Sunday, February 17, 2008


Harold Littledale ~ Tom Vroman
Parent's Magazine Press, 1964

Wish I had a pet horse like Alexander that I could blame everything on. Chris is a little boy who uses an imaginary red & green striped horse to express his remorse over being bad. Alexander looks alot like the Fruit Stripe zebra (my gum of choice in the 70s), so I can't help but get a sweet taste in my mouth every time I read it.

It was bedtime. Chris and his father sat side by side on Chris's bed.
"Alexander was a pretty bad horse today," Chris said.
His father lit his pipe, "Alexander, the red horse with green stripes?"
Chris nodded.
"What happened?" Chris's father asked.
"He wouldn't eat his cereal," Chris said.
"He wouldn't sit up at the table and he spilled his milk.
He made a terrible fuss."
"That's too bad," said Chris's father.

I particularly dig the dad chilling with his pipe, and his super laid back attitude toward his kid's behavior. Lesser dads would be freaking out, but he keeps his cool and just listens, never passing judgment. The drawings are really swinging and retro, very of the era and hip. I looked up the illustrator and came across this Web site. I'm pretty sure this is the same guy... a commercial designer and an artist... funny that his firm did the Pyrex logo.

Also by:
A Very, Very Special Day


DAE said...

I was born in 74' and this book was one of my all-time faves as a kid. I bought an extra copy on ebay a few years back so I could cut out some of the pics & frame - my fave being the one of Alexander hiding under the sliding board. After all these years I still get such a burst of blissful nostalgia when I see these luminous illustrations :)

Anonymous said...

My mom was an elementary educator and we always had the best books. This was one of my favorites because I always seemed to be getting in trouble. The book conveys love and acceptance while still identifying some behavior as "bad". It is able to stop short of identifying the child as bad. Now I have a 2 year old grandson and I can't wait to get a copy to read to him. I'm sure it will soon be one of his favorites too.

Izaak V said...

i've spent the last year trying to find this book. it was my favorite esp since my childhood name is alexander. my little boy would love it.. >sigh<

Anonymous said...

This is the only book that I actually remember reading as a child. My parents thought that I was reading but I actually had the book memorized by the age of three. I would love to have a copy of this beloved book.

Anonymous said...

born in 1968 and very vividly remember reading this book. this was, I think, my all time favorite. don't know what made me think of it today. I think I will try and find a copy. the one that I had lost it's cover, I read it so much!!

Alison Palmer said...

I had this book read to me soooo many times as I was very much like Chris. I totally related to this book and I was born in '75. I have two little girls now who are very much like I was and want so badly to read it to them, but I can't find a copy anywhere. Any suggestions?

Jennifer said...

soooo interesting

lisa mickey said...

being born in 1961 I was a child when I my mom bought this book along with ones like "Miss Suzy" in a book club..
I still have all the books from that club.. many are worn b/c of LOVE :-)
this one is esp loved ..
SO worth buying if you can.


Doug A. said...

This wonderful, vintage bedtime book has recently been reprinted by Purple House Press. The reprint is beautifully done, with the illustrations (on glossier paper than the original) looking more vibrant than ever.

My only disappointment/quibble is with the reprint's minor textual and graphic revisionism: The father's pipe has been completely erased from both the story and the images, which changes the vibe and content of this early '60s classic. It seems an unnecessary overreaction by folks who don't understand the substantial differences between pipes and cigarettes, and their relative health risks.

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