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The Hollow Tree by Janet Lunn
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The Hollow Tree (1997)

by Janet Lunn

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United Empire Loyalists! Now that I better know what they are, I find this a curious children's book for Canadians. From my understanding, a lot of Canadians (no matter how recently they arrived from Europe, including [a:Susanna Moodie|94474|Susanna Moodie|https://www.goodreads.com/assets/nophoto/user/u_50x66-d9f6a4a5badfda0f69e70cc94d962125.png]) had a pretty strong antipathy towards Loyalists. The problem with reading this in Grade Eight was that I had become so image-conscious that I disliked the female protagonist for being homely on the cover. How terrible is that?
  likecymbeline | Apr 1, 2017 |
This is the third book in a trilogy that I believe only has the connection that they take place in the same geographic area at some point. I read this book before a very long time ago but did not remember it as I re-read it this time. It's a bit slow to get into and not exactly a page-turner story. The plot is quiet and meandrous even though an adventure and mission is taking place. We are privy as much as to what is taking place inside Phoebe's thoughts as to what is happening to her physically. It is still a refreshing approach to the American War of Independence. The characters in the book are Loyalists who have to flee from their homes to Canada after being made to leave by the rebels, some violently others just forcibly. However, the main character, Phoebe, is neutral. Her freedom loving professor of a father leaves to fight for the rebels and gets killed the first year. At 13 she moves across the creek to her Aunt and Uncle's house. The Uncle is a pacifist, but his eldest son is Loyalist and goes off to fight for the King. Needless to say he suffers a gruesome end. Phoebe, now 15, goes across the country on her own, followed by a stray cat and bear cub, to complete her cousin's mission because she is loyal, loyal to family, not any side in any war. The book heavily portrays the terrible ways that neighbour turned against neighbour and the Loyalists were, any combination of, kicked out of their homes, property and chattel stolen, beaten, tarred and feathered, women and children with husbands gone off fighting were kicked out in the middle of the night with virtually nothing but their horse and cart and a bag of flour. Young men accused of being Loyalist were hanged and after the war these refugees hiding out in Canada were not allowed back into the new Independent America. The book also heavily focuses on that even while there was a war going on and many angry people had taken sides, just like in all wars anywhere, there were just so many people who really had no side, couldn't care less who won, just wanted their homes back, their towns to be safe, to be neighbourly again and their loved ones back home alive and hopefully in one piece. Even though I found the pacing slow, it is an enjoyable story with an exciting journey of survival across country and populated mostly with female characters. ( )
  ElizaJane | Aug 23, 2014 |
The Hollow Tree by Janet Lunn is an interesting historical fiction novel set in the 1770s Revolutionary War era. It tells the story of 15-year-old orphan, Phoebe Olcott, who decides to cross the mountains of New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York to deliver a message to the commanding British General of the War. She takes it upon herself to fulfill this mission after her beloved cousin Gideon is hung for being a British soldier/spy. There are many trials and tribulations during Phoebe's journey, and she matures into a very self-reliant individual.

This is a very likeable historical fiction novel that shows a different side to the Revolutionary War--those who supported the British side. It is has an enjoyable plot with interesting characters and a sweet romance. Phoebe in particular is a great character with depth and is a true example of a strong woman. The Hollow Tree isn't the best historical fiction I have ever read, but it will be fun for fans of this genre. I would recommend it for 5th grade and up. ( )
1 vote RoseMarion | Oct 28, 2011 |
Informative (survival) and historical (Wartime) with romance. ( )
  VHLWYATT | Feb 7, 2011 |
gg award
the canadian children's book centre ( )
  mahallett | Jan 23, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0142301426, Mass Market Paperback)

It is 1777, and Phoebe is thrown headlong into the turmoil of war when her beloved cousin is hanged as a British spy. When she finds his secret message to the British general, she decides to deliver it herself to Fort Ticonderoga. She has never been away from her small village, and knows nothing about survival in the wilderness, or dealing with warring Patriots and Tories. She's going to need help to survive . . . but whose?

"A tense, atmospheric story . . . Brings to life this important chapter in American history." (Booklist )

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:51 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Fifteen-year-old Phoebe Olcott, distraught when her beloved cousin Gideon is hanged as a British spy, becomes caught up in the turmoil of war when she decides to deliver the secret message Gideon was carrying to the British general at Fort Ticonderoga.… (more)

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