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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?

313E: Pet Alligator’s Balcony Garden

In this children’s book, a pet alligator lives in a penthouse apartment. He wants a garden to be on his balcony. One day, he falls off of the balcony to either get at a plant or a balloon animal. (Somehow, balloon animals are involved. ) He gets stuck in a tree, and his owners frantically search for him. At the end, they buy plants to put on his balcony. Each page was full of intricate details when you examined them closely.

313D: Visit to the Weatherman

I’m looking for a book about a little girl who forms a friendship with a grumpy weatherman. Her class is due to go on a school trip, to the beach I think, but the teacher tells them they can’t go if it rains.The girl decides to go and see the weatherman to request nice weather.The weatherman is in his weather factory and can see that she is on her way to find him. He sends wind, rain, snow, and all sorts of bad weather so she can’t make it. For some reason, I think there is a picture of her in a snow storm on Inkerman Street. The street name might be mis-remembered though. When she finally gets there, the weatherman is cross because people only come to see him when they want something. The girl realizes he’s lonely and they make friends. He shows her round his weather factory and makes her cloud ice cream with rainbows. He gives them good weather and the trip goes ahead. It was probably published in the 70s or 80s. The illustrations in Anthony Browne’s books really remind me of the illustrations. I loved it so much but my mum was a teacher and took all our childhood books to her school when we out grew them, and no one can remember what this one was called.

313B: Children’s Halloween – Tour of a House with Monsters

I’m trying to find a book my mom used to read to me. I was born in 1992 so I’m assuming it was published in the late 80s/early 90s. It was a children’s Halloween book with a sound panel. The book was large with a dark purple cover with a haunted house. I’m pretty sure there was a character named Frank who was a Frankenstein monster and the plot was a tour of the folks/monsters that lived in the house. It was for kids but I remember it being less cartoony than other books we had.

313A: Christmas Cat

The book was older, around in the 80’s/90’s, maybe older than that. It was a children’s Christmas Story of an old man who lived alone. He was known as a grumpy old man. A strange cat came to visit him everyday before Christmas and everyday he would angrily make the cat leave. On the final day (Christmas maybe?) something happened  (a memory of a loved one or something?) he was overjoyed with the cat for some reason and he let him stay. The story ended with him loving the cat and it being the best gift he had ever received. The title seems like it was “Mr. Mcdoogal’s Best Christmas Ever” or something similar. I feel strongly that the old man went by Mr. Something that starts with an “m”. The central theme was how angry/grumpy the lonely old man was and how his anger grew everyday the cat showed up until something changed and he loved the cat suddenly. Maybe the cat stopped coming for a while and it made him realize how he had grown fond of the cats visits and he was overjoyed when he returned?

312Z: Vintage Gothic Romance about Dancer

The girl is accepted to study under a master dancer. While at his house she meets the local doctor. The house is on top of the cliff. There are stairs leading up the cliff to the house. At the end of the book, the teacher makes her dance near the stairs and she cuts her leap short to keep from falling down the stairs. She looks up to see the doctor there and realizes that he has come to save her. The dancing master was trying to kill her. I think the word stairs or steps is in the title. I first read the book in the early 1970s.

312Y: Teens Runaway into the Woods

This is a dark teen novel. I read it in about 2007 and I think it was recently published. I believe the cover of the book was white (kind of a woodsy / snowy feel) with the title in black text.

The story was a very sad one.Three teens (the older two were a couple and there was a younger boy, who was the narrator) ran away and were homeless, living for at least part of the book in the woods (in some makeshift space — I believe an old van). They were cold and hungry and the girl got sick first. I believe she had sores or something on her body. In one tragic scene in particular, she’s asking the older boy (her boyfriend) to have sex with her and the narrator says the older boy did it because he really loved her. Eventually, of course, the girl died and I believe the older boy died as well a little later on.

As I said the younger boy was the narrator and there was a lot of dialect used. Apostrophes and such (“you want somethin’?”) which added a lot of character to the narration.

I believe it got good reviews / accolades, but was very sad and dark. You really saw how kids could fall through the cracks in the system and how terrible it was for kids trying to make their own way without assets or support.

312V: Series on Playing, Gardening, etc.

My sister and I have been looking for this book series from our childhood for close to 10 years now…ever since they were lost in a flood at our mother’s house.

These were hardcover books on various subjects titled things such as Playing, Gardening, Collecting, and Cooking. Each book was a different solid color with a circular picture on the front. The artwork in the books was by various artists and the writing was instructional in nature. For instance, the Playing book would have various games divided into chapters for things such as group games, team games, games for rainy days, etc

I say they are from the 70’s but I’m really not sure. From what I remember some of the artwork was very reminiscent of the style in Per Holm Knudsen’s How Baby is Made while others remind me of the artwork of Mad Magazine’s Mort Drucker. This, of course, is coming from my memories as a young child…so I could be way off on those comparisons.

One additional thing is that while watching a video yesterday, I spotted this in the background which appears to be one of the books. I’m not 100% on that, but I figured it was worth including here.