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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?

273D: Ethereal Little Mermaid Illustrations

I’m looking for a Hans Christian Andersen collection of fairy tales from the early 90s. I read it when around 1994-6 but it could have been published a little earlier. I remember it for its Little Mermaid illustrations. They were so beautiful and seemed to glow. Lots of pale mermaids with long blonder hair. Like angels. The pages I remember most are the pictures where the Little Mermaid’s sisters are hoisting each other up out of the sea to hand her a dagger to kill the prince. The last page is the Little Mermaid floating to the sky as an angel after she kills herself to save the prince. It was hardcover and I believe it also had The Princess and the Pea and The Tin Solider stories in it, but I think different illustrators worked on them.


Hope this was enough to be helpful. I tried to look up books published in that time frame with Hans Christian Andersen author credits, but couldn’t find a comprehensive list.

273C: Four Corners Young Adult Mystery

It’s a young adult mystery set in Four Corners area (Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Arizona).  A family moves to the Four Corner Area and the teen aged kids get involved with a museum.  The mystery involves oil and artifacts from the area.  The name of the book include the words “Black Gold,” but I’m not sure.  I read the paperback in the later 50s or early 60s.

272I: A girl experiences a ghostly phenomenon

This was a book my doctor had in his office when I was a kid in the 70s. It was a small paperback about a house that was haunted by children who used to live there–I think there may have been a murder committed that started the haunting, and a little girl who was either living in the house or had visited it who was experiencing the ghostly phenomenon.

272G: Orphaned teen keeps siblings together

Looking for the titile and author of a young adult fiction book, paperback, published late 1970s or early 1980s, approx. 200 pages.  The book’s title could be similar to “Keeping It All Together.”  The story likely was set in the 1970s to early 1980s, England/United Kingdom or another country using pounds instead of dollars.  I read it around 1983-85.

After a 17 year old girl’s parents die in a auto accident, she toils to keep her orphaned younger siblings together, counting the days until her 18th birthday when she can become their legal guardian.  The story chronicles her struggles to survive with scarce funds and keep her siblings, their school work, home and run-down car from falling apart – all while avoiding the government social services inspector, who threatens to split the siblings up into separate foster homes.

The orphans secretly take care of themselves, while keeping up the appearance that an adult relative is helping them.  Some of the children’s names might be Maggie or Jenny and one of the brothers may have gotten into trouble.  The run-down car they use might be an old van, and the teen girl may have a befriended a young man who assists with auto repairs.

It’s possible the book’s cover art has a soft pastels/watercolor illustration of the family with a light yellow van parked outside their house on a residential street in England or Ireland.

272F: Picture book about pesticides/food chain

This was a picture book from my childhood (so, early 90s). The kingdom wants to rid itself of some kind of insect (I think), so they spread pesticide or dust which I believe was purple all around. I think everything up the food chain starts getting purple spots, until the princess ends up with a purple spot on her nose and they realize the error of their ways.

272E: Mr. Apple’s Family

Collection of children’s stories containing Mr. Apple’s Family and also a story about a little girl and a goat who live in a house with a roof made of grass. I think the goat gets into mischief? The edition we had was an orange hardcover.

Additional info:  This was a book at my grandmother’s house, and she is a big second-hand shopper, so I have no idea on original publication date, etc.  I was enjoying this book in 90s, and it was in relatively good condition at that time.  The illustrations were not very colorful, mostly black and white I think with a few splashes of color here and there.  The above stories are the only two I can remember for sure being included in the book, but there may have been one about pancakes(?), and maybe also some poetry.

272D: Hero has to choose the true object from a room full of copies

A black and white illustrated children’s book that I read in the 80’s. At one point the hero has to chose the real object hidden amongst a bunch of duplicates. The object may have been a small knight or castle figurine. The hero solves the riddle by asking the various craftsmen who made the copies which one they think is best. The one left over is the true object.  The craftsmen or makers may have been dwarves or some other type of fantasy creature like an elf.

I recall it being a fantasy type setting, possibly medieval and probably had a typical Hero’s Journey type structure to it. The illustrations seemed to be cross hatched or stippled and I’m pretty sure they were in black and white only. The illustrations were large enough to make me think this was a picture book. The book was probably a hardcover and likely in a landscape format.


Hope you can help!