Publisher: The Svenson Group, Inc. on behalf of the Hollister Family Properties Trust
In Deluxe Hardcover, Paperback or e-Book format
2990 Northfield Drive, Tarpon Springs, FL 34688
727-945-7002 * [email protected]
by Michael Leppert
The story of the 33-volume Happy Hollisters fiction series is fascinating. In 1953, Andrew Edward Svenson began writing children’s fiction, intended for ages 4 to 12 – the ages of the five Hollister children of the stories – Pete, Pam, Ricky, Holly and Sue, as well as their parents, pet dog, Zip, and cat, White Nose. The Hollister family is perennially happy and spreads happiness to others through fair dealing, thoughtfulness and respect. Their lives reflect a positive point of view of life and other people.
Mr. Svenson used the pen name Jerry West for the Hollister series and modeled the characters on his own offspring. Each book was carefully crafted to draw the reader in immediately – either with a mysterious occurrence or beginning in the middle of an in-progress adventure. Svenson’s intention was to nurture a love of reading in his young audience and parents came to appreciate the value his books had on their children’s literacy development. He had his characters always able to bring happiness out of disappointment or trouble and therefore, gave his young readers the way to do the same.
It is no coincidence that Andrew Svenson’s books were similar to the Hardy Boys — he wrote or outlined 30 of them under the name of Franklin W. Dixon. They, too, reflect the values and culture of the times – 1950s and ‘60s – and had the youthful main characters always getting into some mystery or danger of some kind. The Happy Hollisters speak slang of the times and the website has a tab “Talk Like a Happy Hollister” that demonstrates words that will be familiar to anyone who grew up in that era – “dungarees” were blue denim pants worn by girls instead of skirts when on outings and activities that required modesty. One of my favorites is “gizmo”, an all-purpose word when you can’t remember the word for something – or don’t know it in the first place. “Hand me that gizmo over there.” For instance.
A few of the soft cover Happy Hollister books, with black & white illustrations by Helen S. Hamilton, are:
The Happy Hollisters and the Secret Fort, 175 pgs,
This book begins with a large steam shovel coming down the street on a flatbed truck. The reader’s interest is immediately piqued with the question “What’s going on with this machine? Let’s investigate!” Another benefit of these books is the vocabulary that Svenson used. Words like “ruefully” and “dismounted their bikes”, which are rich and descriptive, but not uncommon. Seeing such words in print helps the young reader add them to his/her functional vocabulary.
The Happy Hollisters, 187 pgs.
This is the flagship volume in the series. The Hollisters are moving to a new house in a new town. They encounter a variety of people – some good, some not so good – and interesting adventures – even some danger — in this relocation.
The Book Club
To introduce your family to the Happy Hollisters via their Book Club, the publisher will send your first volume for only $.10 (free shipping within the U.S.). If you choose to remain a member, they will send you two volumes per month for the low price of $15.95 for Deluxe glossy Hardcover or $9.95 for softcover and shipping is always free within the U.S. You can cancel your membership after you receive Volume 1, but keep the book with their compliments.
If you already own a number of Happy Hollisters volumes, but would like to join the Club to fill out your collection, e-mail them at [email protected] or call 727-945-7002 and let them know which titles you have and they will send you a suggested plan to consider.
Finally, you can read a sample chapter of a Happy Hollister book at their website so your family can see what’s in store! For older adults, these books provide a nostalgic reminder of the 1950s and ‘60s and allow us to breathe deeply of the smell of paperbacks and freshly-mowed grass. For children of Today, they provide a glimpse into a bygone era that was simpler and less electronic.