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 hoping to find a new home in an unknown land.
Amanda Freebold doesn't know what to do. Her father left three years ago for the new colony of Jamestown in America, thousands of miles away. But now that her mother has died, Amanda is left to take care of her younger brother and sister all alone back in England.
As the new head of the family, Amanda finally decides to take her brother and sister to America to find Father. The ocean crossing is long and hard, and the children don't know whom to trust. But with her father's little brass lion's head to guard them, Amanda knows that somehow everything will work out.
About the Author
Clyde Robert Bulla is the author of over fifty books for children including The Secret Valley and The Story of Valentine’s Day. He has been writing since 1946 when he published his first book, The Donkey Cart. Mr. Bulla was the first recipient of the Southern California Council on Children’s Literature award for distinguished contribution to the field. He lives in Los Angeles, California.
Read an Excerpt
The Sailor Man
On a February morning in the year 1609, a small, thin-faced man made his way over London Bridge. He wore a leather jacket and a blue wool stocking cap. His clothes were splashed with mud, and mud sucked at his shoes. He could hardly see for the cold rain in his face.
He had been looking for Fish Street, and here it was, at the end of London Bridge. Now he was looking for a house on Fish Street -- a great stone house not far from the bridge.
Here was one with tall chimneys and many windows. It must be the house, he thought. He went around to the back.
A plump, pretty maid opened the door.
"Would this be the Trippett house?" he asked.
She looked at his muddy clothes. "What do you want?"
"A word with Mistress Freebold, if she's about."
"Mistress Freebold? Oh, you mean Annie. You can't see her," said the maid. "She's sick abed."
"Could you just let her know there's someone here from America -- ?
"America?" The maid stared into his face. "Then you must be -- " She was gone. He heard her crying out, "Amanda, Amanda!"
Someone came running. Someone cried, "Father! " and a girl was there. She looked no more than ten or eleven -- a pale little thing with great, dark eyes.
She stopped. She said in bitter disappointment, "You're not my father."
"I shouldn't think so," said the man.
"Ellie said you were from America, and she thought -- I thought -- "
"So you're James Freebold's girl," he said.
"One of them. I'm Amanda." She asked quickly, "Do you know my father?"
"I do, and I saw him not many weeks ago. We were togetherin America, in the colony of Virginia. I'm a sailor, you see, and my ship was there -- "
"And you saw him." Her eyes were bright again. "Was he well? What did he say?"
"He was well enough, for all I could see. He'd built a house in Jamestown. That's the only town there. When my ship sailed, he asked if I'd stop for a word with his family in London. He thinks of you each day. He prays you will all be together before another year is out."
Tears came to her eyes. "When you see him, will you tell him -- ?"
"I'll not be seeing him again," the man broke in. "It's a long, hard voyage to Virginia. I'll not be going back."
"Oh," she said.
Someone was calling, "Amanda!"
"You're wanted," he said. "I'll take my leave."
"But you'll come again?"
He shook his head. "I've told my tale. Good-day to you."
He left her. He was gone, and she didn't know his name or where to find him again, and there were a hundred things she hadn't asked. She hadn't even said thank you.
She took a step after him, but Cook's voice called her back. "A-man-da!"
She closed the door. She went down the long, cold hall and into the kitchen.
Cook was at the table, beating eggs. Her face was red. Her cap was over one eye.
"Who gave you leave to stand in the door and talk all day?" she said. "Who was that man?"
Ellie the maid came out of the pantry. "Oh, Amanda, was it your father?"
The door to the back stairs opened. A small boy put his head out. "Was it Father?" he asked.
"Jemmy!" cried Amanda. "You know you're not to come in here. No, it wasn't Father."
His head disappeared, and the door closed.
Amanda told Cook and Ellie, "It was a sailor man back from Virginia. He saw my father there. He talked to him. Father is well-and he's built a houseand he thinks of us -- "
Cook gave a snort. "He does, does he? He thinks of you so much that he sails off and leaves you for three whole years."
"Oh, that's cruel!" said Ellie.
"Hold your tongue, miss," said Cook, "and Amanda, you get back to your work."
She went off into the pantry.
As soon as Cook was gone, Amanda opened the door to the back stairs. The small boy was sitting on the steps. A smaller girl sat beside him.
"It wasn't Father. It was a sailor man," Amanda said. "But he saw Father. just think of that. I'll tell you about it tonight."
"Will it be a story?" asked the boy.
"It will be like a story," said Amanda, and she shut the door.A Lion to Guard Us. Copyright © by Clyde Bulla. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
My favorite book is called A Lion to Guard Us by Clyde Robert Bulla. A Lion to Guard us is adventurous because a 13 year old girl named Amanda has to take care of her younger brother, Jemmy and younger sister Meg to sail to America. This book is for people who like adventure and excitement. A lion to guard us teaches you a lesson to be brave and face your fears. I would recommend this book to someone anyone who likes history and adventure!
This book was an exciting and adventurous story. It gave you a lot of information about history. It was a book of mystery and suspense. I wanted to know what would happen next to the kids. It teaches you a lesson that you should never give-up. I would recommend this book. It's a book for everyone to read. I think you'll like it too!
This one's a fictionalized account of the last voyage of the Sea Adventure in 1609. When enroute 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 three children, whose father has gone off to Jamestown to build a new home for the family. Unfortunately, their mother gets ill and dies and the three children face the challenge of either settling down to a life of servitude and poverty or making an ambitious journey across the ocean. It's a simplistic tale, being written for children and all, but an enjoyable one as well. Check it out.--J.
Historical fiction based on three young children crossing to Jamestown. Written in language easy for young reader to understand. Story did not go into enough depth in order for reader to become really engaged in the story.
This book was an interesting story following a girl and her two siblings on their journey to America. Their father left them to go build houses in America to make more money; the mother falls sick and passes away while in London. The children then decide to go on the journey to America to find their father. On the way they go through difficulties that they have to overcome.
While this YA book is not of the caliber of David Almond or Robert Westall, it was worth the read. It is a simply written fictionalized account of three English children who, because their mother died, went to sea in the hope of locating their father who had previously traveled to the newly settled colony of Jamestown.While aboard the voyage of the Sea Adventure in 1609, the ship heading for Jamestown was storm tossed and wrecked in Bermuda.Interestingly, the actual shipwreck was the inspiration for Shakespeare's final play The Tempest. Miraculously all members of the Sea Adventure were saved, spent nine months on Bermuda, built two ships and then sailed to Jamestown.When arriving in Jamestown, they found that only a small band of people survived the harsh conditions of rugged Virginia.With only a small trinket to guide them -- a door knocker in the shape of a lion previously given to them by their father -- the children clung to the hope of finding him and a new life of promise.
What a cute story! For me it was a very quick read since it's only a little more than 100 pages. Great for boys and girls especially in the 7-10 age range. This book tells the story of 3 siblings (Amanda, Jemmy, and Meg). They are servants in a rich household in London, England. These children want so badly to travel to Jamestown in America to meet their father again; they haven't seen him for 3 years. They still remember him from the brass door-knocker he passed down to them before he left; it was in the shape of a lion's head and he said it would guard them until they could be together as a family again. Many troubles are encountered though. These poor children don't know how they could ever make it across the ocean.
Action packed, so epic I wish it was a movie!!!!
Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeesttttttttttttt biok eeeeeeeeeeeeever!!!!!!!!!!;) love myself
Great book to read for ALL ages.
A great bookworm and lion lover, I was a bit disappointed when I read this book. The plot was a little weak, and the ending seemed very forced. I chose this for a book club book a few years ago when I was in fifth grade (I think), and we all agreed that it seemed as though the author had a page limit and was being as concise and compact as possible, especially at the ending.
This is a half decent book. If you like action and adventure this is the book for you. This is a very short but good book that is very easy to understand.