What's the Name of That Book??? discussion

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POSSIBLY SOLVED > SOLVED? Book with series of stories for young readers Five Chinese Brothers, etc.

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message 1: by Rob (new)

Rob Rater | 24 comments So I had this book when I was a kid (early 70's). It contained a series of stories, some fantastical, some not. It had colored illustrations. I only remember 2 stories specifically. One was the Five Chinese Brothers. It's the same story as The Five Chinese Brothers by Claire Huchet Bishop but the illustrations are more lifelike and in color. For instance, the 1st brother has puffed out cheeks when he takes the sea waters into his mouth, as opposed to having a giant head in the Kurt Wiese illustrations. Unfortunately every search I do brings up the Claire Huchet Bishop and Kurt Wiese stand alone book. Other illustrations have the 2nd brother kneeling w/ chest on the ground, his head sideways looking at the notched sword, 3rd brother standing with his feet on the sea floor and his fists on his hips, 5th brother popping out of a hole in the bread he was baked into, and also a picture of the giant bread loaf while he was inside, though you can't see him in the picture.

The other story from the book I remember is a boy was walking with a man (his uncle, I think), and he was lying about something. The uncle knew he was lying, but instead of calling him out, told him about a bridge they were coming up to that wouldn't allow anyone with a lie to cross. There's an illustration of a red bridge breaking in the middle and a person falling towards the water below (imagined by the kid). The kid frets about it for the length of their walk. The uncle crosses the bridge, but the kid is too afraid. He finally confesses, then runs across the bridge to catch up with his uncle.

There are more stories in the book which I can't remember, though one of them may be a version of The Fisherman and His Wife. Not 100% sure, but I think it was in there.


message 2: by Rob (new)

Rob Rater | 24 comments I've been doing some searching and haven't turned up much. I've found some books that collected fairy tales which included The Five Chinese Brothers (Collier's Junior Classics, Childcraft: Once Upon a Time). Some have different illustrations, but they have the same text as Bishop/Wiese version. Some differences in the text from my version is in the Bishop/Wiese version, the 5th brother is put into the oven with whipped cream. In my book, he was baked into a giant loaf of bread. Also, there was no mention the people thought they were being tricked (in Bishop/Wiese, they watched the oven through the night because "they would not be tricked this time!") And in my book, there was an exchange about the fifth execution attempt where they decided to bake him in the bread, someone objected that they already knew he couldn't be burned, to which the main dude responded that it wasn't the fire, but that there was no air that would kill him.

Another story I remember in the book was a super short (2 pages, I think) about a red kite. I'm 95% sure the reason that story sticks with me is because it was also on the cover (a red kite with a blue sky background). Unfortunately I don't remember if the word "kite" is in the title, and I haven't had any success searching for books with kite in the title from around that time.


message 3: by Rob (new)

Rob Rater | 24 comments So I found my book. I guess I'll go ahead and include that information here in case someone comes along later looking for the same book. After all, the way I found it was on a forum similar to this from 6 years ago.

It's from a series of books called "Reading For Meaning" from the 1940's but reprinted 3 or 4 times. I had at least 3 books from the series. The Five Chinese Brothers story (here titled just The Five Brothers) was from the Come Along book. The bridge story was there, as I remembered, but not the Fisherman and His Wife, which must be from another book that I'll now have to track down! Also, no 2 page story about a kite.


message 4: by Adele (new)

Adele | 1226 comments Congratulations, on finding your book! Thanks for coming back to let us know. I don't know if it is what you are thinking of, but With Jack and Janet has a story called "Away Went the Kite". That's the picture on the cover you can see here: https://www.ebay.com/itm/WITH-JACK-AN... However, later editions of "Jack and Janet" that have full color covers have different stories featured on the cover. The Jack and Janet workbook I saw has a color picture, but the kite is yellow. Also, Climbing Higher in the series has "When Martha Toozle Caught a Nix" which has a woman catching a strange creature that grants her a wish.


message 5: by Rob (new)

Rob Rater | 24 comments Thanks for the follow-up, Adele! I've looked through all the Reading for Meaning books, and I only recognize stories from 3 of the books (Jack and Janet, Come Along and On We Go). Apparently there are different versions of the books because the first version of On We Go I read, I only recognized about 3 stories based on the illustrations. Another version I recognized almost all of the stories because the illustrations were different. I did see the story in Jack and Janet about the kite, and I remembered it but it's not the one I'm thinking of. I'm not too concerned about finding the kite story though. I was just thinking of anything I could think of to help identify my book.

Now the Fisherman and His Wife is a story I'm currently still looking for. I think it was likely a book of all fairy tales. I distinctly remember it was that story, though I don't remember if it went by that name, or one of the other versions of the same story (The Golden Fish, The Magic Fish, etc). There are other fairy tales I remember owning, though I couldn't tell you if they were all in the same book. These are the ones I think were in this book: Hansel & Gretel, though I think I remember the title was something like "...in the Wood(s)". Rumplestiltskin, The Brave Little Tailor (aka Seven in One Blow). They seem to be a lot of Grimm titles, but there seem to be thousands of books about Grimms' Fairy Tales. I remember the Fisherman story the most though, and some differences to the Grimms' version is I don't remember the fish being referred to as a flounder, and I don't remember the story ending with "they're still in their hut to this very day".


message 6: by Rob (new)

Rob Rater | 24 comments Ok, I think I found my Fisherman story. It's in book called Down Singing River, and it's a Betts Basic Reader. The story is called "The Talking Fish", and it's definitely the story of The Fisherman and His Wife. I've been able to read much of the text through Google Books, and I'm 99.9% sure it's the one I'm looking for. And the next book in the series, Over a City Bridge, has a story called "Lost in the Woods," so I'm hoping that's my Hansel & Gretel story, though Google Books doesn't seem to have that one in its archives.


message 7: by Adele (new)

Adele | 1226 comments Wow! You are having great success on your search. :D . Over a City Bridge is available for 4.50 on ebay, and maybe you could contact the seller and verify if Lost in the Woods is a Hansel & Gretel story: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Over-a-City-...


message 8: by Rob (new)

Rob Rater | 24 comments So I may have a lead on my Hansel and Gretel book. With worldcat, I found a bunch of readers published in Ireland (totally possible as my mom is from Denmark and has friends and family there that could have sent it). They're called Fallon's Hopscotch reading scheme, and they check a few boxes. First, they were published in early 1970s, but then later reprinted in the late 1970s and early 1980s. One of the readers is actually entitled Hansel and Gretel, though it only has 48 pages. The art is by Noreen Spillane, and though I haven't been able to look inside the couple of other books she's credited with, the cover of The Miser's Gold looks similar to what I remember in my book. Though the Hansel and Gretel reader doesn't have enough pages, there are 3 continuation readers that each have 190-200 pages each. If those readers reprint stories from the shorter readers, that may be my best shot

Unfortunately these readers are virtually nonexistent on the internet. A couple of the shorter ones have the barest of shells on google books, and no sites have copies listed for sale. There are apparently a couple of libraries in Ireland that have the entire slate of readers, but unfortunately I don't have any plans to visit Ireland anytime soon, and they're not available as ebooks. I've emailed one of the libraries to see if I can verify whether one of them is my book, but haven't heard back. I'll try emailing the others, but will probably wait awhile since everyone's got a lot more to deal with then finding books at the moment.


message 9: by Kris (new)

Kris | 36503 comments Mod
We can move your request from the "Solved" to the "Possibly Solved" folder.


message 10: by Carla (new)

Carla | 22 comments Rob - thank you for your post. I was browsing through. I have been looking for Down Singing River for years! It was one of my Mom's old readers that I used to read over and over as a kid. I was trying to get her to remember "Old Father Fish" recently and she couldn't recall it. This is amazing! Found a copy and ordering it now.


message 11: by Rob (new)

Rob Rater | 24 comments You're welcome! Glad to have helped!


message 12: by Lobstergirl, au gratin (new)

Lobstergirl | 40603 comments Mod
Rob, I'm unclear on if your query is solved. Did you find what you were looking for?


message 13: by Rob (new)

Rob Rater | 24 comments My original query was solved, but the I've continued to post in the thread, and because my latest comments are unsolved, the admins offered to open it back up again.


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