Yes, several abridged versions have been made available;
The (2009) Highbridge Radio Edit (full cast)
The (2002) BBC Radio Edit (full cast)
The (1993) Martin Shaw Abridged Audiobook
The (1986) BBC Radio Edit (full cast)
The (1979) Jackanory Radio Edit
The (1964) Princess Magazine Serialisation ( http://www.tolkienlibrary.com/tolkien-book-store/PC000007.htm)
This is The Dark is Rising Sequence by Susan Cooper. The book you are describing is called "The Dark is Rising," and is second in a series of five which takes place in Britain.
Will Stanton is the last of The Old Ones, a supernatural race destined to fight evil. He does this by collecting signs in the form of a "circle quartered by a cross."
This is "Peter Graves" by William Pene du Bois. The anti-gravity material is called Furloy.
It's a short book though, not a short story. Published in 1950. My copy is from 1972.
The cover image shows the harness you mention (with golf club head covers holding the Furloy balls, and a fishing rod safety tether).
And here's a scan of an interior illustration ...
Could it be The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet by Eleanor Cameron? The main characters are two boys rather than a boy and girl and they're the ones who build the spaceship at the scientist's behest, but a lot of the rest tracks. The big head and long fingers definitely fits the scientist character, Mr. Bass, who turns out to be of the same race as ...
The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary
Ralph is a mouse who lives in the run-down Mountain View Inn, a battered resort hotel in the Sierra Nevada of California. Ralph longs for a life of danger and speed, wishing to get away from his relatives, who worry about the mice colony being discovered. One day a boy named Keith Gridley ...
If you're looking for a picture book, there's a 1999 graphic novel you could look for. Otherwise there are a various illustrated editions that might be appropriate for reading along with; I found a list that includes several of them.
Apparently there's even been a pop-up book, though it's not the complete story.
Sounds like The Tripods Trilogy. Young adult novels by John Christopher beginning in 1967.
Specific items from the synopsis that stood out and correlated with items in the question.
Tripod city, which is located in a sealed, pressurized dome
the Master reveals an upcoming operation in which the Earth's atmosphere is to be replaced by the Masters' toxic ...
Bugs Bunny's Carrot Machine (1971)
Here is a picture of the machine and Bugs putting junk in to get it to work.
And the machine does eventually break down explode due to Bugs being too greedy and shoving too much junk into it as shown above.
The whole thing is being shown in this YouTube video:
This is "Rain, Rain, Go Away" by Isaac Asimov, 1959
You can read the story online here
“Her kitchen,” said Lillian, ignoring him, “was so spanking clean you
just couldn’t believe she ever used it. I asked for a drink of water
and she held the glass underneath the tap and poured slowly so that
not one drop fell in the sink itself. It wasn’t ...
Another possibility is The Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper. There are five books in total:
Over Sea, Under Stone
The Dark is Rising
The Grey King
Silver on the Tree
Part of the story involves collecting a set of six Signs, which are circles, quartered, made of different materials. The main character in most of the series, Will Stanton, is ...
This is The Book of Foolish Machinery by Donna Lugg Pape.
It contains 'The Click Clacker Machine' and other poems including 'The E Eater Machine' (which I hav r produc d in full b low)
The E-Eater Machine likes to gobble up E's.
It eats all the E's out of words that it sees.
If the E-Eater loses its glasses it takes
The I's out of words, but soon ...
Could this be Rusty's Space Ship (1957) by Evelyn Sibley Lampman?
There was no way for Rusty Adams to know that the shiny metal disc he had found at the city dump and used on his play space ship in the garage, was actually the flying saucer of the Mighty Gwump of Eopee in Adromeda Galaxy. When tiny Tiphia, Gwump's messenger, arrived to claim it, Rusty and ...
It sounds to me like it could be the TV show called Strange Days at Blake Holsey High (called Black Hole High in some markets).
Revolved around the 5-student Science Club at a boarding school
Said club had a male science teacher
The Principal was female, aided the 'bad guys' reluctantly
The main pupil was a red-headed girl
Plots involved the ...
This may be The Tripods trilogy (1967-8) by John Christopher.
Maturing children were "capped" to ensure their obedience to the alien invaders who'd conquered earth. The cap was a metal mesh (their head would be shaved for installation, hair would grow naturally through it afterwards). "Capped" humans would become docile and content with their relative ...
I believe that it is Demons Don't Dream, the 16th novel in the Xanth series. The protagonists, Dug and Kim, from "Mundania" (aka our world), start playing the Companions of Xanth game, which starts with them choosing a Companion from the list. Dug picks Nada Naga, the beautiful half-snake princess, while Kim picks Jenny Elf, who is indeed underage (and in ...
Could it be "Welcome to Mars!" by James Blish?
Dolph had found the secret of anti-gravity and now the solar system was his to explore. In his homemade spaceship he soared through the star-studded blackness of outer space. It was all systems go until the power tubes burned out during the landing on Mars. Dolph was now the first man marooned on a strange ...
The Golden Duck awards "are designed to encourage science fiction literature for children" and have been presented yearly at Worldcon since 1992.
The categories include
Picture Book: Given for books written for very young children.
Eleanor Cameron Award for Middle Grades: Given for books written for grades 2 to 6.
Hal Clement Award for Young ...
I bought a book at a book fair 17 years ago. It is a collection of short stories.
It's a 1996 anthology edited by Mike Ashley, originally published in Great Britain as Space Stories by Robinson Publishing Children's Books, an imprint of Robinson Publishing Ltd., and republished in the United States by Random House as The Random House Book of Science Fiction ...
Drizzle by Kathleen Van Cleve
The summary from Goodreads is as follows:
Eleven-year-old Polly Peabody knows her family's world-famous rhubarb farm is magical. The plants taste like chocolate, jewels appear in the soil, bugs talk to her, and her best friend is a rhubarb plant named Harry. But the most magical thing is that every single Monday, at exactly ...
Laurel the Woodfairy
When Foxglove the pixie stumbles into the fairy wood, it's Laurel who welcomes him. But she begins to doubt her wisdom when Foxglove disappears-along with the fairies' treasured Crystal. Laurel sets off on a dangerous quest through the Great Forest to find both the pixie and the Crystal. Full color illustrations throughout. Ages 7 and ...
The books I was looking for are The Jungle of Peril and The Planet of Terror.
The reader's quest in The Planet of Terror is to find a spaceship that had to be abandoned just before it crashed. Unfortunately, this planet is chock full of hideous Mutoids, matter-transporter beams, and low-gravity zones. How will the valiant space traveler ever get back to ...
You are of course referring to the excellent "The Shark in Charlie’s Window" (otherwise known as "The shark in the window") by Keo Felker Lazarus.
Trisha Tanner's review is essentially identical to your own;
"After Charlie finds a shark egg on the shore (when what he really
wants is a dog!) he takes it home and watches it hatch. Feeding it an
I found it. It was called Through the Hidden Door, by Rosemary Wells, first published in 1987.
Before I posted this question, I hadn't bothered merely Googling. I didn't, because I have many times over the years and never found anything. After posting the question I decided I probably should have tried again. Eventually I searched for "book about a boy who ...
I've checked in Watership Down and Tales From Watership Down, as well as a few fan sites and as far as I can tell the story of El-ahrairah and the Black Rabbit of Inlé is left unfinished (the storyteller, Dandelion, is interrupted by the appearance of a fox). We never get to know what Lord Frith gave to Rabscuttle.
So the only answer is that no, you didn't ...
I'm pretty sure you're thinking of The Faraway Tree, a series by English author Enid Blyton. Books in the series include The Enchanted Wood and The Magic Faraway Tree.
The "pancake person" was probably Moon-Face, named for his round face that looks like the moon.
In the first novel in the series, Jo, Fanny and Bessie move to live near a large wood. One ...
This sounds a bit like The Hounds of the Morrigan by Pat O'Shea. There is a Wikipedia article on the book here. This was published in 1985 so it fits your time frame, but it's a lot longer than 60,000 words.
The bit I remembered was the handcuffs, but they were made from daisy chains not dandelions. Brigit puts the handcuffs on the witches Melodie Moonlight ...
This was the Professor Gamma series, written by the astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle and his son Geoffrey and published by Ladybird (in the UK, at least, and I recall them being quite British in a Professor Quatermass/Doctor Who style, so I think it's unlikely they were published elsewhere). The series of four books was:
The Frozen Planet of Azuron
The Planet of ...
The Forgotten Door by Alexander Key. 1965 Scholastic Books. A wonderful book that I just finished reading to my daughter and her friend. I had remembered it from when I first read it in 1968.
The boy falls through a forgotten "doorway" between worlds that had been long abandoned by his people. He loses his memory from the accident and is taken in by a ...
Possibly the Gregor the Overlander series? By Suzanne Collins, before the Hunger Games started...
There are some differences between these books and what you describe, but there are fundamental similiarities such as the urban setting of the protagonist, access to an underground civilization through a hole in the wall, and male protagonist.
The underground ...