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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?

302V: Travels through alternate universes and baseball

Possibly a book, possibly a series – listened to as an audio book on a car trip in the early 2000’s. The book was from Cracker Barrel (which is apparently Ingram Entertainment titles, if that helps). The book followed three protagonists, a girl and two boys. They traveled to other worlds or alternate universes through tunnels. The other worlds usually had some sort of baseball theme. At least one had a society of gnomes who used it as their court procedures. The girl protagonist was a pitcher. The had a map that helped them find the way – depending on how it was folded, it could show a neighborhood, a city or even be a star map. The antagonists had eyes you could see through, all the way to what was on the other side of their heads – photographs of Manhattan Project scientists showed that many of them were bad guys due to this effect.

302U: Little Mermaid Maybe?

The version I am looking for has an illustration of a cloud at the end of the book with a face in it.  Not full page, smaller illustration.  Also- illustration with the sisters coming out of the water to hand a knife to the little mermaid.

This is a rarer version- I stumbled across one other person who tried to find it on a Livejournal search.  She googled like I did and none of the google illustrations quite fit.

It was illustrated, only the little mermaid story.  It was a small hardcover book, purple/violet I think?

Thank you!

302T: Hansel and Gretel accordion book

Looking for a book we had when we were small, so no later than 1990.  Probably much older, though.  It was a Hansel and Gretel story, told in pictures, I believe.  I don’t think there were words.  It was an accordion book, so card stock or heavier.  It was pastel tones, I believe, probably watercolor.  I remember Hansel having crazy curly blonde hair that stuck out every which way, and them having plump cheeks. The book was probably about 3 inches square, very small. Hope you can help!

302S: People come together in apartment building during snowstorm

Hi! I am looking for a book with this basic storyline…I think I’ve got the details right.  This was a book I read in the 1990s.

A little girl walks home (an apartment building) from school in a snow storm. I think the power goes out in the apartment building (or maybe everyone is snowed-in?), and all of the neighbors within the building start meeting in the little girl’s family apartment.  Each of the neighbors brings something with them (I only remember candles and meatballs…and maybe the neighbor who brought the meatballs was named Mrs. Sanchez?) At the end of the story, the little girl, and I think her father, makes a snow cone with the snow outside her window.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for helping!!! I would LOVE to read this story to my daughter’s kindergarten class at her holiday party this year 🙂

302R: Monsters in Rain

This children’s storybook is no later than late 70’s or early to mid 80’s, it had pictures. There were some evil monsters or something that hated rain and were vulnerable to water, so some people went out to confront them during a rainstorm by putting their coats in jars to keep them dry. The people then put on their dry coats when they approached the monsters, and when the monsters asked why the people weren’t wet, the people said they were able to move between the raindrops without getting wet. The people told the the monsters how they could do the same, but when the monsters tried it the water got them.

302Q: They were poor but it was entertaining.

[/private role="author"]Joanie Koehn, jkoehn@hgwllc.com[/private]

The book is about a single mom and her mob of semi-hoodlum kids.  It was a Books on Tape and I listened to it on a long ride with my mother circa 2008.  She has since passed away.

I want to say it’s the ‘Grubbers’ or the Maude’s Motley crew .  They were poor but it was entertaining.

302P: Fiction, Pre U.S. Revolutionary War Saga

This book probably was published before 1955 when I was in the fifth grade. It was the read-aloud after lunch by our teacher Miss Gambee. I met her again when I was an adult, but she didn’t remember its title. As I remember it, it begins with a boy sitting in his favorite oak tree trying to save it because the British navy has marked it for use as a mast. This scene sets up one of the many reasons for the eventual revolution of the colonies.

Another part of the saga deals with the moving of the French Canadians or Acadians, but I’m not sure how that fit in.

In another scene, a young lady is weaving wool for rebel uniforms when a wounded British soldier is brought to her house to recover. This part of the saga seemed to be trying to tell its readers that enemies are not always the villains we make them out to be.

I don’t remember the end of the book, but I’m fairly certain it took us through the revolution to its end, maybe to the formation of the new constitution, but I’m not sure. In Oregon, fifth graders study U.S. history up to the constitution, so this novel was a very good way of showing the reasons for the revolution and the turmoil of war. It was a lot more memorable than the text book. I hope you can find it. My daughter now teaches fifth grade and I would love to give it to her if it can be purchased.

302O: Chapter Book about Young Man and a Bicycle Race (Solved)

My memory is of a chapter book that I checked out from an elementary school library in the late 60’s. It was about a young man participating in a bicycle race, perhaps the Tour de France, or modeled after that race. It was more advanced than a simple picture book, and my recollections are that the style of writing and illustrations could have been from the 50’s to early 60’s. The grueling race was seen through this young participant’s eyes, and I recall the descriptions being quite vivid. Again, my memory is that it was an upper-elementary or perhaps middle grade reading level. It was a realistic account of a long, multi-day bicycle race but was definitely a novel. Thanks for any help you can give.

302N: The Wisdom of the Weasel

This is a story which I remember hearing on the radio when I was about four years old in 1948.  I’m pretty sure the radio program was the “No School Today” show with Big Jon and Sparkie.  I have the impression that this story was on a record Big John played, rather than a story he told or read himself.

The story as I remember it is that two young rabbits, one brown and one white, were friends and played together in the woods.  Someone (the fox?) started a rumor among the white rabbits that the brown rabbits were dangerous to them because the hunters could see the brown rabbits so easily when the snow was on the ground in the winter.  “And when the hunters find the brown rabbits, they’ll find you too.”  Another rumor (also from the fox?) started among the brown rabbits that the white rabbits were dangerous to be around because the hunters could see the white rabbits so easily when the leaves were on the ground in the fall.  “And when the hunters find the white rabbits, they’ll find you too.”  The rabbit community was split.

The two friends consulted the oldest and wisest animal in the woods, the great ermine weasel.  He told them that he knew both sides of this split because his coat was white in the winter (except for the tip of his tail that was then black) and brown the rest of the year (except for the tip of his tail that was then white.)  He told them that rather than being dangerous to each other, the white and brown rabbits should help each other.  In the fall, the brown rabbits should go out first in the morning, and tell the white rabbits to come out only when the brown rabbits had made sure that there were no hunters around.  And in the winter, the white rabbits should go out first and make sure it was safe.

The two friends carried this wisdom back to their rabbit village, the rumors were defeated, and the split in the community was healed.  (And the fox went away hungry?)

What is the name of this story, who wrote it, and where was it published?

302M: Gray binding and Wild Swans

I am trying to identify and purchase a copy of a children’s lit anthology I had as a child. The copy I had was hardcover, gray binding with a bright green repeating motif on the cover. Among the stories included was HC Andersen’s “The Wild Swans.” There was another story about a princess sent to live with a family that had five girls whose last names ended in “-belle,” and a youngest sister Echo.