Christmas Stories

Mr. Dog’s Christmas at Hollow Tree Inn

Mr. Dog's ChristmasAs a boy one of my secret adventures was to scour the bookshelves at my grandmother’s house for books I could not find anywhere else.

Grandma and I were a match made in heaven – I was a bookworm and she was a school teacher.

I read not only from her vast collection of Reader’s Digest and Saturday Evening Post but I also greatly enjoyed her collection of children’s books that dated back to her own childhood. Among her collection was a book that contained stories of “Mr. Dog” and other characters set in Hollow Tree.

So when a passionate publisher recently reached out for our take on a book titled “Mr. Dog’s Christmas at the Hollow Tree Inn” something in my memory caused me to jump at the chance.

Opening that package with the red book inside was very much like Christmas morning for me.

For the record, Mr. Dog’s Christmas at Hollow Tree Inn was written in 1898 by Albert Bigelow Paine. It is just one story of a collection of many adventures featuring Mr. Dog and the other characters of the Hollow Tree People.

I cannot recall the original Hollow Tree story that I read when I was a boy. But my memory of Mr. Dog is one of pure enchantment, charm and delight. It took a lot to make a ten year old boy in the 1970s laugh – but the late Victorian era stories of Albert Bigelow Paine did it for me.

Mr. Dog’s Christmas is a simple story. “…the Hollow Tree people had never heard of Santa Claus. They knew about Christmas, of course, because everybody, even the cows and the sheep, know about that; but they had never heard of Santa Claus.”

When the knowledge of Santa Claus comes to the Hollow Tree people they naturally want to have that Santa experience. So they determine to make and to hang their own stockings. For Mr. Dog, one of the many fun characters of Hollow Tree, the opportunity was just too rich to pass up. He would play Santa Claus – complete with the long white beard.

The illustrations of the Old Hollow Tree stories I read at Grandma’s house lent a lot to my boyhood imagination in the theater of the mind as I read the stories.

This new edition of Mr. Dog’s Christmas is more vibrant than ever with the illustrations of Adam McCauley, who recreates the spirit of the old illustrations faithfully.

This is an old story but the drawings are new. Yet holding it and reading it took me back in time and made it all new again. Mr. Dog is funny, delightful, and wholly entertaining.

Betsy Cordes, intrepid publisher of this revitalized edition of Mr. Dog’s Christmas at Hollow Tree Inn, brought forth the volume in honor and memory of many Christmases past when the book was read in her family as a matter of tradition.

Why wouldn’t Mr. Dog – who entertained kids at the turn of the 20th Century and 60 years later – entertain children yet again?

It is not my habit to gush about a product. But run to Mr. Dog’s and get this book today. If you can’t make it a part of your Christmas Eve tradition to read alongside A Visit from St. Nicholas then make it part of your routine of reading Dickens in the weeks ahead of Christmas.

Christmas is usually a nostalgic journey for us all. We’re all too young now to have pure nostalgia about Mr. Dog’s Christmas. But the great thing about books is that while their covers get old their insides never do. Bring this one book into your family library and enjoy it again for every Christmas to come.

Father of 7, Grandfather of 7, husband of 1. Freelance writer, Major League baseball geek, aspiring Family Historian.
  • M
  • November 22, 2016
I hadn't heard about the Hollow Tree stories before---they sound charming! I discovered that some of the Hollow Tree books and stories are available on Amazon. Hoping to look into these!

I was also the family bookworm, and discovered some fun books on my grandparents' bookshelf.
  • J
    J Wright
  • November 24, 2016
What a nice story. Mr. Dog sounds so special!

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