Many of us have books that we vaguely remember reading years ago. One of the best sites for looking for half-forgotten books is Loganberry’s Stump the Bookseller page where, for a small fee, you can describe the book you’re looking for and see whether the book sellers or other readers of the site can recognize the story and help you find the title and author. I’ve used their site myself, but since I have the opportunity on this site to mention a few half-forgotten stories that I’ve been looking for, I thought I’d see whether anyone who happens to read this might happen to recognize them. Please send me a message via the contact page or leave a comment on this one if you do!
The selection here might change from time to time if I figure out what a book is or think of another one I’m trying to find. They are in no particular order.
Chanukah Doll Mystery
I’ve long forgotten the name of this picture book, only that I saw it at the library more than 20 years ago. I’m not Jewish, but I liked dolls and mysteries, so the book caught my attention at once. I might not be using quite the correct spelling of Hanukah, but I remember stumbling on my pronunciation of that word when I was about 7 or 8 years old because this book was the first time I’d ever seen it spelled with a ‘C.’ Funnily enough, that’s actually what I remember most strongly about this book now. I remember very little about the story beyond that except that it was about a young girl and her doll (who may have been a present for Hanukah or maybe not, I’m not sure now). As I recall, the doll wore a pretty blue dress, and I loved the pictures.
The Princess Who Had Nightmares
I vaguely remember reading a children’s picture book years ago about a princess who kept having nightmares. I remember that every member of the royal family had a fancy bed (I think the prince’s bed looked like a ship, and the princess’s looked like a swan), and there was always a rose on her pillow to give her sweet dreams, but that didn’t stop her from having nightmares. After the characters in the story try several things to help her, I think they figure out that what she really needs is a bedtime story to make her feel better and sleep better.
The Cradle was Sadly Empty
I remember once reading a story about a pioneer family. I think the eldest son went ahead to the place where his family was going to live to prepare a house for them. When he left, his mother was expecting another baby, so he carved a new cradle as a present for the baby, all ready for when the rest of his family arrived at the house. Unfortunately, when the rest of his family came, his father sadly told him that the baby had died.
Mystery Where Girl’s Mother Was an Artist
I remember reading a mystery story where a girl and her mother had recently moved to a new town. I can’t remember what the mystery was, but the girl’s mother was an artist, and she liked doing sketches of new people she met so that she could use them in paintings later. The first time the girl brings a new friend home to her new house, her mother takes the other girl by the chin and does a quick sketch of her, muttering something about a Nubian princess (the other girl was black, and that’s what the mother thought that her face would be great for in a painting, although the girl didn’t know what was going on at the time).
The Old Woman Was an Painter
There was a picture book where a woman had moved to a new place (I can’t remember exactly when, it might have been after her marriage when she was younger or in her old age), but she always missed the place where she had come from. Her relatives had given her some nice paintings for her house, but she didn’t really like them because she kept thinking about the scenery in the place where she grew up. As an older woman, she started painting pictures of her old home from memory. However, when her relatives came to visit, she always hung up the paintings that they had given her because she didn’t want them to think that she hadn’t appreciated their gifts. When they left after a visit, she would hang up her own paintings of the scenery she loved. Then, one day, she forgot to change the paintings when they came to visit and left hers still hanging up. At first, she was afraid that they would be upset that she’d taken down their paintings, but when they saw her paintings, they were delighted to discover that she was such a wonderful artist.
Boy Stays Overnight with Eccentric Family
I can’t remember who the boy was or why he was staying overnight with this family, but I think the daughter of the family was a friend of his. However, he never realized until he stayed with them just how eccentric they were. The girl eats weird snacks because the family is following some kind of odd health trend, and the boy is alarmed when he sees the father of the family dragging chains down the hallway in the middle of the night. The boy asks the girl about it, and she says that he’s going to chain up his exercise bike. I think there was at least a semi-reasonable explanation for that, like he keeps his exercise bike on the front porch and doesn’t want it stolen or something. I think there were other explanations for strange things that the family did, too, but I can’t remember what the other things were now. It seems to me that the boy realizes that the family is eccentric but not quite as weird as they seem at first because there are reasons for the things they do.
Little Bears Eat Beans and Franks
There was a picture book where a boy bear was baby-sitting for a younger bear for the first time. At one point, he has to make dinner for the younger bear, and he makes beans and franks. However, he makes a mistake and uses jelly beans instead of regular beans. The younger bear likes it anyway.
The Kids Were “Under the Weather”
An older woman who is babysitting for some children takes them on magical trips instead of taking them to school every day. I think she might have had a magical car or van or something. She kept writing excuses to the school about why the children were absent, and they were always jokes about what they were really doing. For instance, when they went swimming (maybe her car magically converted into a swimming pool or took them somewhere to swim?), she noticed clouds overhead, so she wrote that the children were “under the weather.”