I am often asked to identify books from fairly little information – someone will email me asking if I can help them identify a much loved childhood book from some vague recollection of an illustration or a line of text.

To be honest, it’s usually easy to help. I’m surprised by how often it is the same books that are enquired about in this way – the same images which have lodged in peoples’ heads over several decades.

For example I’m often asked about a book of poems that has one about cleaning out a porridge bowl or that contains a poem about daddy falling into a pond. (Bedtime Rhymes, edited by Audrey Daly). The earlier Lapage incarnation of Bedtime Rhymes is another which seems to haunt people, who fondly remember ‘Old Tom Tomato’ ‘Gee Gees and Hee Haws’ etc.

However, sometimes people will contact me, convinced that the book that they recall is a Ladybird Book, but which I don’t recognise at all – and that’s happened this week:

I’m trying to track down a book from my childhood to give to my daughter .
I’m pretty sure it was a ladybird book called Stumpy . The story was about a teddy bear found on the beach by a young child . Sorry i cant be more specific about the story . I have looked on various web sites and even on the ladybird site . It would mean a lot if i could get hold of a copy .

Can anyone out there help? I don’t recognise it, but maybe the writer of the email is quite young and the book is outside my range of interest (1940 – 1985). Do let me know if you can help.