By Luke Baynes
Santa Claus knows if you’ve been bad or good. He even knows your sleep patterns. But what he can’t figure out is where he left his big red hat.
That’s the conundrum at the core of Williston resident Larry Dubin’s “Santa’s Big Red Hat,” a children’s book about a Christmas that is almost cancelled when Mrs. Claus forbids Santa from delivering presents on a cold Christmas Eve without the cover of his misplaced crimson cap.
“This story basically came to me in a dream in 2007, around the holidays,” Dubin said. “The next day I sat down and wrote the story out, and every year I’ve been reading it to my daughter.”
Dubin, who works full-time in the credit card industry and part-time as a singer-songwriter, said he initially had no intention of publishing the story in book form.
“I am not an author by trade,” he said.
But about a year and a half ago, he decided that his story, which is written in rhyme, would have greater resonance with his target audience of 3- to 10-year-olds if it were illustrated. He enlisted the help of Williston native Taryn Cozzy, a senior at the New Hampshire Institute of Art, whose 35 pages of illustrations were done in acrylic paints and then edited digitally.
“She just did an amazing job with the illustrations,” Dubin said. “She really brought my text to life. This is a college student’s artwork that just jumps off these pages.”
Cozzy, an illustration major at the Manchester-based NHIA, said she was surprised when Dubin asked her two summers ago to illustrate his text.
“I’d been doing things like this in classes, but I never thought I’d be doing my own illustrated book so soon,” Cozzy said.
Like Dubin, Cozzy gave high marks to her collaborator.
“It was such a great working relationship,” Cozzy said. “It was a really nice collaborative effort, and it’s really helped me too now in lectures here in school at New Hampshire Institute of Art.”
Although Dubin has read the text of his story to children for years at family gatherings, it will make its official debut in illustrated form during a book reading at Dorothy Alling Memorial Library on Dec. 5 at 6:30 p.m.
“The first time I’m physically going to be reading my actual book is on Dec. 5, with the kids that come to the reading and the signing at the library,” Dubin said.
Copies of “Santa’s Big Red Hat” are on sale for $20 at Adams Farm Market on Old Stage Road. It can also be purchased by contacting Dubin directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.