching and found this book. That art work is definitely the same!

Excellent work!

as far as the second book: I ran across that horribly funny hairticklers book before in my search, but I couldn't find any pictures of the artwork. Since the story is so common, I think I definitely have to see the art.

Also, I remembered a little more during another search session this morning:
The story is being told by a grandpa to his grandchildren and they kind of scoff (I think) but he has proof. I don't think its the big toe, but it could be. I remember seeing a picture of the child climbing out of the shack through a hole into a tunnel underground. This is a cross section view of the ground and there were bones and goblins and stuff in the cross sections view. That's why I remember it so well, the artist was very detailed, not just in the things that were part of the story. It also had a 'funny' name... hairticklers fits in... I wish I could find some pictures though...
posted by kookywon at 10:19 AM on January 18, 2008

Was the book a collection of short stories, or did it just have the one about the toe?
posted by iconomy at 10:23 AM on January 18, 2008

Is the second one Bony-Legs ?
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 10:25 AM on January 18, 2008

I think the book was this one story. I'm pretty sure. But I remember a couple of stories drawn by the same artist.

I don't think its bony legs. the art was big... it took up both pages. Also, the art was more cartoony (like ed emberley) not detailed/realistic. It really was a crazy book, there was tons of things going on in the story and I think it was more of a book for the art than plot. I remember some monster with giant chicken legs in it too and a sack was central to the story. the toe may have been in the sack or the boy put the toe in the sack. He may or may not have tricked the person who wanted the toe at the end with a pickle. That may be a little out there, but again, it was a crazy story.
posted by kookywon at 10:40 AM on January 18, 2008

Another guess....could it be something by James Flora? He wrote something called Grandpa's Ghost Stories - a few videos on YouTube might jog your memory if it is James Flora.
posted by iconomy at 12:19 PM on January 18, 2008 [1 favorite]

Oh wow! Iconomy, you totally got it! I remembered that there were a couple of them. Excellent work!
posted by kookywon at 12:22 PM on January 18, 2008

Great! The more you remembered, the easier it became. You recalling the grandfather connection was the key.
posted by iconomy at 12:25 PM on January 18, 2008

(iconomy always totally gets it)
posted by growabrain at 9:00 PM on January 18, 2008

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