Format: Paperback, 112 pages
Published: Jan 1st 1996
Genre: Contemporary, Coming of Age
Age Range: 11+
After Bertie rescues an orphaned 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 that ensures that their friendship will never be forgotten.
I can’t give you much more of a summary than this without giving away key pieces to the story, so for this book I won’t. I saw myself thinking back to “Water for Elephants” by Sara Gruen, except it was different.
My biggest warning here is that you must be emotionally prepared to read this novel. Your heart becomes so invested in the relationship between Bertie and the lion cub that every second you think the relationship is in jeopardy your heart stops beating and your eyes begin to fill with tears. Great for anyone, at any age.
Morpurgo has an amazing way to tell a story that makes you feel like you are apart of it. This is my favourite story by him thus far, and although I haven’t read that many, it will be tough to beat.
This is a wonderful story of love, loss and succeeding despite the odds. I often recommend this book to people looking for a gift for an animal lover or anyone who wants to read a heartfelt tale. A great read aloud for classroom teachers, but make sure you pre-plan out your chapters, there are a few intense places that could keep your students awake at night waiting to find out what happens.