"Chester was a wild horse.
He lived out West
with other wild horses.
`I wish someone loved me,'
`I wish someone took care of me.'"
And so begins Chester the Horse's quest to find someone to love him and care for him. The other wild horses told him he was silly and that it was more fun to be "wild." Chester was not convinced. When the other wild horses were caught by cowboys; caught because they ran, and Chester was left behind by the cowboys; because they did not want a horse that did not run, Chester begins his journey and quest to find someone to love him and take care of him.
This adventure takes Chester many places and he meets many people and other animals. He encounters a skunk right off and the skunk informs him no one want him either...Chester replays "I think I know why." Chester meets chickens, other horses, cows and any number of people...he is always rejected for ne reason or another. Always, as the reader reads, they will find Hoff's humor shinning through, page after page.
Of course this little story has a very happy ending and Chester gets just what he wants. He knew what he wanted because being loved and taken care of "Makes sense," said Chester. "Good horse sense."
I first encountered the work of Syd Hoff years ago via his cartoons which were featured around 571 times in The New Yorker. This was years ago when the New Yorker was still a readable publication and offered its readers the best of the best. Syd Hoff was born in 1912 and passed away in 2004 and is considered one of our countries leading humorists. He wrote dozens upon dozens of children's books, the best known of course is "Danny and the Dinosaur."
"Chester," the book being reviewed here was first published in 1961 so this is the 50th Anniversary of this wonderful little book and it should be noted that it is still in print...that tells you a lot right there as to its lasting quality. It is noted that this book has been published and republished in 1961, 1986, 1989, 2006 and 2008. Syd Hoff was featured in volume after volume of the "Easy Reader Books." and while the reader may not know who Syd Hoff was, most are quite familiar with is illustrations. I personally find his art style extremely pleasing and just enough off the beaten track to make it quite unique and rather fascinating.
This particular work is a very good example of his rather skillful use of color. Most of the pictures here have only one color involved but Hoff has skillfully blended shades and dark lines to cause the pictures to rather pop out at the reader.
This work and others by Syd Hoff have become true children's classics and a representation of Hoff's books should be on the book shelf of ever child.
NOTE: I have posted this review on three different editions of this book as I feel people should know of the book, no matter which edition they come across.