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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?

217G: 3-year-old tiger; duck with duck-head umbrella

I was born in 1947 and probably owned this story book (illustrated with line drawings) when I was 4–6 years old. My memory is fuzzy, but here goes! One story, more or less in verse, was about a 3-year-old tiger who “lumbered along and lumbered along,” searching for 3-day-old meat. (He eventually found that 3-day-old meat was too old to eat.) Another story was about a mother who took her son clothes shopping and bought him 3 of everything: 3 shirts, 3 belts, 3 pairs of shoes, etc. A third story was about a duck who had a umbrella with a duck-head handle. I believe there was also a story about a stray cat who eventually found a home; the story possibly involved bottles of milk outside the door of a house.

217F: General story about competition between girl from a working and a rich girl who gets everything she wants.

Book about two girls who love horses and art but are competing against each other in an art contest. I think their names are Lori and Darlene. Lori desperately loves and wants to buy a Palomino but has to work (saving cedar shingles off old barns?) to earn money but someone is burning old barns down and burns some of the shingles she has collected and jeopardizes her chance of getting the Palomino. Also remember “Lori’s” dad making her an art loft in the barn, then “Darlene” gets her dad to make her a fancy, much-better studio. Book references Ephesians 4:31-32. General story about competition between hard-working girl from a working family versus a rich girl who gets everything she wants.

217E: Agatha and Hanni

Here’s what I remember of the book I’m looking for.

It was a collection of short chapters.
Took place in Austria (?)
Main characters were a father with two daughters. Agatha (Agathe?) and Hanni (Hanna?).
Seemed like non-fiction.

The older daughter, Agatha, was ill but in the last chapter was able to walk in her confirmation procession.
But there was a sad epilogue saying that Agatha died some time after the story ended, before adulthood.
I think I read it as an adult but that could still have been 50 years ago.

217D: childrens book lost musings: a tree, a river, animal friends

I am looking for a book which was the first full length read I had, which was
in about 1955. I believe the book was written in the 1940’s or 1950’s, not sure.

It concerned a group of creatures, a squirrel, elf, bird, maybe others, who were
comrades, and hung out either by an old abandoned mill, or big oak tree, by a
river or stream.

At the end of the book, something caused this group to break up, and some of the
comrades to have to leave, travel, wander. ( I was shattered)

I have tried ABE books, not much success, just saw you bookstore & service in
Book Review / NY Times, “Authors Note / sarah manguso” Sunday March 8.
The longing she describes about a “lost” chidren’s book is all too familiar to me.
Like most people, I have suffered partings, endings of life eras, but nothing so
deep as the loss of these characters & the world they inhabited.

I think ABE suggested, maybe, Dorothy Clewes as author, but when I reviewed
various contents of books, did not seem right. If any, might be: The Wild Wood 1945,
but I really have little idea.

HELP ! & thanks

217C: Twin Girls Separated as Babies

I’m looking for the title of a book I read sometime between 1984 and 1991, which had probably not been published very long before that, about twin girls who had been separated and adopted by different couples when they were very young. I think their parents had died, and the twins were split by their grandparents. One twin lived in San Francisco. (I’ll call her Twin 1.) They discovered that they were twins when one of the girls found her original birth certificate which listed her as a twin and confronted her adoptive parents. The girls met, and Twin 2 went to San Francisco to visit Twin 1. There was something spooky going on, and the San Francisco fog was played up for the creepiness factor. I believe it ended up that Twin 1 knew someone or something was trying to kill her, and when she discovered that she had a twin she planned to take over Twin 2’s life and leave Twin 2 to die in her place.

This is not Stranger With My Face by Lois Duncan.

217B: Girl Coping with Parents’ Divorce and Father’s Second Marriage

The book I’m trying to remember is a YA novel about a girl in middle or high school. Her parents were recently divorced, and her father remarried not long after. I think his new wife was a teacher, or maybe a substitute, at the girl’s school. The girl has a new babysitter or nanny or au pair, possibly an older high school or college student. I think they might have held a seance or used a Ouija board together, but I’m not positive. There was a scene with the girl and her mother driving in the rain, and the girl was thinking about her father’s second marriage, with the words “Divorced in (a month, maybe December), married in (another month, possibly May)” running through her head like a chant in time with the windshield wipers. I think the girl’s last name is Beckwith, or something similar, but that’s the only name I remember. I think it was probably published between 1985 and 1991, or sometime close to that.

217A: African-American girl wants to be teacher’s bridesmaid

I read this story in the early 1970s. I believe it was part of an anthology or a school reader, but don’t know if it was a short story or essay or an excerpt from a longer novel or memoir. An African-American girl in a mostly white class loves her teacher and believes she and her friends are going to be in the teacher’s wedding party; she is devastated to find she’s been excluded due to community prejudice. I recall a vivid description of the girls’ fantasies about the dresses and shoes they might wear. I think one of the girls was named Patricia, which is my name, but I don’t think she was the protagonist. Thank you!

216D: Toy soldier battles

I am looking for a children’s (young adult) book whose name I do not know.

I read the book in the early 1950’s, but would guess that based on the illustrations in the book it was probably written before or at the beginning of second world war.

The book is the story of a child (possibly English) who collects toy soldiers which he uses to fight mock battles with other children. He is lured into fighting an unfair battle with his nemesis, and as a result loses all his soldiers. Due to circumstances that I do not remember he gets a chance to create a new army of toy soldiers which he uses to defeat his old enemy.

The book is well illustrated, Showing WWI (or at least British) toy soldiers and equipment.

Unfortunately I do not remember anything else about the book. the cover was missing when i got it. It could have been published in England.

216C: Wealthy man spends all money and then must live as begger

I am trying to find a SHORT STORY I read in the 1950s:
“(Possibly) in the late Victorian era, two gentlemen espy a beggar sitting in the street. One tells the other the story of the beggar. He was once a wealthy man, but was disturbed that when he eventually died he would leave behind at least part of his fortune, which he would not have enjoyed himself. He either did not believe in inherited wealth, or had no worthy heirs, I am unsure. He therefore calculated how much he needed every year to continue enjoying the life to which he had become accustomed. He then assessed his total assets, divided them by the annual need, and determined the date upon which he would be down to his last penny. He then vowed that he would live life to the full, and then kill himself on that date. Inevitably, when the fateful day came, he could not bring himself to go through with it, and was doomed to spend the rest of his life as a beggar”.
Many thanks in anticipation of any help identifying this.

216B: being nice

about a boy who (i think) trips over his dog coming down the stairs in the morning, makes him mad, so he is mean to everyone all day. The book shows how the anger/meanness is spread from person to person. It then show either the next day, or an alternate reaction and how niceness and kindness is spread to everyone. (I think maybe in the negative day it spreads around until it comes back to him and someone is sharp/mean to him) I read this book in my local library at least 19 years ago.