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A Lion to Guard Us (1981)

by Clyde Robert Bulla

Other authors: Michele Chessare (Illustrator)

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1,467139,583 (3.68)10
Left on their own in seventeenth-century London, three impoverished children draw upon all their resources to stay together and make their way to the Virginia colony in search of their father.

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On June 2, 1609, the Sea Adventure plus eight other ships sailed from Plymouth, England bound for the colony Virginia. These ships were bringing relief to the settlers of Jamestown as this young colony was at war with the natives and facing starvation. A Lion to Guard Us by Clyde Robert Bulla is a children’s tale based on this episode. During the crossing a massive storm struck and drove the Sea Adventure aground off the shore of Bermuda. The settlers spent nine months on Bermuda and managed to built two smaller ships that they sailed safely to Jamestown. They luckily brought a lot of food with them from Bermuda and these supplies helped to keep Jamestown going until more ships arrived from London.

A Lion to Guard Us is aimed at children that are 8 to 12 years and because of this there really isn’t a lot of detail added to the story or character development. Amanda is a thirteen year old girl who after the death of her mother, is trying to get herself and her younger sister and brother to Jamestown to find their father. They find a berth on the Sea Adventure. The historical details are slight with most of the author’s attention being on the story of these children dealing with all that is placed in their way. Written in a straight forward, simple style for middle school age children, I think perhaps this story might be too simple to appeal to today’s children. It is interesting to note that the story of the Sea Adventure caught the attention of William Shakespeare and he went on to base his play The Tempest on this lost ship. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Mar 13, 2018 |
Summary: In this book their are three children, who are forced to try and fend for themselves. Their father is in America trying to help settle the new colonies, but shortly after he left, the mother became extremely sick and passed away. They decided they would take a boat to America in hopes of finding their father, but a terrible storm comes and causes a shipwreck, leaving them stranded on an island. They have to endure many trials while living on the island with the other families as they wait for a new ship to be built.

Personal Reaction: I couldn't believe this was a children's book, because I did not want to set it down. The book uses great detail in order to draw you in to the story. I am sure children between the ages of third to sixth grade would really enjoy getting to read this book.

Classroom Extension:
1. After the child read the book, I would have them do an art project. I would give them supplies like rocks, sticks, popsicle sticks, leaves, etc... and I would have them build their own mini hut, like what they imagined the ones that the children were living in on the island.
2. I would do a "tell your own island story" work sheet were the children would use their imagination in order to tell what they think it would be like to be stranded on an island and how they would use their brains to escape.
  Shelby_Booker1214 | Oct 26, 2016 |
This could be my first historical fiction outside of schoolbooks (waayyy back when;)). I loved it. ( )
  dayspring777 | Feb 22, 2016 |
"But when [Dr. Crider] came in, he hardly looked at the kitchen. For a while he hardly looked at them. He sat down with his hat and cloak on. His eyes were bright, and there was color in his cheeks.
"Amanda spoke to him twice before he answered.
"'Yes? What is it?'
"'Will you have tea?' she asked.
"'Tea? No, no,' he said. "Amanda - ?'
"'Yes, sir?'
"'Am I an old man?'
"'Yes, sir,' she answered.
"'I am?'
"'I mean - not a VERY old man, but -'
"'I know how I must look to you, but don't believe what you see. Today I'm young again. I'm young, Amanda! ... You don't understand me, do you?'
"'No, sir.'
"'I've just been to see Sir Thomas Smythe on Philpot Lane. We've talked about ships to the New World. Nine are leaving next month. Nine ships, Amanda, leaving in June. And you'll be on one of them.'
"'I will? Truly?'
"'Yes. And Jemmy and Meg, too.'
"She said, 'I know. You went to Mistress Trippett's. You got the money [owed us].'
"'No. Poor Mistress Trippett,' he said, 'shut up in her big house. Poor Mistress Trippett with her bags of money - let her keep it all. There's a great world outside, and she'll never know it. But WE'LL know it, Amanda.'
"He was on his feet, walking up and down. 'They want me in Jamestown. They NEED me there. They want doctors, and they don't care how old I am. There's nothing to keep me here, and I'm going. We're all going to the New World together!'" pp.47-48
  Mary_Overton | Jan 8, 2011 |
Historical fiction based on three young children crossing to Jamestown. Written in language easy for young reader to understand. Story did not go into enough depth in order for reader to become really engaged in the story. ( )
  reneemrobbins | Jul 25, 2010 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Clyde Robert Bullaprimary authorall editionscalculated
Chessare, MicheleIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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To Marilyn Kriney
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On a February morning in the year 1609, a small thin-faced man made his way over London Bridge.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Left on their own in seventeenth-century London, three impoverished children draw upon all their resources to stay together and make their way to the Virginia colony in search of their father.

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