Welcome to Stump the Bookseller by Loganberry Books!


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?

281H: Locomotive explodes when steam valve is blocked!

I’m trying to track down an illustrated children’s book, here’s what I remember from the story:

– The story is about a steam locomotive operator (a boy or young man)

– At some point, he wants to either eat lunch or take a nap near the train

– However, he is bothered by the noise of the steam coming out of the train

– To solve this, he puts something over the steam valve (I’m pretty sure it’s either a lunch bag or a hat)

– This blocks the steam from escaping from the train and causes it to explode

– I’m pretty sure the book mentions nobody could find him (maybe they find his hat or some article of clothing?)


281G: Little girl hides her small treasures in a brick of her brownstone

I am trying to remember/find a book about a little girl who doesn’t have much, except her little treasures.  I think it was a stick of chewing gum, a jack ball, and a few other small items.  She lives in a brownstone and it seems like she hides her treasures behind a brick.  She takes them out and looks at them often.  The front of the cover had her and another person sitting on concrete steps with a railing.  I don’t know if it was a little golden book or not.  It seems like it was about 5X5 square, about 10 pages?  I would have had it read to me around 1970ish.  I can’t remember much else.  I have looked everywhere for it, only being able to search by the memory of the cover.


281F: Boy looks out a window and see different creatures

A boy looks out of a window at night and sees different kinds of colored monsters (green goblin, blue unicorn, or some such, a new one every page) in the tree outside his window but isn’t scared because they aren’t real. Finally he sees a brown owl and IS scared (because the owl is real). I had this book in the 1980s. The words are a repetitive pattern each page until he sees the owl.

281D: A magical story within a story

I’m trying to find a book for my partner.  All she could tell me about the book was is the following. There was a story book within the book that people (bad guys) were trying to find, the story within the book would change depending on who read it. Also the main character often went by the alias of Joe English because people were after him and he needed to keep his identity a secret?

I don’t know what my chances are of finding this book but if you have an idea or know what the book is, please help a girl out and let me know!!

281A: Amazingly illustrated pirate story starts with abducted boy

I have been looking for some time for this illustrated children’s book I read as a child around 1974-77 in Australia. It is the story of a boy playing on an old dinghy on the beach when they are kidnapped by pirates and go on amazing adventures. The boy (or boy and girls) is playing in an upturned dinghy on a beach when he is abducted and taken to the pirate ship, he witnesses pirate battles and then gets included in their adventures. The boy becomes part of the pirates. They may visit the odd strange land or Island (I’m recalling tree houses, maybe African colours themes), they use bell helmets to go under water, they find treasure, they take the boy home.  The most notable thing about the book is the incredible double page illustrations with rich rich detail and colour. The pirate characters are diverse and hilarious creations – themselves a very strong feature of the book. First page might be looking down on the beach from the top of the escarpment at the north end of the beach (if the coast faces East). Next we see him on the beach with the upturned dinghy with a big hole in it. There are loads of crabs and other creatures to see. A few pages later in the battle scene I recall the boy peeks out from below decks – he’s not a pirate yet. In the underwater scene I recall they wear old fashioned bell helmets with air lines leading back up to the ship, and there are many amazing creatures like giant squid/octopus. The treasure scene I recall amazing jewels and one of the pirates has a ring on the end of his beard.

My guess is it’s hardcover.

The illustrations cover double page spreads.

There is minimal text or possibly no text at all.

It’s written in English.

Hopefully you can help.

280G: Learn to tell the time

The book I am interested in is one I had as a child, I think around 1988-1993 ish. It was a small white hardback cover and came with a watch which you could see in the cover (I’ll attach a picture of what I think it was or was like).


I remember that it was an illustrated book based in castle or palace or similar, the characters were either king, queen, prince, princess, and I remember one page was about them using a sundial to tell the time.

That’s all the information I have on it I’m afraid. I’m from the UK, so I’m not sure if this was also a U.S. issue book or not.

280F: Lost Cat in Rome found in Mouth of Truth Statue

Hi there, hoping you can help find a book. I remember reading it in the late 80s/early 90s. It was about a child in Rome who lost his or her cat. They go all over the city looking for it and eventually find the cat in the “mouth of truth” (La Bocca della Verità) statue. I remember it was a blue cover and fairly larger than a regular sized book. It was in English. Hoping you can help track it down!