Castellain, Lois

About the author

Lois Castellain was an illustrator and author. Her most memorable character, the Clydesdale Adolphus, was created when she was at school in Surrey. When World War II broke out, she did voluntary service, and Adolphus, adorned in gas mask and tin hat, appeared on the walls of her office. Adolphus, and his friend Dodie the Shetland, made regular appearances in Riding Magazine (right), first appearing in September 1939 in the Young Riders’ Section. They were heroes of a cartoon series that illustrated the points of the horse: these being easy to see on 25-year-old Adolphus as he was so bony. Dodie, being better covered, was not such a useful example.

Adolphus and his friends made a minor appearance in Moidi the Refugee Cow (1941) , but the story is mostly about Moidi. She comes to England as a refugee from World War II, and finds life is not particularly easy in England.

Adolphus went on to be commissioned as a series of ten-minute films, drawn by Lois Castellain, which appeared on BBC children’s television from 1954. As I haven’t yet managed to lay my hands on a copy, I can’t confirm whether Adolphus the TV Horse (1964) was a spin off from the television series, but it seems at least likely.

Information on the series is quite hard to come by: alas none seem to have survived as far as YouTube. The series was certainly still going in 1961, when it is mentioned in the Daily Herald.

Finding the books
Adolphus is difficult to find, and tends to be expensive when it does turn up. Adolphus the TV Horse is considerably easier to find. Adolphus, Arabella’s Carthorse, might well be a reprint of Adolphus, though as I have been unable to find a copy at all, I can’t confirm this. It is very hard to find indeed.

Sources and links
Dustjacket, Adolphus the TV Horse
Riding Magazine, September 1939 onwards
Daily Herald, 28 April,1961
Sevenoaks Chronicle, 1954



William Heinemann Ltd, London, 1939,
Reprinted October 1941, June 1946

Adolphus, a “broken-down, bone-bag of a Carthorse of endearing idiocy and no known lineage” escapes his cruel owner and finds better things.

adolphus the tv horse

Constable Young Books, London, 1964, illus the author.
Delacorte Press, New York, 1967. Illus the author. 48 pp.

Adolphus the farm horse is proud of the hard work he does. His friend Arabella rides him every day after school, but then one day Adolphus is out of work after he is replaced by a tractor. He is bored and hurt, and runs away to try and find work on another farm, only to find they all have tractors. He refuses to return home, and finds a brief spell of fame on a tv show until he finds that he is needed at home on the farm, just not in the way he thought.


Adolphus Publications, 1991, pb, 25 pp.

I have not been able to trace any copies of this book, so am unable to confirm whether it is a new work, or a reprint of one of the two earlier titles.