The Butterfly Lion

Michael Morpurgo, Author, Christian Birmingham, Illustrator Viking Children's Books $14.99 (96p) ISBN 978-0-670-87461-3
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. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/28/1997
Release date: 05/01/1997
Show other formats
Hardcover - 128 pages - 978-0-00-745620-8
Paperback - 139 pages - 978-957-570-773-6
Paperback - 124 pages - 978-0-00-731735-6
Prebound-Glued - 978-0-606-22858-9
Paperback - 978-0-00-727994-4
Paperback - 128 pages - 978-0-00-675103-8
Hardcover - 124 pages - 978-0-00-185617-2
Hardcover - 1 pages - 978-0-00-717367-9
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Email Address


Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.