Crickets! It’s “The Happy Hollisters” !
When I was a little girl, my sister Lori and I were given a subscription to The Happy Hollisters series about a family where the children solved mysteries. Every three weeks or so, two books would arrive in the mail. Lori would take one and I would take the other. Lori was two years older, and she read much faster than I did, so I would be only halfway through my book when she finished hers – yikes! So she would cajole me into giving up mine for a while so she could burn through it. (Now “Lori Louise,” she still reads like this, by the way!)
If I was too engaged in the story, or felt stubborn, we would start reading my volume “together.” This meant holding the inner pages of the book straight up, as I continued reading, my head tilted to the right, and Lori read starting at the front, her head tilted to the left. Then when she caught up with me, we would switch places. (The book that she had finished first was mine to read at sweet leisure later.) Our home was full of books, and my three sisters and I were always happy to share them with each other.
There were 33 Happy Hollisters books written between 1953 and 1969 by “Jerry West,” a pseudonym for Andrew E. Svenson, who also wrote other children’s books for the Stratemeyer Syndicate, including Tom Swift and Hardy Boys adventures.
The books can be found at used bookstores and thrift stores, often in original dust jackets, or with the cover illustration printed directly onto the front board. The final two volumes, both published in 1969, are the scarcest and thus the most valuable. The Happy Hollisters and the Monster Mystery (#32), sells for $32 and up, while The Happy Hollisters and the Midnight Trolls (#33), partly set in Iceland and with a page in Braille, sells for $50 and up.
Later I avidly read all of the Trixie Belden series, as well as many of my stepmom’s old Cherry Ames nursing series books. On his Booksleuth page about the Happy Hollisters, Timothy O’Herin includes a touching tribute to his mother.
If you read “series books” as a child, please tell us which ones, and what influence they had on you.
Purchased at the 40/8 Veterans Flea Market, 50¢