About this book
The Hollow under the Tree
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.
The railway car twisted, buckled and split apart, sending splinters of metal and wood in every direction. The lion was thrown free of the debris. He landed in bushes a hundred yards farther on.
He lay there for a minute or two before rising painfully. He shook himself and limped past the bits of wood and metal to begin walking up the dark hill ahead.
The lion came to a post in the ground. He smelled the disagreeable odor of the many dogs that had stopped there to lift their legs.
Attached to the post was a sign:
Welcome to High Park
About the Author
Cary Fagan is an award-winning author of 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 many books include the picture book A Cage Went in Search of a Bird, illustrated by Banafsheh Erfanian (“An original and thought-provoking exploration of the rhythms of friendship —Kirkus, starred review) and the short novel The Hollow Under the Tree, an Ontario Library Association Best Bet. Cary lives with his family in Toronto.
Awards and Praise
Praise for The Hollow Under the Tree
OLA Best Bets
“Fagan presents a sweet, quiet, and neatly packaged tale that emphasizes the importance of hard work and following your dreams in the face of adversity.” School Library Journal review of Banjo of Destiny
“In classic Fagan fashion, the author turns a potentially tragic situation on its head with a good dose of humour and whimsy. Fagan uses a gentle touch to explore several weighty issues – identity, being “different,” accepting change, bravery, friendship, and family – all while delivering comedy and adventure.” Quill & Quire review of Danny, Who Fell in a Hole
“...this book is typical Fagan: fantastical yet familiar, timeless, and with just the right touch of sentiment and seriousness ... a great read-aloud tale.” CM Magazine review of Danny, Who Fell in a Hole