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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?

288G: Mother and daughter flee from France to Canada

I am trying to locate an older book I read back in 5th grade elementary school, older than 1985 and possibly published before 1980. This is a small hardcover book (5 x 7?), children’s historical fiction. A mother and daughter have fallen from the graces (have disgraced or angered) the king and queen in France, maybe between 1600-1700 (did daughter say something to make the king mad?). They are being sent away (or flee) to New World, most likely Canada. I think the mother and daughter were seamstresses for the royalty and made their own clothes. Book is NOT Angelique, not The Frenchwoman either. Thank-you for trying to locate book, especially when I cannot remember title at all and am trying to find book over 30 years later!

288F: Boy in pajamas chases illusory tiger (Solved)

I’m looking for a children’s book I read in the late 80’s. From what I can remember it was about a boy in pajamas that is chasing a tiger or other large cat, but pretty sure it wasn’t a lion, I don’t remember a mane. The tiger was hidden on every page, in the background such as hidden as a pattern of stars in the night sky, a symbol on the border of a tent, or made of vines. As far as the setting I believe it was in the boys’ dreams. The book had a very surreal feel to it, and the book was filled with illusions. These illusions made a thing look like another, like a strongman made entirely of things from the sea, like seashells, crabs, etc. Here’s an example of the type of illusions I remember in the book

They do visit a circus at one point, because I seem to remember one page outside the circus tent, and possibly one more. But the book wasn’t entirely centered around the circus, it felt like they were just passing through. The circus is a google trap though, there are lots of kids book involving the circus and a tiger, and I haven’t found one yet that matches what I remember. The book is definitely not I Spy A Tiger, Heart of A Tiger, Riding the Tiger, A Lion in the Meadow, A Tiger Took Me to the Circus, It’s a Tiger, or Come the Terrible Tiger. Please help! I’ve spent hours searching on the internet, but I keep getting nothing.

288E: Ragamuffins and a talking cat (Solved)

I remember my mother reading aloud to us a chapter book (in the early 1960s) about a group of children called Ragamuffins (maybe just four children). They meet a talking cat named Pouffon (that is how she pronounced the name; I don’t know how it is spelled). Each time the cat speaks though, it loses one of it’s special whiskers, or it’s whiskers changes back to a normal color. It was very sad when the cat spoke for the last time, to help the children, since the cat only had one special whisker left. I think the book is probably a literary award winning book, since my mother made sure we read all of the Newberry and Caldecott Award winning books. I hope it is still in print. I think the book had a navy blue cover, (hardback), and maybe a line drawing at the start of each chapter. It may have been published much earlier than the 60s. It was probably a library book, and was pretty well-worn then.

 

Thank you so much for your help!

288D: Woman in black kidnaps kids

It is a “scary” children’s picture book about a woman dressed in all black and she kidnaps children. She has a black hat with a black veil, yet has yellow eyes that can still be seen. She carries an umbrella and a bag of bricks. She has pilgrim buckle type shoes. She can run really fast and creates a black streak as she passes. As she kidnaps more kids, the parents of the remaining children send them to school with protection. The zookeeper’s son arrives with a boa constrictor around his neck, the beekeeper’s son wears a beehive, the military kid rides up in a tank, etc. The lady in black even takes a teacher. They eventually catch her and she leads the police to a cave where the children and teacher are kept, unharmed. The lady then slips out of the handcuffs and escapes. The book was written in English and had colored illustrations. I read it in Minnesota, USA in the mid-to-late 90s. I remember a specific illustration in which the lady is hiding behind a pole at a bus stop, just before she takes a kid.

288C: Family of mice take a beach vacation

I’m looking for a children’s book from the 50’s or 60’s.  I can’t remember the title.  The book is about a family of mice that ride a train to the beach for vacation.  They are dressed up like people (in clothes) for the train ride and I can see (in my mind) their little tails coming out of their clothes.  They love the sand, the beach and the creatures on the beach.

The illustrations are color but I’d say that they are pretty minimal – that is to say  – great illustrations but not a lot of extra stuff in them.

 

I sure hope you can locate this book.

288B: The fall of the house of something (Solved)

Title was the fall of the house of something or the fall of something It starts off with the house finally being finished and a storm coming in. Main character is a guy who is an engineer, he has just completed a house and this group of people said it would have to be destroyed because it was forbidden. He said, okay but let me have a party in it first, you can be the guests. Then the people came to the party and he shows them the robots he made to look exactly like them. The entertainment is the robots being tortured and killed in awful ways. Each person of this committee kind of disappears until only one man was left and then he realized it was the people of the committee being tortured and killed and that it was the robots who are laughing and who he had thought were the people. And he is next in line to die.

287H: Rats taking Uncle Skinny somewhere on a raft down a river

There are a family of rats that have to take their uncle named “Skinny” somewhere via a boat. I believe he may be sick and they go down the river to take him to the doctor. I also think he is wearing one piece pajamas with the button flap in the rear, and either he or the driver has on a crinkled top hat. I wish I could recall more about the story. I read this book as a child sometime around 1982-1985. I would really love to get this book for my daughter.

287G: Horse in Forest of Silver Trees

My daughter (now age 20), has been searching for years to find a book she loved to check out from her elementary school library in first grade +/-.  She has re-searched the library many times, spoken to teachers, friends and has had no luck.  I remember her bringing it home, so I know it isn’t a figment of her imagination.

What she remembers:

— Picture book of a horse in a forest of silver trees, limited (if any) text

— Illustrations in black ink/watercolor style

— Limited color palette, black, white, gold and maybe silver

— Possibly part of a series/pack of picture books

— Horse is main character on some kind of quest or adventure, with many crystals in the forest, possibly gold

— Special lake in the forest, perhaps also a cave

— Likely blue hard cover, she thinks larger than 8.5×11

— Likely an “older” book, I’m guessing from 1960s or even older