Hader, Berta and Elmer

About the author

Berta and Elmer Hader created over 100 wonderfully illustrated children’s books. They studied at the California School of Design, with Elmer going on to create the first one-man, one-themed show at the Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco. In the 1920s, they worked together to create beautiful children’s pages in magazines which actually did something: peep boxes, paper dolls and finger puppets (many of which could be seen on the Hader Connection website, a treasure trove of their art which no longer seems to exist). When such inserts were banned after a change in postal regulations, the Haders turned to something new. They entered a competition for illustrators held by publishers Macmillan, and won it. As a result, they illustrated several of the Happy Hours series.

Over 100 books followed, with the illustrations being created by them both; they would pass the a piece backward and forward between them as they worked on it. Their books sold in their thousands, and are still loved today.

Finding the books
Availability, and pricing of all the titles is erratic. None were published in the UK.

Links and sources
More on the Haders
The Haders’ papers
Wikipedia article on the Haders

Bibliography (horse books only)


Macmillan, New York, 1933

Spunky is a litle Shetland pony who works in a coal mine. He has a good life with his partner Bill, but his new handler is cruel, and beats him. Spunky is rescued from his ill treatment, and is sent to America to work in a circus. On the ship he meets a young boy called Rob, who persuades his father to buy him. He has a wonderful life, but Rob outgrows him, and Spunky gets fat and bored. He runs away to the circus, and has more adventures follow, until Spunky is given to a pony ride concession, where, one day, he meets a young boy with a very familiar face.

Midget and Bridget

Hale, 1934, illus the authors

Two young burros, Midget and Bridget, live happily in the southern deserts. When they are captured with the rest of their herd, they are separated when they are sent to different parts of the country.

Cricket, the Story of a Little Circus Pony

Macmillan, New York, 1938, illus the authors

Stripy, a little zebra

(written by Hamilton Williamson, illustrated by the Haders)

Doubleday, Doran & Co, New York, 1939

Little Appaloosa

Macmilllan, New York, 1949, 47 pp, illus the authors

Ben loves horses, and he is delighted when his father brings home an orphaned Appaloosa colt for him. He teaches the little colt to be a good ranch horse, and has many adventures with him.