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The Butterfly Lion [Paperback]

Michael Morpurgo , Christian Birmingham
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (166 customer reviews)
RRP: 5.99
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Book Description


A lyrical and moving tale of a young boy growing up in Africa, and his lifelong friendship with a white lion.

“All my life I’ll think you 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 it is the butterfly lion which ensures that their friendship will never be forgotten.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollinsChildren'sBooks; Special "Ottakar's" Edition edition (1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006751032
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006751038
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (166 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 848 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Multi-award winning author, Michael Morpurgo, is one of Britain's best-loved writers for children and has won many prizes, including the Smarties Prize, The Writers Guild Award and the Blue Peter Book Award for his recent novel, Private Peaceful, which has also had two successful runs as a play devised by Bristol Old Vic. From 2003 to 2005 he was the Children's Laureate, a role which took him all over the UK to promote literacy and reading, and in 2005 he was named the Booksellers Association Author of the Year.

Product Description


“The Butterfly Lion is unique among animals and books, and will touch all hearts – both young and old.” – Virginia McKenna, Born Free Foundation

“The Butterfly Lion tells of loneliness and love in a way that is wholly appropriate for young readers.” – Julia Eccleshare, chair of the adult judging panel, Smarties Prize 1996

“A magical, mysterious story with the power to draw readers back again and again.” – Jenny Morris, adult judging panel, Smarties Prize 1996

“This beautiful story of love and war has everything – even a great twist.” – Young Telegraph

“This sensitive, highly visual story deserves to be recognised as a masterpiece.” – Junior Education

“The most beautifully crafted story I’ve read for a long time.” – Wendy Cooling

“Morpurgo writes with a fine mixture of clarity, depth and feeling.” – Sunday Times

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From the Author

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 a lift with Virginia McKenna, actress and champion of lions and all creatures born free; a true story of a soldier of the First World War who rescued some circus animals in France from certain death; and the sighting from a train of a white horse carved out on a chalky hillside near Westbury in Wiltshire.

To Chris McBride, Virigina McKenna and Gina Pollinger - many many thanks. And to you the reader - enjoy it! Michael Morpurgo (FEB 1996)

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
107 of 109 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my Favourite books!!! 4 Nov 2006
I liked the book because when I read a chapter I always want to read more to get to the exciting bit.The best part of the book was when Bertie meets the white lion because I know how it feels when you haven't seen a friend for several years.

This is one of the best books I have ever read and I can't wait to read other Michael Morpurgo books.

I would recommend this book to anyone from age 7 onwards.
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112 of 115 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
I have just read The Butterfly Lion to my Literacy group in Year 4.
They gasped and sniffed in all the right places. One boy said he thought the story was over in the middle section and had wondered that night how the story could move through the remaining pages.
They sat in silence to hear the story everyday. I would certainly recommend it to other teachers as it can be enjoyed by children of all abilities. Adults will also enjoy the themes and the story itself.
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53 of 54 people found the following review helpful
Michael Morpurgo, my favourite author, wrote this touching book full of both tears of joy and of sorrow. It is full of laughter, grief and a few escapes from boring boarding school. Another good quality of this book is that it is like Michael Morpurgo is recounting this event but I don't think this actually happened, (but I wish it had).
This book is definitely one of my favourite books, one down from my all time favourite, (which most probably will never be replaced), `Little Foxes'. It will enchant anyone, adult or child, who pick it up; they will be unable to put it down until the very end of this book, it certainly happened with me! I would rate it, as you can probably guess, 10/ 10 because Morpurgo you have once again fascinated me with one of your unique and clever tales.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful twist at the end. 26 Mar 2000
By A Customer
I read this book to myself and couldn't put it down. You are drawn into the story being told and although you may predict what is going to happen there is always a surprise awaiting you. It is able to capture both adult and children's imaginations and leaves you in a sense of wonder. My own nine year old twins just wouldn't let me stop reading and each night the next installment was greeted with great enthusiasm. It will make you cry, laugh and think.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ABSOLUTLY BRILL, GRIPPING AND GREAT! 14 Dec 2005
By A Customer
when i picked up this book i didn't have a clue who michael morpurgo was but when i read this book it told me that he is a fantastic author! The story of which brilliant and exciting,every little bit left you wanting to read more. Becasue i could not put the book down i finshed it in one day and read till half past 11 at night!It was absolulty brilliant and i hope you would enjoy it as much as i did!
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful book for adults and children 23 Feb 2001
By A Customer
As with many great childrens books, this novel has an equal appeal for young and old alike. Its scope is wide and it reminds me in many ways of Sebastian Faulks 'Birdsong'. An unhappy schoolboy runs away and encounters an old lady who tells him her remarkable life story. Her husband, brought up in Africa, came to England at the same time as his pet white lion was sent to a circus in France. Always hoping to find the lion he eventually comes across him again after he is wounded fighting in the first world war trenches. With themes of relationships and love, any reader can identify with these wonderful characters. Very highly recommended.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars magical 15 Feb 2007
This is a wonderful book. I bought it for my ten year old cousin and then, thinking that maybe it would be a bit dull and I should have chosen something else, got it out the library to read it for myself. Having become hooked and finishing the book the same night I started it, I know now it was a excellent choice.


There is so much in this book. It is beautifully written and contains a satisfying twist which I certainly never saw coming. Sometimes the ending of a book leaves you feeling let down or sad because you wish that you were still reading it but this book left me on a high thinking "Wow, this book is seriously good..."
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fall in love with the Butterfly Lion. 29 Sep 2011
By Puzzle crazy TOP 1000 REVIEWER
The book is 128 pages long, and the print is relatively large, so it took me less than an hour to read the whole book. The short chapters make it easy for children to tackle by themselves in smaller chunks, although they will be keen to find out what happens next in the story and older ones will likely finish it all in one sitting. The book also contains some hauntingly beautiful illustrations, which seem to really capture the emotions and spirit of the story being told, enhancing it further and really making it come alive.

The story itself is cleverly told in a "story within a story" style. At the beginning of our tale, the author tells us about when he was a young boy, running away from school after a particularly unpleasant experience with a school bully. Seeking a place to hide, he turns into a garden of a large house, only to be spotted by an elderly woman and her dog. After the initial feelings of apprehension, the boy relaxes as the sweet, lonely old lady invites him inside for some scones and tea. I absolutely love the way that the author uses descriptive writing to draw the reader into the story, perfectly recreating the sights and smells in each scene. As the boy sits with the old lady he glances out of the window and believes that he can make out the shape of a lion on the hillside. The lady explains to the boy that he is not imagining things. The lion is real - the butterfly lion, and was part of a story that goes back to when her late husband was a young boy in Africa.

The old lady then takes over the role of storyteller, as we learn about her husband young Bertie, who finds an orphaned white lion cub and together with his mother, takes care of it and nurses it to health.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVELY BOOK my children loved it, we got all of Michael Morpurgo books...
LOVELY BOOK my children loved it, we got all of Michael Morpurgo books now. You or your children can sit and read for hours.
Published 3 days ago by miss tk pike
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Easy reading
Published 9 days ago by Erin
5.0 out of 5 stars everyone would love it.
lovely story well written. not just for kids. everyone would love it.
Published 13 days ago by E
5.0 out of 5 stars I remembered why I liked it so much
Charming Morpurgo story. I bought it for my children but when I re-read it, I remembered why I liked it so much. Touching and heart-warming ending.
Published 14 days ago by Debbie B.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
All good. There really is nothing to add.
Published 14 days ago by Mrs Anita L Couchman
5.0 out of 5 stars AMAZING!!!
I have always loved books by micheal morpurgo and this is my favourite so far!!!! Brilliant! Micheal morpurgo is my favourite author by far!
Published 14 days ago by Good
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Great book- quite short and quick to read.
Published 17 days ago by Mrs L Hassack
5.0 out of 5 stars I like Michael Morporgo's book because all of lovely and interesting
I like Michael Morporgo's book because all of lovely and interesting. I couldn't stop reading. Amazing. I can recommend everyone.
Published 18 days ago by Alexandra Drahos
5.0 out of 5 stars First class story
A beautiful story not just for children but great for adults too.
Published 1 month ago by Mrs P
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book for children!
Published 1 month ago by JAE IN KIM
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