I LOVED The Happy Hollisters series when I was little. Pete, Pam, Ricky, Holly, Sue and their dog Zip seemed to spend most of their free time stumbling upon and solving all kinds of mysteries. From their hometown of Shoreham to places as far-flung as Puerto Rico, Quebec and Switzerland, they outsmarted bullies and bad guys and were always able to help out new friends from many different cultures. The author, Jerry West, also managed to slip in the sign-language alphabet, the Radio alphabet (Alpha, Bravo, Charlie), Morse code, and many other interesting tidbits that added a “please try this at home” aspect to his clever and engaging stories.
Originally penned for children ages four through twelve (which happens to be the ages of the five main characters), the series consisted of thirty-three hard-bound titles written between 1953 and 1969. After years of fans only being able to find them in used book stores or at the library, last month the author’s family re-released the first title in paperback (including the original illustrations by Helen S. Hamilton), and it is now available at Amazon.com.
This happy occasion was precipitated by the one-hundredth anniversary of West’s birth. Jerry West was actually the pen name of Andrew E. Svenson, and although the book includes the customary caveat of no similarity to persons living or dead, a forward written by Svenson’s grandson reveals that the Hollisters were based on the author’s real-life family.
I can highly recommend this wholesome yet enjoyable adventure series, and hope that the Svensons’ plan is to reprint the rest of the titles, as well. Not only are they great books, they are a tasty slice of life from days gone by.
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