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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?

314V: Imagine That

The book I am looking for is called Imagine That and I remember reading it as a child in the 1980’s. I believe the book was an award winner, but I am not sure what award it won. The book gives prompts and then the child and parent create their own story using imagination. I think the book was in black and white and may have green on the cover. I think one of the prompts is about being in a hot air balloon and asks what do you see. There may be a photo of a hot air balloon and patchwork looking land beneath it. I do not remember the author and have been searching for it for years now. I sure hope you can find it as I would love to buy it for my nieces and nephews.

314U: Coming of Age Mystery

I’m looking for a young adult book I read in the early 1990s about a (teen) girl, coming of age mystery. She is sent to live with her aunts, in the American south, or near a desert as vultures or large birds appear. Thought this was a Madeleine L’engle book but doesn’t match those on her site. There is a mystery to uncover, perhaps time involved. It was not contemporary to the 1990s, the characters were dressed more old fashioned, in dresses, but I think automobiles were around.

314S: Mystery with Pearl Found in Button Jar

I’m looking for a book with a young girl (tween,teen), maybe on vacation in a coastal town?  It’s some kind of a mystery and part of the mystery is solved when she remembers a pearl, or something similar is found in an old button jar. I would have read this in the 60’s or early 70’s. It may have been a scholastic book. It’s driving me nuts.

314R: Magical Powers to Teach Lessons

As a child in the 1980s, I remember reading a chapter book (or a series of chapter books) about a older woman who had magical powers and befriended neighborhood children. I recall that the woman could cast spells and that the spells were used to teach the children lessons. One spell I recall is that if a child said a curse word, a black cloud would follow them around for days. I also recall that the woman had an old book with rose petals dried between the pages.

I recall the book fondly and would like to read it to my children.

314P: Dad Leaves to Find Missing Brother

In this book, dad leaves daughter to find missing brother. Ok, this isn’t the full plot of the book, but rather a scene from it. I believe it was near the beginning of the book, but I just can’t remember what it was. The narrator is a woman, and I believe this was a flashback to when she was a young teen. She talks about her brother going MIA while in Europe, maybe Germany. Her father left to go find her brother. Her father would call every night to talk to her, and then one night he didn’t call. She assumed she had lost them both, and stopped going to school. Then she describes making mac and cheese in the kitchen and seeing a car pull up, and her father and brother step out of the car. They came inside and all just sat down and ate the Mac and cheese without any further discussion. Thank you for any help, this is driving me crazy!!

314O: Silver Blonde Cousins

It’s a mystery/thriller, with some paranormal overtones. I was born in ’66 and I believe I’d read it by the time I entered high school in ’80, so it must have been written sometime before then. Possibly way before then, as I recall the book was a beat-up paperback when I picked it up.

It’s about a set of female cousins. One is dramatically beautiful, outgoing and rich, and kind of mean; she dies (I think before the book’s action begins) and leaves her estate to her cousin, who bears a certain resemblance to her but is kind and introverted. The good cousin moves into the house and begins thinking her dead cousin was murdered, I think? She also starts behaving oddly – more like the dead cousin. She dyes her hair to match the dead cousin. I vaguely recall a reference to “silver blonde” or something like that.
There’s a love interest for the cousin – I want to say he’s a lawyer? And that he also had some kind of relationship with the dead cousin? Maybe?

I think the dead cousin’s name is Cathy or Kathy, or maybe it’s the surviving cousin’s name? I don’t remember how the book develops the ghost angle – whether the ghost is real or just the cousin’s imagination – but I’m pretty sure it turns out she was murdered.

There’s a supporting character who’s a friend of the living cousin. I remember she shows up at one point and is described as an earth mother type, I think, and says something about the coffee she’s offered – like “heavens, yes, keep it coming” or maybe “I like my coffee like I like my men” but I could be wrong on that.

God I hope that’s enough because it’s driving me nuts, and I can’t find it, and this is all I recall.

314N: Magic Siblings Avoid Abduction

This book was found in the children's section at my library around 1985, although it was likely older than that. A group of three or four (or more?) siblings have magic or psychic powers. I believe they can all move things without touching them and maybe fly? I think I remember two scenes: 1) the children were flying in the living room and broke a vase. They used their powers to clean up before mother saw. 2) Villians have followed the children to a movie theater. They escape by crawling under the seats.

Thanks for your efforts!

314M: A Silver Tree, Then A Golden Tree, Then a Diamond Tree

1970s book. Boy or girl goes to live with aunt, who is a good witch. The first thing they do is have tea; pastries grow from a plant in the center of the table. Kid meets another kid; they work to fight an evil witch, at one point, with rowan berries (“Rowan berries and red thread stop a witch in her speed”). They must go to a magical place, where they see a silver tree, then a golden tree, then a diamond tree. That’s pretty much all I remember. Thanks!