The Hobbit or There and Back Again

The Hobbit or There and Back Again

Illustrator J. R. R. Tolkien
Author J. R. R. Tolkien
Year 1980 (first published 1937)
Publisher George Allen & Unwin
ISBN 0-04-823154-1

The Hobbit is a tale of high adventure, undertaken by a company of dwarves, in search of dragon-guarded gold. A reluctant partner in this perilous quest is Bilbo Baggins, a comfort-loving, unambitious hobbit, who surprises even himself by his resourcefulness and skill as a burglar.

Encounters with trolls, goblins, dwarves, elves and giant spiders, conversations with the dragon, Smaug the Magnificent, and a rather unwilling presence at the Battle of the Five Armies are some of the adventures that befall Bilbo. But there are lighter moments as well: good fellowship, welcome meals, laughter and song.

Continue reading for more about the book and to view the cover painting in more detail! Continue reading

The Three Investigators: The Secret of Terror Castle

The Three Investigators: The Secret of Terror Castle

Series Alfred Hitchcock and The Three Investigators
Illustrator
unknown
Author Robert Arthur
Year 1975 (first published 1967)
Publisher Armada
ISBN unknown

???
THE THREE INVESTIGATORS
“We Investigate Anything”
Jupiter Jones
Peter Crenshaw
Bob Andrews

This is The Three Investigators’ business card—and their first assignment: to investigate a haunted house for that Master of Mystery, Alfred Hitchcock. But Terror Castle, looming through the mists of Black Canyon, seems to have more than its fair share of spooks . . . Continue reading

Andersen’s Fairy Tales

Andersen's Fairy Tales

Illustrator Sheila Greenwald
Author Hans Christian Andersen
Translator Pat Shaw Iversen
Year 1987 (first published 1966)
Publisher Signet
ISBN 0-451-52107-2

For over one hundred years, Hans Christian Andersen’s beloved fairy tales have charmed and entertained audiences around the world. Blending old folk tales told to him as a child with a mixture of colloquial speech and fantasy, Andersen’s stories reveal a vision rich in humor, sharp with irony, and reflect both the sadness and joy of living. The forty-seven tales in this beautifully translated collection transport readers into a magical world of kings and princesses, farm lads and mermaids, witches, and even the devil’s grandmother! But whether we are marveling at the fragile porcelain palace of the Emperor of China or weeping for the poor little match girl, every tale shocks us into recognizing a human truth—as clear as the nakedness of the Emperor in his new clothes, or the final beauty of the Ugly Duckling. As generation after generation of readers has discovered, and as Pat Shaw Iversen notes in a splendid Afterword, Hans Christian Andersen is a storyteller who ranks as “one of the greatest literary geniuses the world has ever known.”

Andersen’s Fairy Tales available on Amazon

Fighting Fantasy 10: House of Hell

Illustrator Ian Miller (cover), Tim Sell
Author Steve Jackson
Year 1984
Publisher Puffin
ISBN 0-14-031831-3

Taking refuge in the infamous House of Hell has to be the worst mistake of your life!

The dangers of the torrential storm outside are nothing compared to the blood-curdling adventures that await you inside. Who knows how many hapless wanderers like yourself have perished within its gruesome walls? Be warned! Tonight is going to be a night to remember…

Two dice, a pencil and an eraser are all you need to make your journey. YOU decide which way to go, which dangers to risk and which monsters to fight.

House of Hell available on Amazon

The Curse of the Egyptian Mummy

Illustrator Laurence Hutchins
Author Pat Hutchins
Year 1985 (first published 1983)
Publisher Fontana
ISBN 0-00-672463-9

The room plunged into darkness and the door burst open. A white bandaged figure stood in the doorway. A piercing scream filled the air: The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb!

It’s the first day of the Cub Scouts’ camping holiday, and things have gone wrong from the start. A body is found, an Egyptian statue is dug out of a dustbin, their tents are ransacked. And then this dramatic appearance. Continue reading

The Mona Lisa Mystery

Illustrator Laurence Hutchins
Author Pat Hutchins
Year 1987 (first published 1981)
Publisher Fontana
ISBN 0-00-672589-9

“Paris, here we come!” screamed Class 3 of the Hampstead Primary School as the bus drove off.

Morgan, glancing out of the back window, was the first to spot the bearded man in the black Citröen, cruising behind them.

Was he following them?

The plot thickens when a second mysterious bearded man appears on the ferry boat, and the children find themselves swept up in a riotous adventure in which they become entangled with a group of art thieves intent upon stealing the MONA LISA! Continue reading

A Spell for Chameleon

Series Xanth
Illustrator
Michael Whelan
Author Piers Anthony
Year 1980 (first published 1977)
Publisher Del Rey/Ballantine
ISBN 0-345-28766-5

FOR LACK OF A SPELL…XANTH!

That was the enchanted land where magic ruled—where every citizen had a special spell only he could cast. It was a land of centaurs and dragons and basilisks.

For Bink of North Village, however, Xanth was no fairy tale. He alone had no magic. And unless he got some—and got some fast!—he would be exiled. Forever! Continue reading

The Three Investigators: The Mystery of the Talking Skull

Series Alfred Hitchcock and The Three Investigators
Illustrator
unknown
Author Robert Arthur
Year 1974 (first published 1969)
Publisher Armada
ISBN unknown

???
THE THREE INVESTIGATORS
“We Investigate Anything”
Jupiter Jones
Peter Crenshaw
Bob Andrews

When Jupiter buys an old trunk, he’s stunned to find a skull inside—especially one that talks! The skull gives him a muddle of information about disappearing victims and hidden wealth. It just doesn’t make sense. And are the clues hidden in the trunk, or in the skull itself? Whether they like it or not, the Three Investigators have another mystery to solve . . .

The Mystery of the Talking Skull available on Amazon

Mossflower

Series Tales of Redwall
Illustrator
Pete Lyon (cover), Gary Chalk
Author Brian Jacques
Year 1990 (first published 1988)
Publisher Red Fox
ISBN 0-09-955400-3

A young mouse strays into evil wildcat territory in Mossflower wood. And so begins the story of Redwall Abbey’s heroic founder-mouse; a spirited adventurer, a brave warrior and a true champion of the good. The indomitable, the legendary… Martin the Warrior.

Mossflower available on Amazon

Thanks to Still Books for the cover

Stingray and the Monster

Illustrator Peter Archer
Author John Theydon
Year 1966
Publisher Armada
ISBN unknown

Atlanta is kidnapped! International crooks use her as bait in order to capture Stingray. In a pirated patrol vessel, they take her into the weird and unknown depths of the ocean.

Troy Tempest, Phones and Marina set out on a hazardous rescue attempt in which they meet a truly terrifying monster of the deep. Here is a story with all the excitement of the celebrated TV series. Continue reading

Fighting Fantasy 6: Deathtrap Dungeon

Illustrator Iain McCaig
Author Ian Livingstone
Year 1984
Publisher Puffin
ISBN 0-14-031708-2

Part story, part game, this is a book with a difference – one in which YOU become the hero!

Down in the twisting labyrinth of Fang, unknown horrors await you. Countless adventurers before you have taken up the challenge of the Trial of Champions, but not one has survived. Devised by the devilish mind of Baron Sukumvit, the labyrinth is riddled with fiendish traps and hideous creatures of darkness to trick and test you almost beyond the limits of endurance!

Two dice, a pencil and an eraser are all you need to make your journey. YOU decide which route to follow, which dangers to risk and which monsters to fight.

Deathtrap Dungeon available on Amazon

Fighting Fantasy 2: The Citadel of Chaos

Illustrator Emmanuel (cover), Russ Nicholson
Author Steve Jackson
Year 1984 (first published 1983)
Publisher Puffin
ISBN 0-14-031603-5

Part story, part game, this is a book with a difference – one in which YOU become the hero!

The Citadel of Chaos holds a dark and dangerous peril for anyone foolhardy enough to venture through its gruesome gates. And yet venture you must, for your mission lies at the heart of the Citadel, with the dread sorcerer, Balthus Dire.

Two dice, a pencil and an eraser are all you need to make your journey. YOU decide which route to take, which monsters to fight, and where to use your special knowledge of the magic arts.

The Citadel of Chaos available on Amazon

Twistaplot 15: Spellcaster

Illustrator James Warhola (cover), Ray Lago
Author Katy Brown
Year 1984
Publisher Scholastic
ISBN 0-590-72304-9

The gold letters on the cover of the ancient book glow with a strange inner light: SPELLCASTER. You open the book and read: “In your hands rests timeless power. Apply it wisely.” Soon, you will be a master of the magical arts. How will you use your new powers?

  • Will you join forces with the Wizard of the Endless Cave? Turn to page 31.
  • Want to learn how to fly? Transform yourself into a hawk and soar over to page 6.
  • Who is the mysterious woman in white? Can she help you survive a journey into the past? Find out on page 80.

In a Twistaplot book you make the choices. You decide which path to take and what will happen next. Be brave! Be daring! Be careful! With magic, things aren’t always what they seem.

Spellcaster available on Amazon

The KnowHow Book of Puppets

Illustrator Malcolm English
Designer John Jamieson
Authors Violet Philpott and Mary Jean McNeil
Year 1977 (first published 1975)
Publisher Usborne
ISBN 0-86020-003-5

About This Book (from the inside front cover)

This is a book which tells you how to make lots of different kinds of puppets and how to work them properly when you have made them. You will find that the puppets at the beginning are easier to make than those at the end.

At the end of the book there is a puppet play. We have started it, leaving you to make up the rest of the story yourself.

The puppets are made from things you will probably be able to find at home. A lot of them are made with glue. When you buy glue, remember to buy strong, quick drying glue like Bostik 1 and UHU.

The KnowHow Book of Puppets available on Amazon

Dragontales 1: Sword Daughter’s Quest

Illustrator Tom Hallman (cover), Michael Gilbert
Author Rhondi Vilott
Year 1984
Publisher Signet
ISBN 0-451-13082-0

While crossing the Wastes on the way to the warrior games that will mark the start of your career as a swordswoman, your party is attacked by an orc raiding band, and your father is slain.

Should you seek the help of the handsome, half-elven Ranger who rescues you, joining him in a mission that will take you underneath the sacred lake where a blue dragon is chained for all eternity?

Or should you follow the orcs yourself and perhaps fall prey to the lure of buried treasure and the powerful warlord who seeks it?

Danger, romance, and riches await you at every turn. Will you fall victim to the spell of evil, or choose wisely for both your heart and your sword?

It’s up to you to make the choices and explore the many roads to magical adventure!

Sword Daughter’s Quest available on Amazon

Late for Hallowe’en

Illustrator Eileen Armitage
Author Camilla Fegan
Year 1973 (first published 1966)
Publisher Scholastic
ISBN unknown

Judy made her way to the little cave-opening under the bushes and ducked through. ‘Come in, won’t you? And thank you for knocking!’ a thin crackly voice remarked.

Judy has found a witch living in the shrubbery—a witch called Murgatroyd and her cat, Hornsbydale. Murgatroyd makes a dragon from an old tray. But all the dragon wants to do is get back home!

What an exciting year lies ahead for Judy!

Late for Hallowe’en available on Amazon

The KnowHow Book of Detection

Illustrator Colin King
Author Judy Hindley and Donald Rumbelow
Year 1978
Publisher Usborne
ISBN 0-86020-124-4

How to Use This Book (from the inside front cover)

A good detective needs special skills, lots of training—and imagination. In this book there is a mystery story to test your imagination. There are also puzzles to solve and projects to teach you skills, like finding a get away car.

Try some of the puzzles as you read the story. See if you can solve the mystery Shamus faces. Then go back and try the projects. Continue reading

No Rest for Biggles

Illustrator unknown
Author Captain W. E. Johns
Year 1963 (first published 1956)
Publisher Armada
ISBN unknown

Biggles, now an inspector of the Air Police, runs across his old enemy von Stalhein, once again. Astonishingly it is in the heart of the African jungle.

What is Biggles doing there? He is on the trail of as wicked a bunch of thugs as he has ever encountered. They are bringing down planes, in some mysterious fashion, containing high-ranking military personnel with top secret knowledge.

Biggles has to find out first how it is done, then he’s got to put a stop to it. Rhinos on landing grounds, poisonous mamba snakes, hungry lions and spearhappy tribesmen don’t exactly help an air detective in the course of duty. But Biggles wins through.

No Rest for Biggles available on Amazon

Choose Your Own Adventure 33: The Dragons’ Den

Illustrator Paul Abrams
Author Richard Brightfield
Year 1984
Publisher Bantam
ISBN 0-553-17903-9

TREASURE AWAITS YOU IN THE DRAGONS’ DEN!

You’re on the quest of a dragon’s fabulous treasure. With the help of the wizard Zarkon, you’ve reached the top of a tower near the dragons’ den. Suddenly you hear banging on the tower door. It’s Tarlane, the evil dragon master! You must escape! Zarkon lifts his magic staff–and a flying dragon appears at the tower’s edge.

If you try a daring escape by jumping on the dragon’s head, turn to page 88. If you decide to wait and take your chances with Tarlane, turn to page 106. No matter what you choose, your search for the treasure will be dangerous. You might end up waist-deep in gold and jewels–or battling a fire lizard in the depths of the dragons’ den!

What happens next in the story? It all depends on the choices you make. How does the story end? Only you can find out! And the best part is that you can keep reading and rereading until you’ve had not one but many incredibly daring experiences!

The Dragons’ Den available on Amazon

Fighting Fantasy 11: Talisman of Death

Illustrator Peter Andrew Jones (cover), Bob Harvey
Author Jamie Thomson and Mark Smith
Year 1987 (first published 1984)
Publisher Puffin
ISBN 0-14-031859-3

The once-peaceful world of Orb is in terrible danger!

Dark forces are at work to unleash the awesome might of the Evil One but their plans cannot be completed without the legendary Talisman of Death. It seems that all Orb is searching for the Talisman and yet YOU are the one who carries it. YOUR mission is to destroy the evil Talisman before the minions of Death can reach you. But beware! Time is running out…

Two dice, a pencil and an eraser are all you need to embark on this thrilling adventure of sword and sorcery, complete with its elaborate combat system and a score sheet to record your gains and losses.

Many dangers lie ahead and your success is by no means certain. Powerful adversaries are ranged against you and often your only choice is to kill or be killed!

Talisman of Death available on Amazon