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.
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 you 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.
A runaway schoolboy finds a magnificent monument to a magnificent animal in this ghost story, at once marvelous and matter-of-fact, from Morpurgo (Robin of Sherwood, 1996, etc.). The author casts himself as the ten-year-old narrator, whose attempt to run away from a miserable boarding-school existence ends in a dusty house, where a friendly old widow shows him a great lion cut into the chalk on a hillside - the butterfly lion. She tells him how it came to be there: Her Bertie, a lonely boy in South Africa, found and began to raise a white lion cub, tearfully saw it sold to a French circus owner, reclaimed it years later during the Great War, and brought it to England to live. When it died, Bertie spent the next 40 years carving its likeness on the hill. Astonishing in itself, the chalk lion becomes even moreso after a rain, when thousands of Adonis Blue butterflies gather on it. Urging him to come again, the old woman takes the boy back to school; only later does he learn that she died - as her husband did - years ago. This dreamlike story is suffused with a man's lifelong love for a rare, gentle animal friend. (Kirkus Reviews)
Winner of Smarties Book Prize 6-8 Category 1996. Winner of Smarties Book Prize Gold Award 1996.
Michael divides his time between his writing and running Farms for City Children, a charity which each year takes up to 3,000 children to a working farm for a week. Michael and his wife Clare were awarded MBEs this year for their work with the charity. Before the first farm opened 22 years ago, Morpurgo was a teacher and his knowledge of children's experiences, plus his experience of Farms enrich his writing enormously. Michael Morpurgo has won the Whitbread Children's Book Award, and the Smarties Book Prize.
Customer reviews & ratings