They say you can’t JUDGE a book by looking at the cover, but with The Happy Hollisters, it’s perfectly fine to CHOOSE a book by looking at the cover!
There are 33 volumes in The Happy Hollisters series by Jerry West (pseudonym for children’s author Andrew E. Svenson), all written between 1953 and 1970. This clean and wholesome series features five sleuthing siblings—Pete, Pam, Ricky, Holly, and Sue—who solve mysteries all over the world. They follow clues wherever they lead, from their home in Shoreham to distant cities in New Mexico, Nevada, Canada, Puerto Rico, Denmark, Germany, and Iceland. Along the way they learn the language and customs of new friends, as they track down antelope and sea turtle poachers, jewel thieves, dognappers, and simple swindlers. They travel by train, plane, helicopter, horseback, riverboat, and cable car.
The format of each volume is the same—simple but engaging mysteries that teach young readers problem-solving skills as they follow along with the Hollisters’ adventures. Every book has 18 chapters, each one ending in a carefully plotted cliffhanger that encourages even the most reluctant reader to want more.
Each volume in the series can stand alone; the events are not sequential between volumes, and the main characters are reintroduced in each book. We generally recommend reading The Happy Hollisters (volume one) first because it provides the greatest amount of background information on the family, their menagerie of pets, and the layout of their hometown of Shoreham.
Following book one, however, it’s fine to select the next book on the basis of the cover art. Illustrator Helen S. Hamilton designed all 33 covers with exciting scenes in bright and inviting colors. Whether your young reader likes horses, skyscrapers, road construction, or winter sports, they will find a cover that appeals to their interests and invites them into the world of The Happy Hollisters.
A few of the books could be considered companion books, with similar locations. The Happy Hollisters and the Indian Treasure (volume 4), for example, takes place in New Mexico. In volume 5, The Happy Hollisters at Mystery Mountain, the Hollisters immediately encounter another mystery and decide to extend their stay in New Mexico for another adventure. Similarly, at the end of The Happy Hollisters and the Cuckoo Clock Mystery, the family solves their mystery in Germany and heads to Switzerland for the next exciting adventure in The Swiss Echo Mystery. While the plots are not necessarily interconnected, you may choose to read these books together.
No matter what order you read them in, The Happy Hollisters books provide hours of exciting and mysterious fun for young readers—and for the adults who share their love of reading with them.