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I found the book in my middle school library some time between 1979-1983. The book may have been from the 70's, I doubt earlier. It was a short story science fiction series geared toward grade school, elementary school kids. The stories seemed grown-up to me because they didn't always seem to end happily.

Stretching back my mind, the one story that captured my imagination the most was of this boy traveling to another planet where grass, rivers and the sky were different colors like purple, green and red. Another story may have involved kids with weird space pets.

I can describe the books, from memory, as being thin hard-back books that were tan in color and had a little area on the front of the book with an illustration of a moment from the story within. I remember there being at least 3 or 4 books that my library had, with more in the series.

I don't remember if they were by the same author, but it seemed to be a series.

I also remember that one of the stories had a child who had some sort of weird pet. This may be the above story with purple grass, red or green rivers... Anyway, the kids pet was some sort of cute looking dog with a star around its head (some sort of interstellar type of dog I guess). I remember it, because I think that was the illustration on the front of one of these thin, tan hard-back books. Also the illustration may have been done in red or orange.

  • Just remembered that one of the stories had a child who had some sort of weird pet. This may be the above story with purple grass, red or green rivers . . . Anyway, the kids pet was some sort of cute looking dog with a star around it's head (some sort of interstellar type of dog I guess) and I remember it, because I think that was the illustration on the front of one of these thin, tan hard-back books. Also the illustration may have been done in red or orange. Hope this jogs someones memory. – Leon Mar 25 '15 at 6:24
  • you should edit this information into the question. – Dreamwalker Mar 25 '15 at 9:59
  • I do not recall as many details about the story as you do, however I do remember that there was a girl who was traveling (with her family maybe?) for quite a long time through space to find a new home. My most vivid memory of the book was when they arrived at what they thought was a suitable planet. The girl had on protective gear (including heavy "space boots"); when she stepped out onto what appeared to be purple grass, the grass crunched under her feet like it was made of glass. – Dr. Mom Nov 7 '16 at 3:21
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This is a wild guess, but could they be the Raintree Reading Series? I haven't found the specific story you're looking for, but they match the small profile of hardback books, combined with the single illustration on the front. And they do fit with the time period and were intended to be educational (and yes, the endings were often less than happy).

  • Sean, the 'After the End' and 'Children of the Future' book covers look sooo familiar, but I couldn't be sure unless I got my hot little hands on them and perused them over. And when you look at the close-up photos of the covers, interestingly enough it does look like that pitted, textured material that the cover photo is printed on. Any idea where I could find these books? Looked on Amazon (briefly) and couldn't find anything. I may try my local library. Thanks, owe you a beer or two if we ever meet by chance! – Leon Apr 18 '15 at 7:18
  • Found 'Children of the Future' on Amazon and it looks like it was published in 1984, when I had moved-on out of middle school. Chances are the books I was looking for were published in the 70's sometime. Thanks for the great suggestion though! – Leon Apr 18 '15 at 7:30
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Could it be the children's sci-fi book series The Chronicles of the Starship Alexandria by Norwegian author Jon Bing? It consists of four books published between 1975 and 1985:

  • Azur: Planet of the Captains (1975)
  • Zalt: Planet of the Steamlords (1976)
  • Mizt: Planet of the Ghosts (1982)
  • Tanz: Planet of Riddles (1985)

The first book is about a boy named Benji who lives on Azur, a beautiful and paradise-like planet (although I don't remember the color of the grass, river and sky). Benji has a pet called Miromurr, a "bat cat" who somewhat fits your description.

At least in the original Norwegian publication, this book was a thin (178 pages) hardcover book with a tan cover and an orange-ish illustration featuring Benji and Miromurr:

Jon Bing – Azur: Planet of the Captains

In the other books, Benji and Miromurr travel with the large library starship Alexandria to other planets, where they meet other children. These covers were also tan, with illustrations of moments in the book; the second book's cover (again, at least the Norwegian edition) had the kind of "area" you mention, with Benji and Miromurr inside:

Jon Bing – Zalt: Planet of the Steamlords

And the remaining two book covers:

Jon Bing – Mizt: Planet of the Ghosts Jon Bing – Tanz: Planet of Riddles

I have been unable to find English covers. In Denmark the books were published with the same cover art, but with different colors, so they weren't tan-colored there at least.

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The story you're looking for is called “Something Green” by Fredric Brown. I also read it in junior high, and it was one of my favorites. I found your post during my own search for the title, and since I have found it, I figured I would come back to share with you also.

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    Welcome to SFF.SE It would help the OP a lot if you could explain why you think this book matches his question. – Mat Cauthon Sep 4 '18 at 1:17

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