BIBLIOGRAPHY 1952-1956

Thank you to biographer Dennis Duffy for providing this bibliography (including all of the original covers) of Leonard's more than 100 works.

 

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The King's Beard (1952)

New York: Ariel Books (Pellegrini & Cudahy), 1952 [Youth Historical Fiction].

 

An adventure tale set in Elizabethan England at the height of England’s conflicts with Spain. Sixteen-year-old John Forrester, whose father disappeared when he was an infant, finds himself drawn into intrigue involving coded messages, Spanish spies, and Captain Drake’s daring raid on the Spanish fleet at Cadiz, Spain.

 

"Lively tale of Elizabethan England...The opening, with its mysterious messengers and inquisitive strangers, is reminiscent of Treasure Island..."—Junior Bookshelf

 

"A dashing tale told as the personal history of young John Forrester who sailed with Drake and helped to singe the Spanish King Philip's beard in the famous Cadiz raid of 1587... Here is wonderful Elizabethan and New World background and closely written suspense."—Kirkus Reviews

 

"It is an exceptionally well-written, exciting story with a good historical background and convincing characters."—The Saturday Review

 

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Secret of the Hawk (1953)

New York: Ariel Books (Pellegrini & Cudahy), 1953 [Youth Fiction]. 

 

In this action-packed story built around the English slave trade in the eighteenth century, sixteen-year-old orphan Peter Millet discovers that his guardian uncle had been a slave trader and was involved in the kidnapping of a young English girl.

 

Following his uncle’s sudden death Peter joins the crew of a ship carrying a shipment of gold bound for the East Indies. When mutinous pirates among the crew cause a shipwreck off the African coast Peter is saved by Jim, a crewmate and former slave.  Together they have a series of wild adventures in which Jim is reunited with his tribe while Peter finds the girl and takes her back to England. 
 

"There is plenty of action in this well-told story of the English slave trade... Uncommonly well-written and illustrated."—Saturday Review, Books for Young People

 

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The Coronation Book: The Dramatic Story in History and Legend (1953)

 

New York: Ariel Books (Pellegrini & Cudahy), 1953 [Adult Non-fiction]. 

The crowning of a British monarch is one of the oldest, most colorful and most romantic rituals in the world. Its roots reach back through history into legend. Almost everything about the ceremony stems from distant tradition—from the officers who attend to the robes they wear and the tales of heroism and terror that surround the Crown Jewels.

 

Leonard Wibberley has brought together the varied and often inaccessible facts of the Coronation—a ceremony steeped in antiquity and unsurpassed in splendor—and has transformed them with skill and charm into a fascinating book rich in lore and humor.

 

What is the story of the Star of Africa—the 516-carat diamond in the Royal Scepter? Of the Stone in the Scone? Of the Royal Coach? Mr. Wibberley has answered those and other questions in a breezy, anecdotal book.Saturday Review

“With eyes turned this year to the big event in England, here is an absorbing portrait of its many aspects—legendary, historical, ceremonial—by a man who has Britain in his blood.”—Kirkus Review
 

 

Leonard Wibberley
Mrs. Searwood's Secret Weapon (1954)

 

Boston: Little, Brown, 1954 [Adult Fiction]. 

 

A humorous story about an elderly woman who saves England from Hitler’s rocket attacks during World War II with the help of Chief White Feather, an American Indian who died three hundred years before.

 

"A nonsense tale which has its touch of commonsense, this is a warm and friendly fantasia."—Kirkus Reviews

 

"Nonsense? Of course. But delight too, a chuckling fantasy from a comic-strip imagination of superior inventiveness and wit."—Saturday Review

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Deadmen's Cave (1954)

 

New York: Ariel Books (Farrar, Straus & Young), 1954 [Youth Fiction].

17th century pirates, swashbuckling action, and romance...

19-year-old Tom Lincoln is captured by the notorious pirate Henry Morgan and forced into a life of piracy. To escape and rescue another prisoner—the teenage niece of the Governor of Panama—Tom must unlock the secret of a mysterious cutlass he found in a cave filled with dead men on an uncharted island.

★★★★★ "This was one of my favorite books of childhood--a swashbuckling coming-of-age story with indelible characters. This is a masterful tale, and it is a shame it is not well-known. I highly recommend it."—Amazon Review

 

"...the very stuff of adventure."—BBC Children's Hour

 

"A fast-paced, exciting story of the time of Henry Morgan's sack of Panama."—University of Chicago, Children's Book Center

 

Leonard Wibberley
Flight of the Peacock (1954)

 

New York: Ives, Washburn, 1954 [Youth Fiction as Patrick O’Connor]. (Also published under the title Two If By Sea: Shanghaied & Shipwrecked.)

 

On his 16th birthday, Bill Smith’s father reads him the Parable of the Talents in the Bible and sends him from home with one hundred dollars and a charge to return in a year with his “talents” increased.

Bill immediately loses his money to a shyster and is shanghaied aboard a clipper ship bound to South America, forcing Bill on a high seas adventure filled with hardships as he travels from Argentina to the Orient and struggles to make his way back home.


“This book will be enjoyed by junior high school readers who like adventure on the sea far away and long ago.”—The Saturday Review

★★★★★ “Entertaining historical seafaring fiction for middle grade and teen/young adult readers.”—Goodreads Review

 

Leonard Wibberley
Society of Foxes (1954)

 

New York: Ives, Washburn, 1954 [Youth Fiction as Patrick O’Connor]. 

 

A spy adventure set in England and France during the Napoleonic Wars. Sixteen-year-old Dick Wenting, a simple pot-boy at an English Inn, helps to expose a French spy organization called the Society of Foxes and capture the ringleaders. 

 

"A rousing first person story of the Napoleonic wars..."—Kirkus Reviews

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The Mouse that Roared (a.k.a., The Wrath of Grapes) (1955)
The Mouse that Roared Series, Book 1

 

New York: William Morrow & Company, 1955 [Adult Fiction].

 

A delightful satire revealing how the Duchy of Grand Fenwick, the smallest country in Europe and the world, declares war on the United States of America—and wins. In the process, Grand Fenwick also ends the nuclear arms race between the USA and USSR.

 

"Its preposterous story is diverting. Its gentle satire of international folly and suicidal national policies keeps it close to the realities of a paranoiac world... It is an ingenious story, filled with neat twists and appropriate developments."—New York Times

 

"Like Mrs. Searwood's Secret Weapon (1953) this continues the crazy-dazy theme that is embroidered with crisp commentary in an articulate argument against the madness of current civilization."—Kirkus Reviews

 

Leonard Wibberley
The Watermelon Mystery (1955)

 

New York: Ives, Washburn, 1955 [Youth Fiction as Patrick O’Connor].

 

Sixteen-year-old Mike Reading working as a newspaper boy to help support his family following his father’s death claims that he saw a dead body hidden in a car.  Although the police cannot find the body or any evidence of a crime, Mike solves the mystery with the help of an old sea captain, a friendly reporter, and a sympathetic policeman.

 

 

Leonard Wibberley
The Wound of Peter Wayne (1955)

 

New York: Ariel Books (Farrar, Straus & Cudahy), 1955 [Youth Historical Fiction]. 

 

Seventeen year old Peter Wayne was among the Confederate troops at Appomattox when General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant, ending the Civil War. Returning home to find his parents dead, the family plantation in ruins, and no money to rebuild it or pay the taxes, Peter blames the North for what has happened. 

 

He heads to the American West to earn money to save the plantation. A former Union soldier saves his life in a buffalo stampede and together they fight Indians, mine for gold, and work on the railroad. 

 

In these experiences Peter comes to appreciate that the United States recovered from the Civil War as people from all regions worked together. Peter returns home with the needed money and a determination to work for the future of the South and the United States.

 

"Another tightly written historical adventure by Leonard Wibberley" Kirkus Reviews

 

 

Leonard Wibberley
The Epics of Everest (1955)

 

New York: Ariel Books (Farrar, Straus & Young), 1955 [Youth Non-fiction]. 

 

Wibberley chronicles the efforts to conquer the highest mountain on earth from 1849, when George Everest calculated its height at 29,002 feet, to the final victory by New Zealander Edmund Hillary and the Nepalese Sherpa Tensing Norgay in 1953 just over a century later.

 

 

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McGillicuddy McGotham (1956)

 

Boston: Little, Brown, 1956 [Adult Fiction]. 

 

An Irish leprechaun comes to America as Envoy Extraordinary from his people to meet with the president and get him to change the location of an airfield runway being built in Ireland on land sacred to the leprechauns.  He accomplishes his mission with the help of Brian, the son of Irish immigrants, who rescues McGillicuddy from a wad of chewing gum on the streets of New York and acts as his spokesman with those who are not Irish enough to believe in or to see leprechauns. 

 

“A leprechaun in New York and Washington is a delicate subject. Mr. Wibberley handles it delicately, but he never misses a situation that will produce a hearty laugh.”—The Boston Globe

 

“Leonard Wibberley is that rare writer who can combine satire and fantasy and humor and storytelling, and who can write with equal appeal for young readers and adults. All his special abilities and his good qualities combine in this fanciful tale”—Los Angeles Times

 

 

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The Black Tiger (1956)
The Black Tiger Series, Book 1

New York: Ives, Washburn, 1956 [Youth Fiction as Patrick O’Connor].

 

The first of six sports-car racing stories about Woody Hartford, a young racing enthusiast, and his car—the Black Tiger.

From the moment 17-year-old Woody Hartford laid eyes on the Black Tiger, he knew the car was special.


But when her owner dies in a horrible racing accident, the Black Tiger is branded a "killer car."

Then, through a twist of fate, Woody is given the chance to race the Black Tiger in a big race, and suddenly Woody finds himself faced with a dilemma that will define him for the rest of his life: race the killer car or run from it.


"Crackles with the thrill of racing."—The New York Times

 

Leonard Wibberley
Gunpowder for Washington (1956)

 

New York: Ives, Washburn, 1956 [Youth Fiction as Patrick O’Connor]. (Also published under the title Two If By Sea: Washington's Gunpowder.)


The Colonial Army led by George Washington has laid siege to the British forces in Boston at the beginning of the Revolutionary War, but they will have to withdraw unless they get more supplies—especially gunpowder.

This exciting historical adventure tells the tale of George Royall (a young, reluctant lieutenant in the Colonial Navy) who is charged with sailing a secret cargo of gunpowder to Boston—a daring mission that involves Dutch spies, a British blockade, and a young woman who refuses to accept her station and plays an integral part in the mission as she also captures Royall’s heart.


“Derring-do and much lore of the sea. This is satisfying fare.”—Kirkus Review

★★★★★—Goodreads Review

 

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The Trouble with the Irish (1956)

(or the English, Depending on Your Point of View)

 

New York: Henry Holt, 1956 [Adult Non-fiction]. 

 

Wibberley explores the development of the love/hate relationship between the Irish and English.  In the process of relating the fascinating details of the struggles and interactions between the two peoples over the centuries, Wibberley shares the strengths and similarities of the Irish and English in a way that holds out hope that ultimately they will put their “troubles” behind themselves and face the future together.

 

"Wibberley has an eye for the 'chronic shortcomings' and 'talented imbecility' of the Irish and a sympathy for their long oppression. He tells their story with color and vigorous concern."Kirkus Reviews

★★★★★"The author mixes humor in with his account of Irish history, and makes it one enjoyable read."—Goodreads Review

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The Life of Winston Churchill (1956)

 

New York: Ariel Books (Farrar, Straus & Cudahy), 1956 [Youth Biography].

Many books have been written about Winston Churchill at his finest hour as Britain’s leader during World War II, but few tell the stories of the his youth—as a rebellious schoolboy, as a daring young soldier who took part in cavalry charges and in hand-to-hand combat in India and Africa, and as a brazen foreign correspondent, covering wars in Sudan, Cuba, India, and South Africa.

 

This entertaining biography also covers Churchill’s surprising rise as a novelist of 40 books and not-so-surprising rise as statesman—all experiences that shaped the great world leader he became.

 

Suitable for young readers as well as old.

 

“A gratifying introduction to an interesting person.”—Kirkus Review

 

★★★★★ “This was an excellent resource for delving into what I thought was going to be a boring subject.”—Amazon Review

 

“Mr. Wibberley has succeeded admirably in bringing to life the young Churchill, whose life was so different from that of most American boys.”—The Saturday Review, Books for Young People

 

“The author wields a colorful, lively, up-close style and incorporates plenty of action from Winston Churchill’s adventurous life. Several pages of photos enhance the book’s charisma.”—from Churchill: A Concise Bibliography By Buckley Barry Barrett