Berta Hader (1891-1976)
& Elmer Hader (1889-1973)

American husband and wife authors and illustrators who wrote and/or illustrated a large number of children's books.

Berta was born in Mexico, although moved to the USA when very young. She showed artistic and literary talent from an early age, winning prizes for both disciplines. She studied both journalism and design and worked for a time in the fashion industry.

Elmer was born in California. Although he had ambitions to become an artist he first worked in the forces, as a firefighter and in theatre. He did however find time to study art and design.

The pair met in New York and soon married. Afterwards they began to write and illustrate a number of periodical articles for children, then turned to writing and illustrating children's books. One of their books won the prestigious Caldecott Medal. Elmer's works were also admired by the literary great John Steinbeck who asked him to illustrate the covers of a number of his seminal works.

Berta and Elmer were dedicated conservationists and pacifists and championed animal welfare. Animals appear in many of their books, including ponies and donkeys. All their equine titles are for younger readers and have lots of charming illustrations.

Horse & Pony Books:

SPUNKY
(MACMILLAN [USA] 1933)
ILLUSTRATED BY THE AUTHORS
Reprinted in hardback many times by original publisher.
SUMMARY: Younger children's pony story. The story of the little grey Shetland pony Spunky who works in a mine and in a circus before becoming the mount of young Rob. Lots of colour and black and white illustrations.

MIDGET AND BRIDGET
(MACMILLAN [USA] 1934)
ILLUSTRATED BY THE AUTHORS
Reprinted in hardback by Hale in 1938.
SUMMARY: Donkey story for younger children. Midget and Bridget are wild burros living in peace until the herd is captured and they are separated. Will they ever see each other again? Lots of colour and black and white illustrations.

CRICKET: THE STORY OF A LITTLE CIRCUS PONY
(MACMILLAN [USA] 1938)
ILLUSTRATED BY THE AUTHORS
Reprinted in hardback by original publishers.
SUMMARY: Younger reader's circus story with lots of colour and black and white illustrations.

LITTLE APPALOOSA
(MACMILLAN [USA] 1949)
ILLUSTRATED BY THE AUTHORS
Reprinted in hardback a number of times by original publishers.
SUMMARY: Younger children's pony story. Ben trains an appaloosa colt with love and kindness and turns him into an excellent ranch horse. Can they win the roping prize at the rodeo?

Collector's Info:
The titles are all easy or fairly easy to find in the USA, although
Cricket and Spunky seem to be usually more expensive than the others. All the tiles are much harder to find elsewhere.

NB - The Haders also illustrated an equine title by another author:
Stripey a Little Zebra by Hamilton Williamson which you also may like to add to your collection if you love the illustrations of the Haders' other books. This title is fairly rare, although can sometimes be picked up quite cheaply.

Books about the authors:

BERTA AND ELMA HADER: A LIFETIME OF ART
By Joy Hoerner Rich, et al
(JOYFUL PRODUCTIONS [USA] 2013)
SUMMARY: The authors include the authors' niece Joy Hoemer Rich. This book chronicles the lifetime work of the pair. Illustrated lavishly throughout with their art work. Includes a bibliography. 

Collector's Info:
Published October 2013. Will be available from the publisher's website or the author's own website (see link). Not available for pre-order on Amazon at the time of writing (September 2013)