The Thumb in the Box


96 pages
ISBN 0-88899-422-2
DDC jC813'.54






Illustrations by Leanne Franson
Reviewed by Patricia Morley

Patricia Morley is professor emerita of English and Canadian Studies at
Concordia University and an avid outdoor recreationist. She is the
author of several books, including The Mountain Is Moving: Japanese
Women’s Lives, Kurlek and Margaret Laurence: T


This whimsical tale is set in the village of New Auckland on the coast
of northern British Columbia. The tiny town consists of rows of wooden
houses lining the beach, a community centre, and a six-room school.

The first-person narrator, 11-year-old Leon Mazzei, shares the
spotlight with a lion named Muriel. When Muriel was just a cub, she was
dropped off from a cruise ship after she had been discovered as a
stowaway. Now the village pet, Muriel occupies a huge pen behind the
community centre.

After a minor fire alerts the community to its need for a large
saltwater pump, a letter to the government leads to the gift of an
impressive firetruck. The trouble is, the village has no roads. One bit
of confusion leads to another, but all ends happily in the spirit of
Raven, the trickster.

Leanne Franson’s zany black-and-white illustrations suit the spirit
of this lighthearted chapter book for primary-school children.


Roberts, Ken., “The Thumb in the Box,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed February 21, 2024,