I didn’t learn to read from the books about Dick and Jane with their dog Spot though I enjoy them and have framed a page from one of the books. Believe it or not, you can purchase individual pages. Mine was a gift. I’ve also purchased some reproductions of the original books enjoy reading them afresh. I learned to read with the Alice and Jerry readers. Only now do I know that Mabel O’Donnell wrote the books and that Florence and Margaret Hoopes illustrated these books, as well as many others.
Over the years I tried to find copies of the Alice and Jerry readers, but found no trace. I couldn’t even find a person who had heard of them. I thought perhaps the readers we used were a local thing, so when I had the opportunity, I searched antique shops in the area around my hometown. Nothing. The images were so similar that I decided long ago that I must have been wrong and the characters must have been the famous Dick and Jane.
A couple of weeks ago I had an “Aha!” moment and realized I could search for Alice and Jerry online. Now I’m the proud owner of an Alice and Jerry reader. Evidently it wasn’t just an Ohio thing. The book I bought is from Bellevue Public School District No. 405. Well, actually, the sign-out sheet from the front cover is from Bellevue. This particular reader is called The New Friendly Village with “The New” smaller than “Friendly Village”. I think the thing that I liked so much about the books were the familiar characters that lived in all of them. Alice and Jerry, always present, were joined by other characters and became friends to us all. The artist within me is intrigued and inspired by the illustrations.