Mitchell Stein – There are few holiday specials that are as spectacular as Jim Henson’s Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas is, and that’s why it is an essential part of our annual holiday viewing schedule. Henson’s masterpiece consists of groundbreaking puppetry, phenomenal music from the golden tunes of Paul Williams, and a wonderful story that make it one of the most wonderful, heartfelt Christmas specials a Muppet fan could ask for. But, that special could not be what it is if not for the brilliant work that it is based off, and luckily, the source material is finally back in publication.
This holiday season, Doubleday Books has reprinted Emmet Otter in a beautiful new reprinting of the story. Complete with the elements that made the original book such a beloved book, it is great to have the entirety of this book back in such a beautiful new fashion. Reading Emmet Otter, it is not difficult to see why Jim Henson was touched by the idea to create the one-hour Christmas special, and bring it to life with his own style and originality. Written by Russell Hoban and illustrated by Lillian Hoban, the book is a landmark in holiday storytelling, a multigenerational tale that has already earns its place in pop-culture history and a cherished piece of the holiday traditions of many.
While the Emmet Otter holiday special has become available in subsequent re-releases in many years, in alternate cuts and edits, the book version of this story has been printed only twice before, once in 1971 and in 1992. Therefore, this reprinting is really the first time in many years that make this book readily available to fans, and should hopefully allow many fans to pass this phenomenal story to a whole new generation of readers to cherish.
What is especially interesting for myself, and I’m sure will be the case for other Muppet fans, is visiting this book after my familiarity with the Jim Henson television special. The story is accompanied by Lillian Hoban’s masterful artistry, and it is especially fascinating seeing the care that was taken to ensure that the puppets created for the Emmet Otter special matches those of the character designs by Hoban. The best part about picking up a copy of Emmet Otter in book form is the freedom of not worrying about the licensing rights between Disney and The Jim Henson Company, or whether or not you just purchased the version with Kermit the Frog in it. Anyone who is a fan of the masterful Jim Henson special should definitely take the time to visit the source material for the work. And in the case that you haven’t yet got a chance to familiarize yourself with either the book or the spectacular Christmas special, you have some catching up to do!
Simply put: Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas should be an essential part of your holiday season, in the rare case that it isn’t already. Now, this book makes it easier than ever before for a new generation of readers to access this wonderful story, and hopefully cherish the creative works of Russell and Lillian Hoban, and the Henson television special that was inspired by it. Doubleday’s newest printing of Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas should make the perfect present to put under the tree for any young reader or young Muppet fans, and we’re thrilled it has the spot on bookshelves to live on for a whole new generation of readers.
Emmet Otter’s Jugband Christmas is available to purchase online.