A huge thanks to Luke who helped me get to the end of 'The Butterfly Lion' this afternoon. I got to the very last page and the tears overcame me and I couldn't finish it. As I said, it gets me every time.
Some people said they did not get the story as we were leaving and I did not have a chance to explain...
The author Michael Morpurgo wrote this as an introduction to the book (preface):
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 a sighting from a train of a white horse carved out on a chalky hillside near Westbury in Wiltshire.
The small boy in the story is HIM (Michael Morpurgo). He did try to run away from his boarding school, that bit is true. There was a pride (family group) of white lions which Chris McBride wrote about. There is a woman called Virginia McKenna who is an actress and who was really a huge supporter of lions (Google Her!) He used SOME true things and then intermingled it with fiction parts to make it into a great story.
Was Michael really met by the ghost widow of Albert Andrews, who took him into her old house, gave him tea and scones and told him about Bertie, the white lion and her life as they grew up? And she did all this even though she had died over ten years before? That's the magic of great storytelling...
Somehow or other Michael knew that she wanted him to keep the chalk lion clean and clear, so that he (and Bertie) was never forgotten.
Hope that helps you to appreciate it a bit more.
By the way, at the end of the day one of you walked off with the book. Can you please bring it back on Saturday as I need to return it to the library. you can fight over it on your library day.
Have a wonderful weekend.
Mrs. Ward XXX