In third grade, I read a book about a little girl who wandered deep into a forest where she discovered a vine-covered tunnel that lead to a magical kingdom filled with shadows where she met a fairy named Bluebell. The book made a huge impact on me as a child, the title, however, did not. Whenever I would be reminded of the fantastical tale, I would wrack my brain trying to think of the title, but always came up empty-handed. The book was destined to be another childhood mystery. Then I discovered Stump the Bookseller.
The website offers a unique service—share the details, however vague, of that book you read way back in the day and the resident Book Stumpers will use their considerable book knowledge to help you solve your mystery.
The service, which is offered by Loganberry Books in Cleveland, Ohio, specializes in children’s books, but because the Book Stumpers are pros, it never hurts to ask about other book memories, too.
The system is easy to use: Using their online form, submit a description of the book with as many details about the plot or the author or even the cover as you can remember. Then you simply have to wait as the Book Stumpers—a crackerjack team of booksellers, bibliophiles, readers, parents, and librarians across the country—try to solve the riddle.
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They currently have a 50% success rate, which means that half of the people who submitted their vague memories of beloved books were able to hop over to the bookstore and relive the childhood memory. There is a $4 fee, submitted to the site via check or PayPal, but it’s well worth the price to solve a mystery that may have haunted you for 20 years!
As for me, I’m going to go track down a copy of the 1945 book, Shadow Castle by Marian Cockrell, and relive a few childhood memories of my own.