Meet the mischievous but kind-hearted Mr. Dog: a worldly raconteur who delights in telling tales of Santa Claus's visits to Mr. Man's house. His friends at the Hollow Tree Inn—Mr. Crow, Mr. 'Coon, and Mr. Possum—have never heard of Santa Claus. They are mesmerized by Mr. Dog's descriptions of the jolly old man and the gifts he brings to those who hang a stocking by the fire on Christmas Eve. Naturally, they'd like to entice Santa to the Hollow Tree... So Mr. Dog decides to play along!
"Christmas at the Hollow Tree Inn" by Albert Bigelow Paine with illustrations by Adam McCauley is a timeless tale from 1898, brought to life anew with McCauley's richly detailed color illustrations. Destined to become a Christmas classic, the book was produced by the family-run independent publisher That's So Enterprises in November 2014. A highly successful Kickstarter campaign helped fund production and promotion of the book.
The Story Behind the Story
Betsy Cordes, Creative Director of That's So Enterprises explains:
"Christmas at the Hollow Tree Inn" was written by Albert Bigelow Paine in 1898 and its reading has been a beloved Christmas Eve tradition in our family (where it's fondly known as "Mr. Dog's Christmas") for almost that long. My dad's parents read it to him and his brother. My dad, in turn, introduced it to me when I was two years old, and he's been reading it to me, my brother, and our growing family every Christmas Eve—for nearly 50 years now. It's just that good!
Yet the story has been out of print for decades, and we seemed to be among the very few who knew of it. Quite recently, it dawned on us that we could publish a new edition ourselves and, with any luck, inspire a Christmas Eve tradition for many more families. Because we wanted to maintain creative control over the look and feel of this treasure, we formed a publishing company (That's So Enterprises) to do just that.
We felt the text was perfect, but that the story would have much more appeal to modern sensibilities if we could find just the right artist to bring it to life with full color illustrations throughout the book. And we found him! Adam McCauley immediately appreciated the slightly subversive appeal of Mr. Dog and knew he was a character that contemporary families would love. He chose to render the Hollow Tree folks and their setting in crow quill pen and ink—a demanding technique that, in Adam's masterful hand, produces a richly detailed image. The technique itself is perfectly suited to the Victorian era of the story, but Adam's images sit satisfyingly somewhere in between then and now.