An ordinary enough story, dressed with a dry wit and a memorable set of characters, makes a Christmas fantasy warm as a pudding fresh from the oven. Cal is the central figure- a hound who learns to talk at great pains and so shocks the grown-ups with his ability that he goes in search of children who are more open-minded about such things. He finds Joey Bough who lives down in the slums and doesn't expect a visit from Santa. Though Calhoun finds little he can do about it at first, when he discovers Santa is a man, things change. Loping right out to where Santa and his deep are due to pass by Christmas Eve, he makes a polite speech which, slightly tinged with a southern accent, wins Jocy and his family a happy time.