Help me re-discover a favorite childhood book please

When I was in about 3rd grade, there was a book in the classroom bookshelf that I read countless times, but I cannot remember the name of it, nor who wrote it. It is one of my favorite childhood memories.

The basic story went something like this:
(it had illustrations too…this was circa 1978)

There’s a boy who meets a girl. The girl always wears a ribbon around her neck. Boy keeps asking girl why she wears the ribbon. She won’t tell him. After awhile they fall in love. The boy and girl share their first kiss or date or something. anyway… the boy asks the girl why she wears the ribbon again and she tells him he can untie it…boy unties the ribbon and her head springs off of her body and she dies. The end

It’s a funny off-the-wall humor kids book. Not gruesome or anything. It’s completely innocent, but the surprise ending always got me. It still does. The story really built a lot of suspense about the ribbon, without giving any clues to the fact that it was holding the girl’s head on her body.

Holy donuts. I recall that as well.

Two of us waiting patiently for a response now.

That story is an old and relatively famous ghost story. I’ve heard it told several times, and read it in at least a few collections of spooky/eerie/ghost etc. tales. Unfortunately, I don’t know which book you read it in, and like most ghost stories, version vary widely. (The books I read - it’s been a while, but I’m pretty sure they didn’t have illustrations.) There’s at least one version in verse. (In fact, there’s at least two, because I just found another one online.)

Sorry I can’t be more help. If this is really driving you crazy, you might be able to find some version of this story by going to your local library and looking through ghost story collections; asking a children’s librarian might help, too.

…the girl’s name was Jenny and the ribbon was green.

Maybe it was “The Green Ribbon?”

(searching Google for “jenny green ribbon”…)

Yep, apparently the story is “The Green Ribbon” by Alvin Schwartz and illustrated by Dirk Zimmer, and it can be found in In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories.

Here you go with an Amazon link.

Once I was the King of Spain!

Another Frühead! WOOOOO!

The book that this story is in is one of these three:
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, and Scary Stories III

The title of the story is “The Green Ribbon”

The books are by a popular author, famous for collecting folk stories, Alvin Schwartz.

The books are illustrated beautifully and a neat for kids and Halloween.

I remember reading a page-long version of this story in the mid-1960’s (and it was told as being a very old story already), so this is probably a folktale that’s been circulating for many decades.

Wow… I never would have guessed that the “girl with ribbon around her neck” story, was a UL / folk type of story.

I just read the one deepbluesea posted. It’s pretty close to what I remember except in the version I recall:

[li]This story was a small book, in and of itself, with no other stories in it.[/li]
[li]The ribbon was yellow, or red, I believe.[/li]
[li]IIRC, in the version I used to read, the girl and boy never got older than teens before the story ended.[/li]
Since quite a few of you have mentioned story variations, it’s quite possible that my recollections are valid. It’s been a long time ago though. Thanks everyone!

I first read it in Maria Leach’s THE RAINBOW BOOK OF AMERICAN FOLK TALES AND LEGENDS (World Publishing, 1958), a nicely illustrated oversized book that anyone with children should immediately do an online search for and pay any price.

The ribbon was indeed yellow.

Oh, and in THAT version, the boy and girl grow up together, get married (the girl says that MAYBE she’ll tell him on their wedding day, but when the day comes he’s too happy to remember to ask), and grow old together…and it’s only when the woman is on her death bed and the man says “Please, PLEASE tell me why you wear that yellow ribbon” that she says “All right, you can untie it now.”