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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?

228F: Town’s largest yarn ball

This book is an older children’s/YA book, set in small-town America. It was published in the 80s or earlier. The major competition in the town is which of two women had the larger ball of yarn/string. Everyone adds their spare bits to one or the other – I believe the POV character (a girl) brought the string from around a package to add to one woman’s ball.

Eventually, the town decided they needed to know once and for all. One woman’s was measurably a little bit larger, but there was the question of how tightly it was wound, plus there was the rumor that there was a peach pit in the center.

In the end, they decided to answer the question by unwinding each ball around a racetrack or something. I think they may have had to knock out walls to get the balls out of their owners’ houses. Partway through the unwinding one of the balls did indeed start looking notably peach-pit-shaped, and that’s the last I remember.

Thanks for any help!

228E: Orphan? girl who cares for animals in winter

A young girl seems to live by herself without parents in a small house/cabin. It is winter and her cabin is snowed in so she digs herself out in order to do her chores, which consist of taking care of a variety of animals. At the end of the day I think she makes herself a cup of cocoa and goes to sleep surrounded by her animal friends.
I read this children’s book when I was young in the 90’s although it may have come from the 80’s as I have two older siblings. The illustrations are in color and I might remember the girl wearing a red scarf or hat.

Thank you!

228D: A girl who loved to enter contests (Solved)

Hello…I am remembering a book I likely read in 5th or 6th grade about a girl who loved to enter contests. It was sort of an obsession for her…but the contests required skill, like writing a jingle or advertising copy. The one snippet I sort of recall had the words “sweets” “treats” and “table” in it…and possibly a brand name like SWISHERS. Help?!??!

228B: Child (maybe a “monster”) goes home for Xmas and discovers a secret passage in back of closet

I am looking for a book for a friend. She describes it as a young boy (possibly a “monster”) goes home for from boarding school for Christmas on a train and discovers the house a secret passage in the back of a closet. There is a map in the back of the book with the secret passageways. She think it came out in the early 90s and was a scholastic title. The family was wealthy. The book was intended for children 9-12. Help!?

228A: A collection of short stories with a black and white cover

My grandmother used to read this to me when I was a child. I don’t remember a whole lot of details but I’ll do my best. It was a very thin book and I believe it was stapled as opposed to bound. It was a collection of children’s short stories, and I mean SHORT. It was a black cover I think with a white border around it and white lettering, maybe some red? Two stories stand out to me, but there must have been 5 or 6, maybe more in the whole book. One was about 2 little girls, one was over at the other’s house I think and was a bit of a whiner or always trying to one-up her friend. The other was about an old man, I think he wore cowboy boots and hat and had like a long stalk of grass he chewed on in his mouth, and lots of different characters in the town including animals. Illustrations I believe were only black and white, and were very Shel Silverstein-esque, but it wasn’t his. I don’t even know if all the stories were written by the same person or not. My grandmother used to own a bookstore in Hartland, WI the early 80s so I suspect it was from there around that time, but could have been older, I don’t know.

227N: The story of Thambi (Solved)

I’m trying to recall the title of a children’s book which told the story of Thambi in a rural village in India trying to earn enough money for something he wanted by bringing a “Merican” (American) lady local flowers to paint. She asked him to find what were orchids, but possibly not called orchids, and one of the older village men told him to look in the trees in the forrests that lined the slopes of a local mountain called “the bearded one.” He found the orchids, brought them to the lady for painting, earned his money but bought a blanket for his family rather than what he wanted. The shop keeper saw what he had done and promised that the book or whatever it was he wanted would be there when he had earned some more money.

Can anyone remember this book?

Note: It has been identified as  ‘Pinneyo Rama?’ (What then, Raman?) by Shirley L Arora, published in 1961.

227M: A forgotten anthology

I think this book is an old vintage reader from the 1950s or 60s.  It has some very good stories in it I’d like to read again.  In one story there is a flood and a grandmother and a boy or girl move up to the attic.  There is a cook stove up there and Grandmother makes cookies while the water rises.  The illustrations show her rolling out the dough for the cookies. In another story a young boy tries to teach an old Indian how to drive.  I’d love to read these stories again as I cannot remember how they ended.

Thank you!

227L: Old lady and her mysterious envelopes

Greetings!

I am looking for a children’s book from the ’40 or ’50s about an older woman who prepared for the week by putting items into envelopes that she would need for each day.  On Monday she got a paper cut; in Monday’s envelope was a handkerchief to press against the cut.  On another day, several tiger cubs showed up at her door; in that day’s envelope were the right number of pieces of shewing gum for each of the cubs, to occupy them.

 

227K: Lavishly illustrated fairies

I am looking for a childhood book my mother read to me around 1954 when we lived in Virginia.  It was about fairies and lavishly illustrated.  My favorite was the center fold illustration of fairies in the forest dancing under a moon that had a gauzy ring around it.  It was not Golder Books Treasury of Elves and Fairies by Garth Williams.  Any ideas?

Thanks.