ILLUSTRATED BY CHRISTIAN BIRMINGHAM.
A lyrical and moving tale of a young boy growing up in Africa, and his lifelong friendship with a white lion.
“All my life I’ll think of you, I promise I will. I won’t ever forget you.”
Bertie rescues an orphaned white lion cub from the African veld. They are inseparable until Bertie is sent to boarding school far away in England and the lion is sold to a circus. Bertie swears that one day they will see one another again, but it is the butterfly lion which ensures that their friendship will never be forgotten.
About the author
Michael Morpurgo OBE is one of Britain's best-loved writers for children, and has sold more than 35 million books around the world. He has written more than 150 novels and won many prizes, including the Smarties Prize, the Whitbread Award and the Blue Peter Book Award, while several of his books have been adapted for stage and screen, including the global theatrical phenomenon War Horse. Michael was Children’s Laureate from 2003 to 2005, and founded the charity Farms for City Children with his wife, Clare. He was knighted in 2018 for services to literature and charity.
Winner of a Smarties Gold Medal, Morpurgo's (The Wreck of the Zanzibar) cozy, well-executed British novel may not survive the jump across the ocean--the climax depends on a casual reference likely to be lost on American readers. The story, about a boy who gives his white lion immortality, moves gracefully through frequent switches from past to present, from first to third person, from the English countryside to pre-WWI South Africa. A boy runs away from his strict boarding school ("It was a diet of Latin and stew and rugby and detentions... and chilblains... and semolina pudding"), only to meet an old woman who invites him in for tea. There, fed delicious scones, he looks out the window upon the hillside to see a huge shape of a lion, switching from white to blue. How did it come to be there? The old woman tells him the remarkable story of Bertie, who as a boy found a white lion in Africa and was later obliged to give him to a European circus. Magic enters the novel at an appropriate moment, and the conclusion is sweet. But unless readers can picture "the famous White Horse on the hillside at Uffington" (an enormous, ancient image carved into chalky ground), they will have difficulty imagining an adult Bertie and his wife carving out a similar picture of the white lion or of blue butterflies alighting on it en masse to "drink on the chalk face"--concepts critical to the book's conclusion. Ages 8-12.
Customer ReviewsSee All
One of my favourite books
This is definitely one of my favourite books I have read it several times. It’s such a beautiful story.
The Butterfly Lion
I read this book for school, and I really loved it. I think it is good if you want to read to your kids for a bed time story.