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The Butterfly Lion

4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  5,717 Ratings  ·  345 Reviews
Trying to run away from boarding school in England, a boy encounters an old woman who tells him the story of Bertie and his beautiful white lion.
Hardcover, 128 pages
Published May 1st 1997 by Viking Juvenile (first published January 1st 1996)
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Jul 23, 2012 Mark rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone I haven't already bought it for
Recommended to Mark by: the Ottaker Elf
Having read this way way back in the 1990's when i was making sure I knew the content of the books I was buying for my then young nephews and nieces this has since become a stock present for me to buy for people of all ages. I was trying to tot up the number of copies I have given, I stopped at 12.

It is, perhaps, my favourite Morpurgo which covers much the same familiar territory over which he often flys. It deals with loneliness and love, courage and success against all the odds and revolves ar
Maeve Harrison
Dec 02, 2012 Maeve Harrison rated it it was amazing
The Butterfly Lion is a heart warming yet bitter-sweet story. Bertie is a lonely little boy in South Africa who one day adopts an orphaned white lion cub, who then becomes his best friend.
They have a wonderful companionship but things take a turn for the worst when Bertie is sent to boarding school in England and his father sells the cub to a French circus owner. Their separation is heart breaking, however Bertie promises to find him again. Years later and now a soldier in France during WWI, he
Bella Bonner-Evans
Very sad (should have come with a free packet of tissues!!)
Aug 22, 2013 Jessica rated it really liked it
The Butterfly Lion is a story about a boy who runs away from and meets an old lady in his way. The lady proceeds to tell him about the story of her husband and his pet white lion. The story explores the childhood of Bertie in Africa, his move to Britain, his friendship with Millie as well as his participation in World War Two. I feel that this book is very effective in introducing the serious emotions that children may experience. The hint at the depression of Bertie's mum is explored through a ...more
Aug 30, 2016 Maria rated it really liked it
Recommended to Maria by: Bushra
I thought it was well - written...for a classic,I mean. It flowed nicely,too and was a pleasure to read. It had many great life lessons.

'It may be difficult to remember sometimes,but there's always sun behind the clouds,and the clouds do go in the end. Honestly.'

I liked how I was surrounded by the refreshing sights,sounds and smells of nature while reading it. The way classics always do to me anyway.

However,I did have some issues that I've also had with some other classics I've read. It's t
Alison Lau
Feb 19, 2011 Alison Lau rated it it was amazing
This book is an extremely good book and touching. It tells the story of a boy, who runs away from school and meets an old lady called Milly. She tells him a wonderful story about a boy called Bertie, who finds a white lion cub in Africa. Bertie has to go to boarding school in England and the lion cub is sold to a French circus man.

Many years later, Bertie becomes a soldier and when he goes to France, he sees the white lion again. He takes it to England and looks after it. When , the old lady fin
Aug 08, 2011 Julie rated it really liked it
An enchanting tale from Michael Morpurgo, it is an easy read and is aimed at the younger reader. The story is about a young boy who grows up in Africa and rescues a White lion, they grow up together and one day the bonds are broken when the boy has to go away to boarding school and the lion is sold. A vow is made that the lion will never be forgotten and will be found again.Then the first world war rears its ugly head and the boy now a man has to go and fight in France, Does he remember his vow ...more
Nov 05, 2012 Angelina rated it it was amazing
We had to make up taglines for this book at school and I would just like to share it : I will never forget you. You are in my heart no matter what happens. Our friendship will never end. I promise you that. Millie and Bertie got seperated by war and Bertie and the Lion got seperated because Bertie was going to boarding school and they needed money so they sold the Lion.
Aug 21, 2012 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Following in the same vain as the hugely successful War Horse and The Dancing Bear, Michael Morpurgo's The Butterfly Lion has the theme of friendship running through its narrative. But instead of a friendship between two people, much like his earlier works, The Butterfly Lion focuses largely on the friendship between a boy and an animal.

The novel is the story of a young boy, Bertie, as told through the memory of an elderly woman who knew him. She recounts his story to a schoolboy who has just ru
Shazza Maddog
Feb 08, 2012 Shazza Maddog rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 30, 2011 Read2review rated it really liked it
** For the full review please check out **

I adore the work of Michael Morpurgo for two reasons:
1. He always puts so much heart and soul into his stories
2. His work has a way of speaking to you

The Butterfly Lion follows these two points once again and I was able to loose myself in the story. I was transported to the heart of Africa, the frontline of the war, France and Strawbridge in the United Kingdom.

The story starts as a boy has run away from school and stumbles upon an ol
Claire Phelan
Aug 13, 2014 Claire Phelan rated it it was amazing
The Butterfly Lion is a beautifully written story about a friendship between a young boy named Barney and a White Lion. The story begins with a young boy who has just run away from boarding school. As he tries to make his way to London he meets an old lady who tells his a story about her late husband who was in a similar situation many years ago. She recalls how her husband Bertie would sneak out of school every Sunday to meet her. She tells him how their love and friendship grew over the years. ...more
Author: Michael Morpurgo
Illustrator: Christian Birmingham
First Published: 1996

The great talent of Morpurgo is to blend many ideas into an interesting, engaging story. He takes turns and pauses as our characters' lives unfold, slipping easily into Big Concepts and snippets of history.
The Butterfly Lion grew from several magical roots: the memories of a small boy who tried to run away from school a long time ago; a book about a pride of white lions discovered by Chris McBride; a chance meeting in
Sep 28, 2015 Donna rated it it was amazing
One of my favourite Michael Morpurgo books. It is a small book and so would be great for children who sometimes can feel intimidated by the amount of pages in a book. It tells the story of a boy who runs away from school and meets an old lady who tells him the story of her husband and his pet lion cub. The character of the boy mirrors that of the husband Bertie as they both run way and have to deal with loneliness. Both find friendship when they most need it, Bertie in the cub and the boy in the ...more
Jan 16, 2012 Hannah rated it really liked it
A lovely story of friendship across many boards from: old to young, man to wife, human to animal. This story touches on experience across the ages helping the character relate to what is important in life. The old woman catches the narrator running away from boarding school and retells a story about her dead husband (Bertie) and his friendship with ‘the white prince’ a lion whom he befriends in Africa. He has to let go of the lion when he comes to board at the same school, that the narrator ...more
Kyran Delaney
Jun 07, 2012 Kyran Delaney rated it it was amazing
The Butterfly Lion by Michael Morpurgo 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 ...more
Jul 29, 2012 Kitty rated it liked it

This is an interesting book with various subplots that unwind as you read the story. The main plot consists of a touching story about a young boy living in Africa that befriends a white lion. They become separated but find one another in the end.It is also a story about following your own path in life just as Bertie shows when he leaves his childhood home. He also encounters his heart-long inseparable friend Millie.

I remember reading this in a Primary year 5 class and quite a few of the childre
Aleha Begum
May 06, 2012 Aleha Begum rated it it was amazing
This book is about a young boy called Bertie who grew up in Africa and rescued an orphaned white lion cub from the African grassland. He develops a strong bond with this cub and was sad to leave the white lion when he was sent to boarding school in England. The lion was sold to a circus and after many years Bertie and the butterfly lion meet, which was the highlight of the book for me. The reader is able to feel the emotions Bertie was going through at this point and you can probably relate it ...more
Oct 28, 2010 Inez rated it really liked it
My favourite part of this book was the beginning of Bertie's story because I thought that it was interesting about how Bertie's life was in Africa and how he met up with the White Lion Cub. I enjoyed the bit about the First World War because in another book called War House it was also about the First World War so I understood more about the First World War. My favourite character in this book was Bertie because he never gave up and he also always did unexpected brave things. I think he deserved ...more
Jan 12, 2016 Natalie rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: pak dika
Even though, i have read this book three times and it is still one of my favorite books. This book is about a young boy who rescues a white lion cub in Africa, the two had became great friends until the young boy had to go to boarding school in England, the two had separated and the lion has been sold to a circus. Will they find each other one day? or will the two just become a strong and powerful memory? read the book to find out!
This book is a really sad and touching book, it is a very emotion
Caroline Watkinson
Feb 21, 2016 Caroline Watkinson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: casual-reading
A classic Morpurgo. I particularly loved the set up of the book, the story within a story works very well as it enables the reader to jump within two worlds which creates multiple layers to the imagery and description which makes it more powerful. I also loved the emotion throughout, particularly towards the end when the story of the couple comes to and end.

I would love to use this book with KS2 and develop some form of literacy or art lessons based around the book.
Patrick Gralton
Feb 19, 2014 Patrick Gralton rated it liked it
My mentor on SBT1 used this book in guided reading for Year 4.It is a good book for extending the learners' comprehension ability as they have to read between the lines to realise what is going on. It is also a very descriptive and evocative book that will encourage reflection. It can generate good conversation and 'what if?' scenarios and is to be recommended.
Jane McCarren
Nov 29, 2016 Jane McCarren rated it really liked it
Beautifully told story about love, grief and loyalty, and how family relationships aren't always the deepest.
Layers of narrative and echoes between past and present give the story a lovely depth for more experienced readers.
Read it myself then immediately read it to my 9 year old son.
Jan 28, 2015 Daniel rated it really liked it
You may need to pull out an onion and a knife to quickly mask you're pathetic emotional wreckage. What a beautiful story, although I did find the last 4 pages a bit hokey but that's easily forgiven.
Aug 12, 2007 Bluey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Short but completely and utterly beautiful. One of Morpurgo's best. The ending makes me sniffle, even if I just think about it.
Sivananthi T
Sep 10, 2014 Sivananthi T rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Once in a way I dip into my kids' collection and a borrow a book to transport me to a time where ideals were the most important thing in life. Lovely read xxx
Deepika Ramesh
Nov 05, 2015 Deepika Ramesh rated it it was amazing
This was absolutely delightful. :)

More thoughts here:
Jun 26, 2015 Rosa rated it it was amazing
this is still one of my personal favourites
Grace Holland
Sep 28, 2014 Grace Holland rated it it was amazing
I love this book! Such an amazing storyline. Such a heart warming story
This book looks like it is cool
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UEL Primary PGCE ...: Book Reviw 5 - The Butterfly Lion 1 3 Aug 13, 2014 05:19AM  
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Michael Morpurgo is the author of many books for children, five of which have been made into films. He also writes his own screenplays and libretti for opera. Born in St Albans, Hertfordshire, in 1943, he was evacuated to Cumberland during the last years of the war, then returned to London, moving later to Essex. After a brief and unsuccessful spell in the army, he took up teaching and started to ...more
More about Michael Morpurgo...

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