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Welcome to the Stump the Bookseller blog!  Stump the Bookseller is a service offered by Loganberry Books to reconnect people to the books they love but can’t quite remember. In brief (for more detailed information see our About page), people can post their memories here, and the hivemind goes to work. After all, the collective mind of bibliophiles, readers, parents and librarians around the world is much better than just a few of us thinking. Together with these wonderful Stumper Magicians, we have a nearly 50% success rate in finding these long lost but treasured books. The more concrete the book description, the better the success rate, of course.  It is a labor of love to keep it going, and there is a modest fee.  Please see the How To page to find price information and details on how to submit your Book Stumper and payment.

Thanks to everyone involved to keep this forum going: our blogging team, the well-read Stumper Magicians, the many referrals, and of course to everyone who fondly remembers the wonder of books from their childhood and wants to share or revisit that wonder.  Isn’t it amazing, the magic of a book?

296Y: Haunted house with shrunken ghost

I am looking for the title of a book from my childhood. I was born in 1982. The book might be a Bugs Bunny book where he moves to a new house and doesn’t realize the house already has someone living there; a ghost. The ghost tries everything to scare Bugs Bunny away. He rattles chains, he moans, nothing works. Finally late one night the ghost and Bugs have an encounter and somehow Bugs spills juice on the ghost. Now the ghost is really depressed, can’t get rid of Bugs and has a stain. So Bugs washes the ghosts sheet and accidentally shrinks him to a tiny ghost. Distraught and embarrassed the ghost and Bugs work through their problems and end up sharing the house as friends.

Side note: it might not be Bugs Bunny, it might be the Pink Panther. I can’t remember!

296X: Yellow Cape/Yellow door

This book was on the shelves of the library of my middle school in the early 60’s.  I would find it by the cover, which I think showed a tree with a round door.  Not unlike Hobbiton, the story was about small people and their society.  They lived in hollow trees. The thing I remember best is that the individuals wore capes that matched the color of their front door.

 

296W: Sci-Fi Retelling of Homer’s The Odyssey

I read this in the late 1970s. A 12ish year old boy living in a rural area of the US notices small lakes are disappearing in his area. He deduces that aliens are stealing the water to use for fuel and starts watching for their ship, which he boards when he sees it. The ship takes off while he is aboard and the rest of the book is his adventures in trying to return home. There are other abductees from other planets already on board who become his crew. It is a loose re-telling of Homer’s The Odyssey in that the boy travels from planet to planet aboard the ship and encounters people who are recognizably the Lotus-Eaters, the Cyclops, Circe, etc. Because it’s a children’s book, many of the details are toned down. For example, the Cyclops had poor vision and thus needed to wear a thick lens to see, which the adventurers broke to “blind” him. I remember very well there was a full-page painting of the boy in the Cyclops cave, which might have been the cover of the book.

 

296V: Family moves to country home

This book was from my elementary school library, read around 1967. The book was older, 1950s or 1940s. A family that was either down on their luck, or through an inheritance, move to a house in the country that came with African-American servants. This might have been in the South and it seems as though there was an adjustment. I recall food scenes, such as how much the family enjoyed the fresh baked biscuits. This might have been their first encounter with them. In another scene, the mother twists her ankle while walking through the garden and sits alone until she was found because she was in too much pain to walk. What struck me was that this was the first book I read that was told from both an adult and a child’s viewpoint. There was a mystery involved too but I don’t recall whether the house was haunted.

296U: Teenage model

I read this book, from my high school library, around 1972. It was contemporary at that time. The main character was a pretty, poised girl who gets a job as a fashion model. This scene might have occurred during the hiring process, which took place at a restaurant. She gets the impression that one of the men is flirting with her, so she asks if he has children. When he says yes, she asks to see pictures of them, which distracts him from the flirting so she feels as though she has rejected him without offending him. The girl has a nerdy younger brother and this scene only stays in my mind because a friend who also read it asked me “what are the runs” when she gets to this part. The main character stays home with her younger brother when he has the runs. Although they typically quarrel like siblings do, she feels bad for him this day and is kind.

296T: Foreign college students

I found this in a public library around 1971 and it was a contemporary book. I think it was set in a small New England or Eastern college town. The main character is a student there and becomes friends with students from the Middle East. In one scene she accompanies her friends as they look for apartments to rent and sees the discrimination they face. She falls in love with one of the students, who gives her a gold ring with a sapphire stone. She wears the ring on a gold chain around her neck. The book ends as he breaks her heart by telling her he plans to marry a girl in a marriage arranged by his and the girl’s family. She doesn’t understand why he would marry someone he doesn’t love and he can’t explain to her why he feels he must.

296S: Buttermilk skies

This book was most likely written in the early to mid 1960s. I found it in my junior high school library around 1970.

It might have been written first person.The main character was girl about 15 and I recall three distinct scenes.In one she stands looking out her back door at dusk or night and sees what she describes as “buttermilk skies.” She might say it came from the Hoagy Carmichael song. In another scene she stares at herself in the mirror before going out and thinks “When last seen she was wearing ….” like newscasters do in describing a missing person. The last I recall is that she crossed herself, even though she was not Catholic.

296Q: Tiny Boys Cross the Lawn

In the early sixties I read a green cloth hardback of two boys who drink something in their dad’s basement lab. As they head out to play they suddenly become tiny.  Trying to cross the yard they train a dragonfly with blinders to carry them. Written for maybe fourth grade.

(Surely inspired ‘shrunk the kids’, tho can’t confirm.)