Caroline's Wisconsin Connection

Caroline Arnold, author of The Terrible Hodag and the Animal Catchers (Boyds Mills Press, 2006), grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and spent her summers in northern Wisconsin at Camp Bovey, near Solon Springs.  Stories of the Hodag, a scary beast with a head of an ox, feet of a bear, back of a dinosaur and tail of an alligator, were told around evening campfires and are among Caroline's earliest memories.
Camp Bovey is operated by the East Side Neighborhood Services in Minneapolis, where Caroline’s father, Lester Scheaffer, was director from 1948 to 1966. He founded Camp Bovey, then called Camp Hodag, in 1949. Caroline first went to Camp with her family, and then as she got older as a camper and a counselor. Camp Hodag, was first used as an outpost camp by Camp Nebagamon, a boys’ camp on Lake Nebagamon, in the 1930s and 1940s.  Tales of the Hodag are also told at Camp Nebagamon.
Caroline remembers summer trips from Camp Bovey to Rhinelander, Wisconsin, to see the original home of the Hodag, and where a giant statue of the Hodag greets visitors as they enter town. One of those trips coincided with Lumberjack Days and the chance to see log rolling, tree climbing and other lumberjack feats.
Stories of the Hodag and the lumberjacks are a regular feature at the Camp Bovey campfires. Each teller gives his or her own twist to the stories. One of Caroline’s favorite stories tells how the Hodag helped the lumberjacks to get rid of a mean boss man.  In her first children’s book about the Hodag, The Terrible Hodag, published in 1989, Caroline retold this story. The Terrible Hodag and the Animal Catchers, is an original tale in which the lumberjacks help the Hodag. “I wanted to turn the tables and give the lumberjacks a chance to return the favor to the Hodag.”
Caroline began writing books more than forty years ago when her children were young.  Since then she has published more than one hundred and seventy books.  Most of them are about animals and the environment. “My childhood experiences in the outdoors in northern Wisconsin developed my love of the natural world. Whether I write fiction or nonfiction, that passion for nature is the source of my ideas.”
Caroline Arnold now lives in Los Angeles, California. In 2015, she visited Camp Bovey with her family so her children and grandchildren could enjoy "rowing, fishing, swimming in the sun" and hear about the Hodag in the north woods of Wisconsin, as she did when she was their age.
Caroline and her brothers, 1951

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