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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?

236E: Boy with special power

Book I can’t remember details of:
Genre: Fiction/Fantasy (Most likely young adult/teen fiction)
Time Read: 5-7 years ago
May have been a paperback
Plot points: Main character is a boy, found/kidnapped after some tragedy (burning village?).
Kidnappers include a pair of twins? that have some sort of snake/venom/acid power.
They are encountered and defeated by another group of twins, who can control lightning or something like that.
(big time gap missing in memory)
Boy is taken to some sort of fortress/academy/institution and trained to fight, and ride large raptors?/bulls? which he enjoys a lot as he understands/knows a lot about them
He makes a rival out of his roommate or a rival is picked for him from one of the boys at the academy, not sure which. They get in fights (I think?).
There is a spot out in the training field of the academy with two buildings, one of them being a black isolation sort of box where people go in and experience things that terrify them and come out determined not to mess up again.
There is a test at some point where the boy has to travel through a very foggy area with a bunch of dangerous creatures to an old abandoned tower.
To graduate the academy there is a crucible/gauntlet/arena where he has to kill/defeat his teacher.
There is a love interest? who is the princess?(maybe) of a nation of people with beast powers.
In this book world there are people with powers that come from bloodlines and/or animals and/or eye colours and the powers generally stay within the kingdoms they originated from.
There is a character in some part of the book from a royal family that pushed their sibling/infant sibling/ or the heir to some throne from a window causing a severe injury which can be healed by the main character or something like that.
The main character has a power that allows them to view things from long distances, invade people’s minds, see spirits?(maybe), and other things like that.
Main character is maybe/likely an orphan, some part of the book involves a revealing of who exactly his parents (Father specifically) were.

236D: A boy and his wolf

I remember this book from when I was a kid, my dad first introduced it to me.
The book is set in late colonial period I think and is about a young impoverished boy and his family. The town in which he lives finds a wolf den, and he is the only one who can go down into the den. He agrees to go but for a price, he gets to keep one pup. The townspeople agree and when he goes down he finds five or six pups still alive. He picks one and comes out with it, telling everyone that it was the only one alive. He takes the wolf and begins to raise it. I know he watches an bald eagle kill a hawk, which he then takes to his professor/taxidermist friend and sells to him. That is about all I can remember.

236B: Stuffed animal disguises himself

I borrowed a copy of a chapter-book from a preschool acquaintance of mine in Canada in 1991 or 1992. As I recall, though, it was a hardcover with slightly off-white pages, meaning that it might have been much older. As I recall, it was a medium-sized book of short stories about a group of bedroom toys, with black-and-white ink illustrations. The only story I remember in any detail was about a stuffed animal who goes into his owner’s closet and re-emerges wearing a pile of clothing and declaring himself to be ‘_______ _______ III’. At the age I was, I had no idea that this meant ‘the third’, so I always mentally read it as ‘I-I-I’ or ‘one-one-one’. The other toys are astonished at first, but I’m pretty sure there was the predictable unmasking by the end of the story. Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

235D: Creepy anthology from the 70s

Anthology of monsters or horror. One of the first stories was about a boy and his sister (or baby-sitter?), and the boy has an ugly doll with a red yarn string as a mouth. I think the yarn doll has a wire in the arm, and it scratches the girl, and she thinks it did it on purpose.
At the end of the story, the boy is wearing pajamas that look like those of the doll, and the boy starts to smile, and his smile stretches out into a red yard mouth.
I get the creeps just describing it again! Probably from the 1970’s. My memory is that it was illustrated, and hardcover.

235C: Hippo’s Birthday

I am looking for a book from my childhood which I remember very well. I am from the UK. The book must be more than 20 years old. It is about a hippopotamus, referred to as “Hippo” in the text. The Hippo asks his dad (also a Hippo) if it is his birthday every day. “Is it my birthday today?” and the dad hippo would reply, “No, not today, Hippo.” This goes on for some time as his birthday approaches. It is eventually his birthday and when he asks a final time, I think the dad hippo says, “Yes, Hippo. Today is your birthday. I even remember the dad hippo hiding the birthday cake on top of a wardrobe.

235A: A young girl shares her weathervanes with her neighbors

I was born in 1953 and think maybe the book was for 8-10 year olds so, if it was newly-published, maybe it was from the early 1960s? I have only vague memories of it, of course.  The story of a girl who has moved somewhere new–a place that, to a kid like me from Los Angeles, stuck with me as exotic, like maybe Florida? I think the plot is that the girl has this collection of weathervanes and, when family relocates to a housing development where all the homes are identical, she gets this great idea of giving each neighbor one of the different weathervanes to make life easier for everyone! (The movie “Inside Out” made me think of this book–what happens when a plucky little girl moves?)