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I think the story was a trilogy from the children's scholastic reader. Here are the things I think I remember about it.

First book 3 children brothers/sister exploring hillside and discover a cave entrance. They follow some type of path or stairs that go deep underground and discover some city of 'mole people'.

Other books, their father was some kind of scientist that was presumed dead? The children discover clues that their father was stuck in some alternate dimension?

There was also something about an "X"; it was some kind of symbolic clue.

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  • Hello sdproto, welcome to Science Fiction & Fantasy and thank you for your question. If you remember any additional details, such as what the cover looked like, you can edit them in. Here's a list of possible clues to help you jog your memory.
    – SQB
    Sep 15, 2020 at 7:16
  • 3
    2 boys and a girl looking for a missing father trapped in another dimension sounds like A Wrinkle in Time but I don't remember a tunnel to mole people.
    – DavidW
    Sep 15, 2020 at 10:56
  • @DavidW: my first thought also. But no mole people.
    – Basya
    Sep 15, 2020 at 12:44
  • Also sounds like Tunnels by Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams, initially self-published with the title, "The Highland Mole". But the timeframe is wrong...
    – Basya
    Sep 15, 2020 at 12:59
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    it sounds like the OP has mixed up two different books.
    – Ria Byss
    Sep 16, 2020 at 18:05

1 Answer 1

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I think you're talking about three books, which I will attempt to identify.

First book 3 children brothers/sister exploring hillside and discover a cave entrance. They follow some type of path or stairs that go deep underground and discover some city of 'mole people'.

"Power of Three" by Diana Wynne Jones https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_of_Three_(novel), which features the relationship between two fantasy races (the Lyman and the Dorig) and humans (who the others refer to as Giants)

Lymen live in villages inside huge, hollow mounds. They fear the Giants and are at war with the Dorig. They operate their magic/technology with Words. They are warlike and like hunting, but they usually will not kill unless they have to. A few have special attributes called Gifts which enable them to use a special magical skill (e.g. see the future). Their clothes are the colour of the Moor, so they can camouflage with the long grasses, shadows, and trees. They look like humans, but are a little smaller, thinner, and have almond-shaped eyes which are the same colour as a human's.**

Dorig live in halls under water. They have airlocks and working pumps. They, too, fear the Giants and they are at war with the Lymen. The Dorig have only the barest minimum of knowledge about Words and do not seem to have Gifts, but can shapeshift. They are rather peaceful, but are not reluctant to kill. Their real clothes are soft, and made of fish-skins that are prepared to shift shape along with the Dorig that is wearing them. When Dorig come to the surface, they don a hard, scaly armour that covers them head to foot and also shifts shape along with them.

The second book is "A Wrinkle in Time" by Madeleine L'Engle https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Wrinkle_in_Time

Other books, their father was some kind of scientist that was presumed dead? The children discover clues that their father was stuck in some alternate dimension?

One night, thirteen-year-old Meg Murry meets an eccentric new neighbor, Mrs Whatsit, who refers to something called a tesseract. She later finds out it is a scientific concept her father was working on before his mysterious disappearance. The following day, Meg, her child genius brother Charles, and fellow schoolmate Calvin visit Mrs Whatsit's home, where the equally strange Mrs Who and the unseen voice of Mrs Which promise to help Meg find and rescue her father.

Mrs Whatsit, Mrs Who, and Mrs Which turn out to be supernatural beings who transport Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin O'Keefe through the universe by means of a tesseract, a fifth-dimensional phenomenon explained as folding the fabric of space and time; this form of travel is called tessering.

The third book may be the sequel to Wrinkle: "A Wind in the Door" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Wind_in_the_Door

There was also something about an "X"; it was some kind of symbolic clue.

The Echthroi are powerful, evil creatures whose desire is to X (i.e. extinguish, unname) creation.

All three books would have been available in the mid 1970s.

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  • Thanks Andrew, I mentioned in the previous comments that "A Wind in the Door" and "A Wrinkle in Time" were 2 of the books I remembered, but the mole people book you describe doesn't click for me. It could be that it's just been so long I've forgotten, but also 1976 is too late. In 1976 we'd moved to a different state and the book I remember was before that. I'd estimate around 1974 because that when my sister was born and my parents needed to keep us entertained. I'm also certain it was a Scholastic Reader book. If I can find the book you mentioned I'll see if anything sticks out. Thank you!
    – Biyau
    Mar 29 at 1:32
  • You're very welcome. Sorry I missed the later comments that you made about Wrinkle and Wind.
    – Andrew
    Mar 29 at 1:42

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