A Lion to Guard Us
This historical fiction novel by Clyde Robert Bulla is published by HarperTrophy, a division of HarperCollins Publishers, and is written for kids ages 8 to 12. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.
Crude or Profane Language
Drug and Alcohol Content
Other Negative Elements
In 1609, Amanda Freebold, a preteen, and her younger siblings, Jemmy and Meg, live with their ailing mother in the London home of Mistress Trippett. Their father left three years earlier to build a home for them in Virginia, but Mother’s sickness has made it impossible for them to join him. Mistress Trippett has taken what little money the family had.
A stranger comes to the door. He tells Amanda he met her father in Jamestown and that Father longs for them all to be together. When Mother dies, Amanda wonders how she’ll ever get herself, Jemmy and Meg to Jamestown. She asks Mistress Trippett for her mother’s money, but the woman becomes livid and faints as she kicks them out of her house. The children wander in the frightening London darkness before the local physician, Dr. Crider, finds them and takes them to his home.
Dr. Crider books passage for himself and the children, and they sail to Jamestown. The doctor is excited about the new adventure. He loves the sea and often stays on deck even in bad weather to let the water splash on his face. No one can find him one night, and the crew eventually determines he’s fallen overboard.
After several days of tossing back and forth in stormy weather, the ship hits rocks and begins to break apart. Passengers evacuate onto the island of Bermuda, where they build a village and some small boats. They send scouts on the boats, hoping the men can reach Virginia and send help for everyone else. Months pass with no word from anyone.
Amanda, Jemmy and Meg carry with them a doorknocker in the shape of a lion’s head. Father gave it to them before he left. Aboard ship, Jemmy lies and tells someone it was made of gold. In Bermuda, a passenger steals it. Jemmy later steals it back. The stranded passengers build several larger boats, and all but a few set sail for Virginia. They learn many people have starved to death in Jamestown. Amanda and her siblings finally arrive to find their father weak and malnourished but alive.
Some passengers are nervous about being on the island of Bermuda because they’ve heard there are devils there. When Jemmy accuses Amanda of taking the lion’s head doorknocker, she tells him she will never steal or lie because she means to go to heaven.
Other Belief Systems
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Readability Age Range
8 to 12
Clyde Robert Bulla
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.