The Hollow Under the Tree
The Hollow Under the Tree
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Annotation: An escaped lion is hiding in the middle of the city, and it is up to Sadie and Theo to save him.
Catalog Number: #165321
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
No other formats available
Publisher: Groundwood Books
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Pages: 105 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-554-98999-X
ISBN 13: 978-1-554-98999-7
Dewey: Fic
Dimensions: 20 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
It's 1925, and young Sadie Menken lives in Toronto with her pie-maker father and boarder Miss Clemons, a former librarian. When Miss Clemons shares a newspaper article about neighborhood dogs disappearing, Sadie recalls an earlier story about a missing circus lion and, worried he's in trouble, sets out to find him. Surprisingly, she actually finds the lion, who's hiding and hungry in a nearby park. Keeping him fed d secret oves challenging, but she gains an unlikely ally and friend in Theodore Junior, a wealthy, somewhat isolated boy she knows from her pie deliveries. Soon, the two begin sneaking the lion food and develop a unique bond with him. Eventually, however, Sadie realizes he's still a wild animal, one she can't keep hidden forever. Featuring a spirited, well-drawn protagonist and multifaceted side characters, as well as incorporating a bit of the fantastical within the realistic setting, this also interweaves familiar themes, from dealing with bullies to finding friendship and trust. With short, manageable chapters and descriptive historical details, this accessible, engaging read has ample appeal for fans of animal stories.
Horn Book
In 1925 Toronto, a gentle circus lion is thrown from a train and holes up in High Park. Clever, compassionate baker's daughter Sadie and her friend Theo Junior discover and care for the lion until they can find him a permanent home. Fagan's story is full of quiet humor, nostalgia, and a touch of wistfulness that lends realism to the fantastical premise.
Kirkus Reviews
An adventurous girl finds an escaped circus lion in 1925 Toronto.Sadie Menken lives with her father, a pie maker, and their boarder, Miss Clemons, a savvy retired librarian and inveterate clipper of newspaper articles. Sadie loves nearby High Park, with its natural areas, but doesn't get to play there often because she delivers her father's pies after school. Her last daily stop is to a house inhabited by a wealthy family. Their young son, usually left at home while his parents travel, finally makes Sadie's acquaintance. Not-so-courageous Theo Junior becomes Sadie's confidant (and supplier of steaks) when she finds the lion in the park and begins to feed him late each night. Contemporary kids may wonder about Sadie's and Theo Junior's relative freedom, but the narrator explains: "Ninety years ago, when these events occurred, parents didn't worry so much about children being outside on their own." The accessible, humorous storytelling voice, its sketch of life in an earlier time, and the premise of a wild beast who calms down with good food and caring friends all combine to make this short chapter book an excellent read. The book assumes a white default.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. (Historical fiction. 6-9)
School Library Journal
Gr 35 On May 15, 1925, the last two cars of a circus train break free, then derail and tip over, throwing a young lion out of his cage near a large park in Toronto, where he then finds refuge. Sadie, a piemaker's daughter, decides to hunt for the missing lion that she is certain is hiding in the park. She finds him and feeds him scraps of meat she obtains from the local butcher in exchange for her father's delicious pies. Fagan's writing in this short novel is succinct yet descriptive enough to hold readers' attention. The characters are a nod to beloved detective novel tropes: brave and determined Sadie; Theodore Kendrick, Jr., a kind and good-humored young boy from the town's wealthiest family who has everything but a friend; and Fergus Gumpy, a bully and nephew of a city policeman. VERDICT This is a quick read for younger middle grade readers looking for slightly offbeat mysteries. A solid purchase for larger collections. Susan Scheps, formerly at Shaker Public Library, OH
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
ALA Booklist (5/1/18)
Horn Book (8/1/18)
Kirkus Reviews
School Library Journal (5/1/18)
Reading Level: 3.0
Interest Level: 3-6

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
No Littering



Excerpted from The Hollow under the Tree by Cary Fagan
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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.


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