Saving Thunder the Great: The True Story of a Gerbil’s Escape from the Fort McMurray Wildfire


“If you have to evacuate while I’m at work, just take Thunder the Great.” Those were Mamma’s instructions the day before flames roared into Fort McMurray. On May 3, 2016, Mamma and Thunder the Great—a gerbil belonging to her son Jackson—were forced to flee their home. In a frightening rescue attempt, Mamma faces wildfire, traffic gridlock, an empty gas tank, and other challenges… all to get Thunder and herself to safety for the sake of her son. SAVING THUNDER THE GREAT is the true story of a gerbil’s rescue, a mother’s love for her child, and the community who helps her.

Author Bio

Leanne Shirtliffe

Leanne Shirtliffe is the author of The Change Your Name Store, No More Beige Food, and Don’t Lick the Minivan. When she’s not writing, she can be found teaching high school or trying to convince her husband that they “need” a pet. Her children are on her side. She lives in Calgary and is proud to call Alberta home. Georgia Graham’s artwork has graced the pages of numerous children’s books, including Nana’s Summer Surprise, Cub’s Journey Home, Here Comes Hortense, Where Wild Horses Run, and Nana’s Getting Married. She lives in Lacombe, Alberta.

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