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The Butterfly Lion

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  9,590 ratings  ·  603 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 1996)
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Average rating 4.09  · 
Rating details
 ·  9,590 ratings  ·  603 reviews

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Oct 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
After the success of War Horse my local theatre had an upcoming production of this Morpurgo classic.
Debating to get tickets for the show, I opted to read the book first.

Having run away from boarding school, young Michael meets an old lady who tells about a boy he’s age called Bertie who adopts a Lion in South Africa.
Like War Horse some of the story features The First World War.

What a wonderful tale!
I can see why they opted to also tell this story on stage, it has all the hallmarks of a great st
Jul 30, 2009 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
Sophie Crane
Apr 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: animals
A beautiful story of a young boy’s experience when he runs away from a school he hates. Vivid story-telling transports you to Africa and back. An extremely moving tale of help comes to you from mysterious sources when you need it.
Made me smile and cry!
Maeve Harrison
Dec 02, 2012 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!!)
Denisa Arsene
Dec 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
A very short, but almost magical story. A bit sad... Reading it you are under the impression of being in a magical land.
I fell in love with the little white lion. And I was sad to discover the thread of the story. But, in the end, this is how life is: every being is born, leavs and dies. The cycle of life...
I recommend this short novel from the bottom of my heart.
Melissa Delport
Oh my word, what a gorgeous, beautiful, breathtaking story. Finished reading this to Cullen and I had to swallow a lump in my throat so I wouldn't burst into tears (good tears, not bad tears). He wouldn't have understood... :)

My only question (his question, actually)... how did Millie drive him back to school then? (any answers appreciated ;) )
Nicola Edwards
Oct 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobooks
Novels – Extended diary entry

The Butterfly Lion
"All my life I'll think of 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 the butterfly lion ensures that their friendship will never be forgotten.
This is such a beautiful story. There is such a poetic struc
Aug 22, 2013 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
Sep 28, 2015 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
Apr 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I real page turner, no cheap tricks just quality writing, found between the pages of this book is sanctuary to absorb ones-self into and feel a warm, happy glow exude from its pages. Michael Morpurgo arranges his words in a way that really flow, yet he doesn't avoid more (appropriately) complex vocabulary making it ideal for children of moderate ability from age 7/8 up to adults of 78 years and older! I found it particularly popular with the boys, given it's themes of boarding school; wild outba ...more
Sep 01, 2015 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 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 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
Feb 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
It is for children so therefore it is written in a very basic style...but the depth of story for such a short piece, 125 pages...was fantastic. Of course it was also a little far-fetched...but the story was simply delightful. reminded me of the book my children had about a little elephant that they read over and over. The one thing that bothered me was HOW the little cub came to be with the boy...but at least they didn't go out and capture it and they did show some responsibility. Once I got by ...more
John Naylor
Feb 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Michael Morpurgo is possibly the greatest writer for children of a generation or two. His words nearly always hit home in my emotional centre and he is truly a brilliant writer on any subject he puts his mind to.

This short novel is no exception. It employs an unusual structure of being told but this doesn't distract from the power of the words. I recommend anything that Morpurgo writes to anyone of any age. I haven't read anything of his that is less than exceptional yet. This gets 4 stars as I
Jul 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Gosh! What a lovely little story
Tanisha Giles
Jan 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Really good. I wanted to keep reading which is a first. The ending tho!! What!
Nov 05, 2012 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.
Jun 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Gail Wylde
Feb 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a lovely story. I just wish Michael Morpurgo had been writing books when I was a child, I would have read them all. Well it’s never too late to start.
Aug 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
A beautiful story about a boy named Berty and his friendship with a Lion. Berty is a young boy who stays with his parents, somewhere close to the jungles, precisely near a waterhole where he grows up seeing animals gather for their daily drink. With a busy father and an ailing mother, Berty hardly has much company and spends most of his time watching the animals and observing their behavior. One day, Berty spots a white lion cub with its mother and is thrilled at this discovery but soon after, t ...more
Aug 14, 2012 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
Jun 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've had this book on my TBR shelf for a few months now. I bought it to complete the Popsugar 2017 challenge but after looking at it several times as I was browsing my bookshelf I was reluctant to read it. I'd briefly flicked through it after buying and noticed that a) it was very thin - around 125 pages and b) the writing was quite large. After looking through the blurb I noticed that this was a children's book. And my heart sank. It wasn't going to fulfil me, I thought; it won't be my type of ...more
LB Taylor
Aug 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
One of my favourite books of ALL time!!!!
I love this book. ♡♡♡
it's moving and full of compassion.
It is about a boy who lives in Africa and rescues a starving lion cub. They become friends forever and even long distance can't separate their friendship.

I read this book first with my nana and I loved it! Since then I have read lots of his books including Kaspar the prince of cats, King of the cloud forests and many more!!!
Jan 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a very heartwarming story, if you would like to read a story with love and lots of courage then this is a book for you. I personally loved this book, the book had few pages and the font was a bit bigger than the usual font ost books come in. The book was a bit short but it had an amazing story. The story was about a boy and his white lion, someday they get separated but that isn't stopping the boy from trying everything to reunite again with his friend. ...more
Lauren Crofts
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent story. I could not put the book down.

"Mustn't run off, you know. You've got to stick it out, see things through, do what's got to be done, no matter what. "

"What you don't know, you don't grieve over"
Mar 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This used to be my favourite book EVER as a child!!
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Sir Michael Andrew Morpurgo, OBE, FRSL 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 Second World War, then returned to London, moving later to Essex. After a brief and unsuccessful spell in the army, ...more

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