Chester by Syd Hoff

Chester by Syd Hoff (Canada) - (US)

Pages: 64
Ages: 5+
Finished: Mar. 10, 2011
First Published: 1961
Publisher: Harper & Row
Genre: children, easy reader, horses
Rating: 3.5/5

First sentence:

Chester was a wild horse.

Acquired: Purchased a used copy from a book/garage sale or thrift shop.

Reason for Reading: Ds read aloud to me as his reader.

Chester is a wild horse who wants to be tame but when the men come to gather up the wild horses he just stands there so they will take him and they think he's not much of a wild horse, so they take the others and leave him. So Chester sets off to find somebody who wants him and will take care of him, he tries the farm, walking into town, perhaps a child's rocking horse, a statue, a merry-go-round horse and even has the opportunity to pull a fire engine when it's on the blink but they don't need him after it's fixed. Finally when the children challenge him to run, he runs and runs and runs and the cowboys finally want him where he meets back up with his old friends where they are all loved and taken care of.

This book follows Hoff's usual style of focusing on one creature and his exploits in the real world looking for a place for himself to fit in. It's a cute, often funny story with Hoff's classic illustrations. I'm not awfully fond of the story. It seems sad rounding up all the wild horses, when today there are only a few places left in North America with wild horses. I'm no animal activist, but still, I believe wild animals should be free rather than in captivity. Now I'm sure Syd Hoff's message here in the book is none other than that everybody (insert Chester the horse here to represent everybody) wants to be loved, and cared for and have a place to call home. Simple as that and shouldn't be taken beyond that. This book is still in print, but has a horrendous new cover which has been recoloured with solid bright inks. Syd Hoff uses light coloured pencil crayons and black outline ink in his illustrations and this new cover is a fright to see. However, fortunately the inside illustrations remain Syd's own original work.


  1. I have so many fond memories of Syd Hoff's books from my childhood. This is new to me, though.

    By the way, I agree with you about the wild horses.

  2. He was one of my favorites as a kid too. Heck, I still enjoy them!

  3. I learned to read with Syd Hoff, and I can still quote this book from the beginning. I was reminded of that as my mother is becoming more confused as she nears death from lung cancer and I repeat myself ad infinitum. Glad to know others still read and love this book!


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