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The Hollow under the Tree

Written by Cary Fagan

  • 128 Pages
  • 9781773060002
  • from grade 3 to grade 6
  • JUVENILE FICTION / Animals / Lions, Tigers, Leopards, etc.
  • JUVENILE FICTION / Business, Careers, Occupations
  • JUVENILE FICTION / Historical / Canada / Post-Confederation (1867-)



Publication Date May 01, 2018

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.


Cary Fagan

Cary Fagan has won the Vicky Metcalf Award, the Jewish Book Award and the IODE Jean Throop Book Award, and his books have been nominated for the Rogers Trust Fiction Prize, the Giller Prize, the Silver Birch Award, the Norma Fleck Award and the Rocky Mountain Book Award. He is the author of several popular short novels and picture books, including Danny, Who Fell in a Hole and A Cage Went in Search of a Bird (illustrated by Banafsheh Erfanian). The Old World, his recent collection of adult short stories, was published by Anansi in March 2017.


“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


"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