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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?

261A: A collection of children’s tales

I remember two books of short stories, a part one and two though I cannot remember any part of the titles. They were hardcover and fairly large, the spines were at least half an inch thick. One was blue and one was yellow, and the books were illustrated in color. The biggest problem I have had in searching for them is that the stories I remember are not ones I have heard anywhere else. It is very possible that they contain well know stories as well, but I cannot be sure. One story has some humble person who needs something from a kingly man. The man likes riddles and makes a riddle something like, you must come back here not on foot or on horseback, not clothed but not naked, and not empty handed or with a gift. A little girl (his daughter I believe) solves this riddle by coming back riding a hare, wearing a fishing net, and holding a bird. I remember a picture of that scene. I think it was actually a second riddle, I don’t remember the first part. Another story I remember less of has a misbehaving boy who takes a deep breath through his mouth and inhales a tiny man (or two possibly). The man or creature talks to him and I cannot remember if he was good or bad but the boy stops misbehaving (possibly yelling too much) in the end.

 

I cannot remember anything else at the moment. but hopefully you all will have more luck that I have so far.

Thank you!

260G: An East Indian (Mid Century Illustrated) Children’s Book: Parrot and a Princess

This book is one of a series of books by a female illustrator (and for some reason I think she has an Asian name).  They are all different stories from different cultures.  The one I am searching for (and found years ago on a site from Australia when I still remembered the actual name but neglected to write it down) is a story about an East Indian Prince who listens to a parrot’s advice about a Princess.  The Princess has many sisters and an overbearing father.  The Prince is cast out into the wild, I think he’s beaten up by other Princes, and the parrot is there with him to give him advice.  I can’t remember if the parrot is more of a trickster parrot who gets the Prince into trouble, or a helpful parrot.  I think they end up together (Prince & Princess) and I don’t know what happens to the parrot. Regardless, the illustrations are simply beautiful and with crisp and clear colours belonging to the mid-century era of illustration.  I believe it’s oriented landscape, about 8”x11” (or smaller, but not by much), and it’s paperback.  My Mum bought it in the early 1970s Victoria, BC, Canada, but I’m not sure if she bought it used or new.

260F: Girl raised by witches is really a fairy (Solved)

There was a book that I always took out of my elementary school library between 1975 and 1978.  Although I do not have the title, what I recall is as follows:

The book is about witches and fairies.  The little witch in the story never felt right with the other witches, they were mean. I think she used to see the fairies and wish she was one of them.  The middle gets fuzzy but towards the end she discovers that when she was a baby she was caught in the witches web and that’s how she came to be with them.  But she was really a fairy and was returned to them.

I know this is not much but at 47 years old I cannot put this story out of my mind.  I have always been an avid reader and hope to find this book.  It will haunt me otherwise.

260E: Ball

No author that I recall.  It was a small [~3-4″ by ~6-7″] hardback book with glossy color cover. A leaf-green border and white center background with a red ball [it might have had a yellow stripe around it].

The first line on the first page is: “The ball lay on the ground wanting to be thrown.” It is the tale of the adventure of this ball being tossed from place to place by random individuals. Not more than 20 pages total, probably less. It ended on the last page with: ” … wanting to be thrown again … ”

I thought it was from Germany; my husband thought it was from France. But neither of us recalls ever actually reading the publication/copyright page.

We bought it in a little boutique toy store [long gone] in Pasadena in the mid to late 80s.

I wish I had more details. It disappeared from my goddaughter’s room, and was never found. I have a new grandson, and would love to find it for him.

260D: Brothers trapped by tides meet a dragon

I am trying to remember the title of a children’s book i read in the early 1990s. It was a short paperback chapter book. The story was about 2 brothers (they may or may not have been truly biological brothers) and they were opposite and did not get along. One was very athletic and the other was nerdy and more brainy. They go on a summer vacation together (grudgingly) to the East coast. I want to say the Maritimes? Somewhere with very high tides. Anyway they go exploring some caves together, but time passes faster than they expected, the tide rises and they are trapped in this cave together. But they find some magical way into a fantasy world. And there are dragons and magic. And the nerdy brother is the one who is more clever and able in this world than the jock brother. And there is a part where i think they have a riddle contest with a Dragon and the nerdy brother outsmarts the dragon. The brothers become friends in the end.

260C: Older Teen Romance Book

I want to say this book was set in the 1950s – I read it as a child in the 1970s – part of the collection of young adult books at the Jonesboro Library in Jonesboro, AR.

It was about a young teen girl who was plump and had some skin problems. She had an older sister who was slender.  I remember one specific scene – the younger girl was eating a tuna salad sandwich for lunch and her sister told her she shouldn’t eat that because it was bad for her skin. She was going to do her usual sneering retort, but instead she asked her sister what she should eat instead – what she was having? The younger sister started paying more attention to her appearance. She met a boy who was new in town – her parents invited his parents over for dinner (I think they worked together). She put on too much of her sister’s makeup and borrowed heels and made a grand entrance to the dinner. Her parents were horrified and sent her back upstairs to change, so she was humiliated. The boy actually did like her already, but she didn’t have any self-confidence. Over the summer she started eating better and slimmed up. She eventually ended up with the boy who said he’d liked her all along.

260A: Shorts stories with biblical references

I’m looking for a collection of short stories, possibly by Saul Bellow.

The book may have chapter headings which are names of Bible books, such as Job, Exodus, Psalms, etc). The collection may include a humorous story about a man on a ledge, ready to jump, but he keeps moving, and so do the well-meaning people down below who are ready to catch and help him.

259H: Bored retired train engineer

My husband (currently 62) fondly remembers a short book about a retired train engineer who was bored at home.

The engineer’s wife suggested he build a backyard railway – which he did – and the neighbourhood children flocked to it for rides and happy times.

This made the retired train engineer very happy and no longer bored.

Sorry I have nothing more to go on other than the book would have been purchased in Montreal, Quebec (in English, not in French) and it may have a

British connection as Andrew’s parents were born in England and moved to Canada in the late 1940’s.

Any assistance you can offer in helping me to locate this book would be invaluable as Andrew is an only child and both his parents have passed on.

It is a memory he speaks of often and I would dearly love to find the book for him.