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A Lion to Guard Us

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  1,875 ratings  ·  195 reviews
The inspiring classic that The New Yorker called "an exciting tale [with] top-notch writing," about one girl facing harsh conditions and huge responsibility as she brings her family to the American colonies. 

Featuring a heroine with faith, courage, and a great deal of grit, this acclaimed historical fiction novel portrays the realities faced by three children hopin
Paperback, First Harper Trophy Edition, 117 pages
Published October 23rd 2018 by HarperCollins (first published 1981)
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Sonia Fierro 6 or 8 why this is my fave
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Sieonna The mother falls and dies so Amanda has to watch jemmy and meg

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Average rating 3.76  · 
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 ·  1,875 ratings  ·  195 reviews

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Margaret Chind

Originally posted on Creative Madness Mama.One child says three stars, the other says four. "A Lion to Guard Us" is one of many books written by Clyde Robert Bulla that graces our shelves. It is a Reader for the Sonlight Level D and BookShark Level 3 Introduction to American History part one. My oldest started reading it aloud so that my younger could enjoy the story as well. It is far below her reading level and while she wanted to know the story, she wasn't enjoying reading it (perhaps because
Aug 18, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: history-shelf
If we're being technical, it was 2.5. It was a little young, but I leart a little about what it was like to sail to America back then.
Luisa Knight
It's a short book - only 115 pages - but it packs a lot of adventure! I'm still shocked by how much the author was able to squeeze into those pages; so your kids won't be bored. More like on the edge of their seats!

The story is based on the true account of the "Sea Adventure" which sailed from England to Jamestown in the New World. You might recognize another book about the same ship, "The Tempest" by William Shakespeare.

It's a great story, written well with the younger crowd in mind and would
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
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
Lovely. I only ever remember reading one of Bulla's books as a child. I am so happy to have rediscovered him as an adult, thanks to learning more about Lois Lenski and their friendship!

This is a great story for anyone who loves stories of Colonial America, ship travel, good people, the endurance of children, and a few real historical figures thrown in the mix!
Nov 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Bethany Baird
Sep 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.5 rated by 9 and 11 year old.
Reid Harris
Sep 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Marcia Lee
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“When you lose someone, it’s like having to find your way again.” This theme repeats throughout the book. A Lion to Guard Us is the story of three English children living in colonial times who travel from England on the sailing ship Sea Adventure, to reunite with their father. They haven’t seen him in many years, since he was the first to travel to America and settle in Jamestown. Sea Adventure is appropriately named, as the journey takes much longer than planned. Passengers and crew endure sick ...more
Shanna Gonzalez
Nov 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-04-08
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
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
Mary Graham
Dec 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
I read this book to my elementary children. It's a good way for them to understand the realities of daily life in the 1600's and the sacrifices people made to travel to the New World. The main characters are children, and Clyde Robert Bulla is skilled at reaching a child's heart.
Apr 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
Michael Fitzgerald
Sep 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chapter-books
Good basic historical novel. Wish it had better pictures. These are too modern.
Marcus Reeves
Apr 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Found in the clearance section of Half Price Books - it's back cover summary included Jamestown and I had to buy.

Shares some of the challenges of the time - sickness leads to death...
The 3 children protagonists live in England, their father has joined one of the ships to the new world.
The family is waiting to join him. Only mother gets sick and dies. The family she works for transfers her work to the oldest daughter, but that doesn't go well. They are 'adopted' by a doctor and all join the 3rd w
Scott Jordan
Nov 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Title: A Lion to Guard Us
Author: Clyde Robert Bulla
Awards: N/A

A Lion to Guard us tells the story of Amanda Freebold who is suddenly left the head of the family when her mother suddenly passed away. Amanda’s father left to establish himself in the colony of Jamestown three years previously. Amanda now has a dilemma, does she stay in England and try to find a way to provide for her brother and sister or does she take her siblings on a perilous adventure across the ocean in search of their
Nov 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
I like this book because the children get to go all the way to America from London and they find their father. The book made me feel sad at first because her father left and her mother died. At the end of the book I was really happy because they found their father but I was also sad because the book was over.
I want to know more about what happens to the children. I would like to find out if they stay in Jamestown or go back to London.

Age 6

Do you feel like the book helped you understand
Nov 19, 2019 rated it liked it
A 3.5. Written nearly 40 years ago, and set in the 1600s, this story follows a girl trying to get herself and her younger siblings from England to Jamestown in search of their father. I read this aloud to my girls and they were riveted. I mean, the stakes are high--their mother dies! they're all alone! an ocean crossing! storms! Big drama, and a big-sister-but-still-a-kid heroine.

A few illustrations are sprinkled throughout, which are kind of blurry, rough, and creepy. The story would be better
Oct 28, 2017 rated it it was ok
As far as children's stories, this was good to share the struggles a family in England may have had in 1609-1610. It also is good for sharing the struggles that the Sea Adventure ship went through in its travel and also when it reached Jamestown.

My sons actually really liked this story and were engaged with each chapter I read to them. They felt a connection to the characters.

If you want a book to explain the history of Jamestown and the voyages there, this one doesn't really have a lot of tha
Stacy M. Patton
Feb 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-books
I love stories based on real facts from history that show our children what that time period was like to live through. This book is a story about 3 children who’s father had gone to Jamestown, Virginia in the New World to make a better life for them. While in Jamestown, the father was part of this new colony struggling to survive. Meanwhile in England, the children’s mother dies after getting sick and the children are forced to live as salves to a mean grumpy rich woman. The oldest child, Amanda ...more
Jun 01, 2018 rated it it was ok
I think that a lion to gaurd us was not that great because it wasn't from Amanda's perspective and it's a normal thing to happen and her problems are big but her problems don't last that long. They're are multiple problems Amanda faces but they all are like mini problems of her life. The book I feel should have continued because it was getting interesting with her dad sick and the book never explains the woman in the beginning of the book that she was saying that Amanda's sister Meg was her's. I ...more
Rebecca Hill
Oct 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Amanda and her siblings are in London with their sick mother while their father builds a new life for them in America. While they wait for word to join him, things are not going according to plan for the family. Their mother dies after being sick, and the children are left to wonder what is going to happen. When the kind doctor takes them in and helps realize their dream of joining their father, the adventure truly begins.

Hold onto your hats as we sail the ocean blue and the many adventures the
Scott McIlquham
Feb 18, 2018 rated it liked it
I teach Jamestown to 4th graders, and every year I read aloud "Blood on the River" so that the students get a feel for the early days of the colony. This year our 3rd grade teacher read "A Lion to Guard Us" to her class, so they should be champing at the bit for our annual 4th grade 1607 Jamestown reenactment next year. I enjoyed "A Lion to Guard Us" - without overdoing it, the story should help children understand the dire conditions that colonists experienced both in, and sailing to, the early ...more
Aug 15, 2018 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 29, 2019 rated it liked it
I read this out loud to Ellie and we enjoyed it. It's a fictional account but based on an actual sea voyage of three ships from England to Jamestown, VA in the early 1600's. The ships encountered a major storm and one crashed into rocks off the coast of an island. They all survived and built two long boats over 9 months to carry them the rest of the way. The supplies and fresh food they brought from the island helped save the few starving residents of Jamestown who had been at war with the India ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 27, 2020 rated it liked it
Read out loud as part of our Blossom and Root 'River Of Voices' history curriculum. The book is a bit dated, and the way the dialog was written between the characters sometimes made it hard to follow who was talking when, but that was a minor issue.
Overall, the story did keep them engaged the entire time (8yo and 13yo)and they insisted I keep much so that we read the whole thing in one sitting!
Sharon Zink
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
I love Clyde Robert Bulla's books. This book retells the story on which The Tempest, by William Shakespeare, is based. It is about a brave girl who shepherds her younger brother and sister across the Atlantic Ocean towards the New World and Jamestown, only to be shipwrecked on one of the Bermuda Islands.
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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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