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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?

160I: Old YA sci fi book

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I’m looking for a YA sci fi book, maybe from the 70s or 80s, about a girl who lives in an orphanage/juvy work camp type place. She has the ability to move thru (time/space/another dimension?). There is a scary, mysterious maintenance man that works at the orphanage who turns out to be a boy shares her same ability, but tried it with his pet dog and somehow they merged beings. She befriends him and tries to help him and ultimately is able to un-merge them, and they have an romantic attraction. There is also an old lady that lives in a mansion near the orphanage who all the orphans go to meet. In the end it turns out the old lady is actually the girl’s grandmother who has been looking for her for years.

 

160H: boy who discovers he has a gift to read minds

I am looking for a 7th grade level book, published before 1987.  The story is about a boy who discovers he has a gift to read minds.  He confides in his sister about this gift as they were laying in a field, and uses his gift to help his family escape a dangerous man stalking them at their house.

If you would like more detail about the scenes of this book, happy to go into more detail.

 

160F: Children get humped backs because they ask a wizard if they can see their sins and have to go on a journey

A stranger comes to a small town and he has a large hump on his back. The villagers are curious and ask him about it. He tells them the hump is a view of all the sins he has committed throughout his life. Some of the villagers don’t believe him and ask to see their own humps. He grants their request and they end up with humps of various sizes. They then want the humps  removed but the stranger can’t do that and advises them to go on a journey to ……. somewhere I can’t remember which I think is the title of the book. The main characters are two children who have to go on this journey with other hump-backed villagers who gradually drop out along the way.

I vaguely remember reading this book in the 1970′s. It might have had a tree design on the front cover.

 

160C: two girls leave their mom and go into the woods meet God?

There’s one book I’ve been searching for the title of for YEARS. I can only remember the illustrations in my head. It’s set in a garden–two girls leave their mom and go into the woods. They have long hair, no shoes, dresses. I feel like the book was a religious undertone of god and angels. The girls found another house in the woods–an old man gave them food and shelter. He had a German Shepherd. I feel like, if memory serves me right, the man was hinted to being God in plain human form. When the girls went back to their mom, she was very old–and they were still young. The book was more full page layout illustrations than wordy. Does anyone have any idea what I’m speaking of?? Id be EVER so grateful to have this mystery solved. Librarians and Google Searches have been left scratching their heads.”

 

I wanna guess the book was created in the late 80s or 90s–leaning towards 90s, but I really don’t know. Hope you can help!! :-)

 

160B: Otter in love with a fish

Hi!
I’ve been searching for this book, on and off, for years…um, decades now. (Wow, that’s just…sad.) Anyway my latest google search lead me to you. I’ve tried to organize this semi-coherently, but I read it as a kid and my facts may be fuzzy.
Title/author/cover: no idea.
Publication: before 1992, likely before ’90. I’m guessing sometime in the ’80s.
Age: MG (shelved under Juvenile in the public library, where I found it)
Length: between 150-300 pages.
Style: anthropomorphic animals in their communities. No humans. No illustrations that I remember.

 Protagonist: A young (teenage?) male otter with a snakeskin eyepatch, who is high up in the otter tribe—the chief’s son, I think. He’s a quiet loner who doesn’t fit in and no one knows what to do with him.
Subplot #1:The community wants the loner to marry this girl otter, but she doesn’t want anything to do with him. She thinks he’s a poser, and wears the eyepatch to be “cool”. Besides, she’s in love with this other guy. She discovers late in the book that no, actually, he wears the eyepatch because he’s missing his eye. They become friends, though at the end the girl marries the other guy. We see the wedding, it’s one of the last scenes in the book.
Subplot #2:
The loner falls in love with a fish! The fish cares about him, but doesn’t love him back. Not the way he loves her. She’s mostly like, “dude, seriously? This is insane. You’re insane. You’re an otter, I’m a fish, end of story.” And it IS the end—the final scene (I think) is her swimming away with her family/friends to a new river/ocean/somewhere. The move has been discussed throughout the story, and the loner knows it’s coming. He sits on the riverbank and watches her swim away.
Main plot??: A predatory bird (eagle? hawk?) is threatening…something. Either the otter community, the fish, or some other furry/scaly thing that will die if the bird isn’t stopped. But this is like birdzilla, and nobody goes against it and lives. The loner would know—this same bird killed his mother and sister (I think?) and captured/tried-to-capture him when he was young. That’s how he lost his eye. So the bird is wrecking/intends-to-wreck havoc, and the loner tries to gather help to stop it (including the girl otter and her guy), but no one will help. So the loner goes off alone to face the impossible. Once the girl otter realizes this, she runs to help and finds the loner dazed/unconscious from a fall—with his eyepatch shifted up. That’s how she finds out about his eye. Also something about a nest—the bird’s or some other bird’s…pretty sure the loner fell from the nest or was pushed out and that’s how he passed out…or something? Hmmm. Can’t remember if they kill the bird or not, but there may be a slingshot involved and the day is definitely saved.
So…you can totally see what bits of the story fascinated middle grade me. Hmmm.

Books it’s not:
— Otter & Odder: A Love Story. This PB is the first thing that comes up on google. Definitely not it.
— Anything by Brian Jacques. I loved the Redwall books, but this wasn’t one of them. And according to wiki, Jacques didn’t write non-Redwall stuff until waaaaay later, mostly 2001+.

 Thanks for the help! I really appreciate it.

 

160A: Boy befriends dog statue and plays with him at night

My father used to tell me a story in the 1950s that I think may have come from a book, possibly English. So I don’t have a title.
A boy lives in a country home and very much wants a dog for a pet.    At night a metal statue of a dog in his front yard comes to life and plays with him until the sun comes up. And the part that I always loved was when my father would act out how stiff the dog would get as he tried to race back to his pedestal before dawn and one foot remained raised when he froze in place.
Can you help?