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A Lion to Guard Us
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A Lion to Guard Us

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  936 ratings  ·  101 reviews
Amanda Freebold doesn't know what to do. Her father left three years ago for the new colony of Jamestown, in America, thousands of miles away. All Amanda has to remember him by is a little brass lion's head he gave his family to guard them while he is gone. Now her mother has just died, leaving Amanda to take care of her younger brother and sister.

As head of the family, Am
Paperback, First Harper Trophy Edition, 117 pages
Published October 20th 1989 by HarperCollins (first published 1981)
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Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls WilderAnne of Green Gables by L.M. MontgomeryLittle Women by Louisa May AlcottThe Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George SpeareThe Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Best Children's Historical Fiction
147th out of 523 books — 588 voters
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Good Books for Boys Written by Men
32nd out of 173 books — 21 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,580)
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Shanna Gonzalez
Amanda, Jemmy, and Meg live with their mother, who is a servant in a wealthy English house. Having sold their property in order to send Father to the Virginia colony in America, they are waiting for him to send for them. But Mother sickens and dies, and the three children are left in the merciless hands of Mother's employer until they flee from her. Under the protection of a kind doctor, they make their own way to America. Jemmy carries the brass lions-head that Father left in his care, and this ...more
I read this today; it took about 30 minutes. I won't be reading it to the kids. For one, I thought it a little slow and rather boring. I didn't get the sense of danger or excitement that the circumstances should have evoked. Second, it's not a very happy book. I'm sure life was very much like that depicted, but it just wasn't uplifting and even at the end I didn't feel that everything was going to be okay. While this book is historical fiction I didn't learn a whole lot and I think if you're goi ...more
Mary Overton
"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. T
The other John
This one's a fictionalized account of the last voyage of the Sea Adventure in 1609. When en route to the Jamestown colony, it was separated from it's fleet by a storm and ran aground in Bermuda. No lives were lost, but everybody had to spend nine months on the island while they waited for help and eventually built two ships to carry them on to Virginia. The account of the storm and the shipwreck was Shakespeare's inspiration for The Tempest. This story, however, is much shorter. It tells of thre ...more
Ruth Sophia
Great story, disappointing illustrations

This short book is great for introducing young readers to life in the early 1600s for servants in England, the harshness of crossing the Atlantic, and the hardiness of those up to the task. It shows life as it was without sugar coating things -but it does so in a practical manner so that it is not heart wrenching or depressing.

My complaint with this book comes from the illustrations, not the story! Illustrator Michele Chessare looks like she used Picasso
This is a wonderful book about a girl who has to live with her sister and her brother after her father leaves and her mother dies.
"When you lose someone it's like—like having to find your way again."

Ellie, "A Lion to Guard Us", P. 21

As much as I like all of the Clyde Robert Bulla books that I have read, this one is right up there with "The Chalk Box Kid" as my favorite.
Told with the unmistakable sweetness inherent in any tome by the author, "A Lion to Guard Us" also deals with issues that are more complex than those usually found in the author's books. The historical fiction aspect of it also makes things very interest
Linda Lipko
While this YA book is not of the caliber of David Almond or Robert Westall, it was worth the read. It is a simply written fictionalized account of three English children who, because their mother died, went to sea in the hope of locating their father who had previously traveled to the newly settled colony of Jamestown.

While aboard the voyage of the Sea Adventure in 1609, the ship heading for Jamestown was storm tossed and wrecked in Bermuda.

Interestingly, the actual shipwreck was the inspiration
Marcus Reeves
The reason I began to read this is because it has a chapter in it called THE DEVIL DOLL, and that is what my dad calls my sister's doll, but the WHOLE THING is really good. Please read it. It is not that long...
And, the chapters are very short...
So you can ask you mom to read five more chapters before you come to the table for lunch, or, in my case, reading with a reading light in bed. I read it it two days...

YEah, it was good
100% for reading.
Girls can read it too, and they can skip THE DEVIL DO
Sara Lynn
1. Genre: Junior Book/Historical Fiction

2. Summary: Amanda, Jemmy, and Meg have lost their mother and now are in search of their missing father. Follow along with them on their adventure across the Atlantic Ocean to the New World. They must take care of one another and trust only the right people on their journey to Jamestown to find their father.

3. Critique:
a. One of the greatest strengths of this title is characterization.

b. Of these, the most prevalent is Amanda. Not only does Amanda remain c
I read this book aloud to my kids. This is the 7th Bulla book that we have read, and we just love his historical fiction novels! He is a fantastic storyteller!

Although this book is a work of fiction, it is written about a true event: The sailing of the Sea Adventure with eight other ships in 1609 from Plymouth, England to Virginia which was then an English colony in the New World.

Bulla tends to write stories about children who, due to unfortunate circumstances, are put in leadership roles and wh
it was interesting because it was based on a true event. the ship Sea Adventur trying to make it to Virgina from London. I wondered why the Dr had to get killed off. It just added to the depressing nature of the book. But overall it was ok.
A children's story of new pilgrims journey to the new world, this was a quick read. It seemed to be loosely based on real events, but would be a good introduction to some of the challenges facing them back then.
Rebecca Reid
In this middle-elementary reader, a young girl in England struggles to keep her brother and sister together after her mother passes away. Because her father was a part of the advance group that traveled to Jamestown, she determines to get her young family to Jamestown as well. Reading this book together with him helped Raisin internalize what England would have been like, how traveling on a ship may have been, and the ways in which settling in Jamestown was a stark contrast to life in England at ...more
Jack Greuel
Nice historical fiction children's book. A bit on the depressing side for a kid's book though. Nice characters, nice plot, nice tie-in with historical characters/events.
Pretty standard white-people-suffer-while-coming-to-America book. Static characters, light on detail, and nothing for the reader to care about. Meh.
A. Matschull
A lion to guard us is a tale about Amanda Freebold and her brother and sister going to America to find their Dad A good book and definitely worth a read
Beautifully paced history for middle elementary readers. Three children work as drudges in a large household as they wait for their mother to be well enough to travel to Jamestown where their father is. When they finally get underway they end up on the ill-fated Sea Adventurer, which crashed into Bermuda, where the survivors lived before building new boats and continuing on to Virginia. Life in the 1600s was harsh and Bulla doesn't hide it, but the story is succinct and fascinating. Might be a g ...more
Good story to intro coming to America in the 1600s. The illustrations could be much better.
Anna H
This could be my first historical fiction outside of schoolbooks. I loved it.
Nice story, but kind of short...(<--Like my review :D)
Left on their own in 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.

A quick read (117 pages) that young children can understand and appreciate. It is written simply, but with enough excitement (a mean landlady, a kind, but missing doctor, a sea adventure, a shipwreck, a thief, and finally to Jamestown) to keep them interested. A fun read aloud to young children that will give them a small (st
This book was about a few siblings and how they had an adventure to find their father. This historical book was about their father leaving them to another land and their mother died. So they went out in search of theri father. Finally, the happy ending is when they find thei father. All throughout their journey, their father had given them a lion doornock shaped like a lion. They used that as a charm for protection. I would reccommend this book to anyone who likes historical books about adventur ...more
i relly like the part when they found father
Nice, easy reader for elementary kids that depicts how difficult it was for those coming to the New World.
Good historical fiction for young readers to get a feel for the earliest English settlers making their way to (America) fabled Virginia.
really enjoyed reading this with kids
A family of children journey to join their father in Jamestown. Not especially well written but simple enough that it let some readers be part of the class study on immigration with a "chapter book". I did gain much more respect for the book after reading the historical notes in the back of the book relating which parts of the story were based on actual historical events. The more we talked about the book along the way the more interesting it became.
This is an older historic fiction book about sailing from England to Jamestown in the 1600s. Even though people die in the story, and the trip across the Atlantic on the ship would have been dangerous, the author presents it in a way that is accurate but accessible to 3rd/4th graders. This is a great book to share information about this period in history without giving too many details about the poor living conditions and illnesses.
An interesting companion read with Pocahontas and the Strangers (same author) for our history studies. It's a small book, but more interesting and more enjoyable writing than in Pocahontas. Based on actual events, this story makes for a wonderfully accessible way for a child to grasp how different life was in the 17th century. The ending is abrupt and a bit disappointing, but on the whole it was a fun reading experience.
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a lion to guard us 2 15 Dec 11, 2008 05:11AM  
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Born to be a Writer
Almost as far back as he can remember, Clyde Robert Bulla wanted to write. Born on a farm in a small town in Missouri, Mr. Bulla's first school was a one-room country schoolhouse. One day his teacher asked each first grade student what he or she would do with a thousand dollars. Young Clyde answered that he would buy a table. His classmates laughed heartily, and his teacher was
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