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The Butterfly Lion by Michael Morpurgo

The Butterfly Lion (1996)

by Michael Morpurgo

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365929,724 (3.86)19



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I just finished reading this with my daughter tonight (she's six) and it was great. Normally we read two chapters of a book every night but she has been begging me for more of this since we started it two nights ago; we read over half the book tonight. It also started great conversations about war and Africa and boarding schools (amongst other things). It's very touching and of course, being by Morpurgo, very well written. ( )
  EllenAllen | Sep 29, 2014 |
Brilliant short read that left me feeling pleased that I had read it, but really perplexed as to the old lady at the end, was she a ghost? If so how did she drive the young boy back to the school and who is the young boy? Is he the reincarnation of Bertie or is this Bertie's story told through Bertie’s ghost. Once again Morpurgo has written a story that has various storylines that do not overpower each other, but run alongside and compliment to build a gratifying read. The story of Albert (Bertie), a young boy growing up in Africa, and his lifelong friendship with a white lion. Bertie rescues an orphaned white lion cub from the African veldt. They are inseparable until Bertie is sent to boarding school far away in England and the lion is sold to a circus. His promise to never forget the lion is poignant throughout the story.
"All my life I'll think of you, I promise I will. I won't ever forget you."
Bertie swears that one day they will see one another again. Bertie runs away from boarding school, but is encouraged to return by a young girl he met while on the run. While in boarding school, his mother dies and his father remarries and sells off the family compound. Feeling despondent, he realises that his family home is no longer there to return after his schooling. Bertie goes off to enlist in the war and is severely injured, however the young girl he befriended when he ran away so long ago at school is a nurse and helps Bertie on the road to recovery. While in France recuperating Bertie rediscovers the white lion he gave away to a circus owner, so long ago as a young boy. They are reunited and return to England to live out their days, but it is the butterfly lion which ensures that their friendship will never be forgotten. ( )
  rata | Jun 18, 2014 |
A touching story that I read in one sitting. It's a story within a story as a young boy runs away from school and ends up sat in an old lady's kitchen listening to her tale about the white lion. ( )
  26kathryn | Jun 12, 2013 |
Its an absolute brilliant book. Michael Morpurgo is my favorite author ever. ( )
  smorris00 | Feb 4, 2013 |
This book tells the story of Bertie, a lonely little boy in the South African veld who one day adopts an orphaned white lion cub who then becomes his best friend. When he's due to go to boarding school in England, his father sells the cub to a French circus owner, but not before Bertie promises to find him again. Years later and now a soldier in France during WWI, he succeeds in tracking him down and bringing him back to England. When the lion dies, Bertie and his wife create the Butterfly Lion of the title to always remember him by.

A short novel for confident readers (or for sharing) in fairly large print with charming illustrations, this is written in clear prose that is very engaging and manages to subtly convey to the reader the issues of love and belonging, loyalty and friendship, and even the terrors and hardships during the First World War. This would have been plenty to keep anyone happy, so the final twist of turning the book into a ghost story was, in my opinion, unnecessary and somewhat disappointing.

A lovely introduction to the works of Michael Morpurgo that whets the appetite for more. ( )
  passion4reading | Aug 7, 2012 |
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Butterflies live only short lives.
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Bertie adopts an
Orphaned white lion cub and
They become best friends.

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Bertie rescues an orphaned white lion cub from the African veldt, but when Bertie is sent away to boarding school the lion is sold to a circus. Bertie swears they will see one another again, but it is the butterfly lion which ensures their friendship will never be forgotten. Suggested level: primary, intermediate.… (more)

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