The Hollow under the Tree

The Hollow under the Tree

Written by: Fagan, Cary
ages 8 to 11 / grades 3 to 6

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An escaped lion is hiding in the middle of the city, and it is up to Sadie and Theo to save him!

When a circus train derails in Toronto in 1925, a lion escapes and finds shelter in High Park, a four-hundred-acre park in the west end of the city. No one knows about the creature except for Sadie Menken, the feisty daughter of a pie-maker. As various squirrels, dogs and an expensive peacock meet unfortunate ends, and the park “beast” is spotted by visitors, the lion’s presence draws the attention of the authorities.

Can Sadie save the lion? Can she resist the temptation to try to make a pet of a creature that is wild at heart?

That will take the help of some unlikely allies, including her busy pie-making father, Miss Clemons the retired librarian, and a polite but lonely rich boy named Theodore, as Sadie discovers that an “all-right” ending can sometimes be just happy enough.

A story about a child who follows her heart, set at a time when kids were not always under a grownup’s watchful eye, when wild and urban spaces intertwined, and adventure could be found in a city’s back alley, or just past the picnic tables of the local park.

Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.4.3
Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., a character's thoughts, words, or actions).

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.5.3
Compare and contrast two or more characters, settings, or events in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., how characters interact).

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.6.3
Describe how a particular story's or drama's plot unfolds in a series of episodes as well as how the characters respond or change as the plot moves toward a resolution.

An escaped lion is hiding in the middle of the city, and it is up to Sadie and Theo to save him!

When a circus train derails in Toronto in 1925, a lion escapes and finds shelter in High Park, a four-hundred-acre park in the west end of the city. No one knows about the creature except for Sadie Menken, the feisty daughter of a pie-maker. As various squirrels, dogs and an expensive peacock meet unfortunate ends, and the park “beast” is spotted by visitors, the lion’s presence draws the attention of the authorities.

Can Sadie save the lion? Can she resist the temptation to try to make a pet of a creature that is wild at heart?

That will take the help of some unlikely allies, including her busy pie-making father, Miss Clemons the retired librarian, and a polite but lonely rich boy named Theodore, as Sadie discovers that an “all-right” ending can sometimes be just happy enough.

A story about a child who follows her heart, set at a time when kids were not always under a grownup’s watchful eye, when wild and urban spaces intertwined, and adventure could be found in a city’s back alley, or just past the picnic tables of the local park.

Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.4.3
Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., a character's thoughts, words, or actions).

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.5.3
Compare and contrast two or more characters, settings, or events in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., how characters interact).

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.6.3
Describe how a particular story's or drama's plot unfolds in a series of episodes as well as how the characters respond or change as the plot moves toward a resolution.

Published By Groundwood Books Ltd — May 1, 2018
Specifications 128 pages | 5 in x 7.5 in
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Excerpt
Written By

CARY FAGAN writes books for children and adults. He has won the Vicky Metcalf Award for Children’s Literature, the Jewish Book Award, the IODE Jean Throop Book Award and the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award, among others. His picture books include A Cage Went in Search of a Bird, illustrated by Banafsheh Erfanian, and Son of Happy, illustrated by Milan Pavlović, which was named one of the Best Canadian Picture Books of 2020 by CBC Books. Cary lives with his family in Toronto.

Written By

CARY FAGAN writes books for children and adults. He has won the Vicky Metcalf Award for Children’s Literature, the Jewish Book Award, the IODE Jean Throop Book Award and the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award, among others. His picture books include A Cage Went in Search of a Bird, illustrated by Banafsheh Erfanian, and Son of Happy, illustrated by Milan Pavlović, which was named one of the Best Canadian Picture Books of 2020 by CBC Books. Cary lives with his family in Toronto.

Nominated, Silver Birch Award, 2019

“An excellent read . . . Equally suitable as a read-aloud or as a choice for independent reading, this short chapter book will please animal enthusiasts and readers of tales about brave girls alike.” —Kirkus Reviews

“This is a quick read for younger middle grade readers looking for slightly offbeat mysteries. A solid purchase for larger collections.” —School Library Journal

“Fagan's story is full of quiet humor, nostalgia, and a touch of wistfulness that lends realism to the fantastical premise.” —Horn Book

“. . . this accessible, engaging read has ample appeal for fans of animal stories.” —Booklist

“This novel will have every animal lover wanting their own personal “Sunny”.” —Resource Links