The Thumbnail Book Reviews

by John Q McDonald --- 14 January 2004

The Hollow Tree Snowed-in Book

by Albert Bigelow Paine

First published in 1910, this book is one of the very first real novels this reader ever read. It holds up on a re-reading now nearly forty years later. This is the very charming story of several residents of the Big Deep Wood and how they entertained each other (and us) with the stories they invent or recall around a big cozy fire. Here we have a raccoon, an opossum, a crow, dog, robin, squirrel and Mr. Jack Rabbit who tell their tales through the voice of the Story Teller to the Little Lady. There is a wonderful old-time character to the stories and the language in the book. Paine writes with an adult's sensibility and with a gentleness and sweetness that makes the book very enjoyable. There is, perhaps, a later published version of the book. Maybe its language is somewhat updated, but the original is recommended. It harbors a charm and a character that is inherent in some of the out-of-date language that appears there. There are also very fine illustrations throughout the book by J. M. Condé. Paine was a first-hand biographer of Mark Twain, and something of Twain's mischievous sensibility appears in this book. Some fine story-telling.

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