Title: A Lion to Guard Us
Author: Clyde Robert Bulla
Major Themes: Bermuda, Colonial America, Jamestown, Sailing, Virginia
Synopsis: After their mother dies in London, three children sail to Jamestown, Virginia, to find their father.
Two of my schoolboys were away for a week, so I decided to deviate slightly from what we had been reading. Normally, we read aloud a chapter or two a day from some six or eight books on a range of topics. The boys who were gone didn’t want to miss out on hearing the books we had in progress, so we put those on hold and I picked out two short books, geared for younger children, that I was planning to read soon anyway. Because we are currently studying Jamestown, A Lion to Guard Us was a perfect fit. As always, I enjoyed Clyde Robert Bulla’s simple language and exciting, yet true-to-life story, and my 6- and 8-year-old loved the story as well.
Eleven-year-old Amanda suddenly finds herself the head of her small family, the only person left to care for her 8-year-old brother and 5-year-old sister after Mother dies. Father has been gone since he sailed to Jamestown, in Virginia, three years ago. What should the children do now? Amanda continues working for Mistress Trippett, but finally decides that she and the others must go to Jamestown to find Father.
The voyage to Jamestown is harder than Amanda expected—and she certainly didn’t count on being marooned in the Bermudas for most of a year! The lion’s head door knocker that Father gave them keeps up their courage, but some of their fellow passengers think it’s gold and try to get it away from the children. Will they ever reach Jamestown, and if they do will they find Father?
You will have a much easier time remembering the account of the first large migration of English settlers to America after reading this simple story. As we were reading a book about Pocahontas a few days after finishing this one, my boys were excited to recall hearing, in A Lion to Guard Us, about John Rolfe, the shipwreck in the Bermudas, and the Starving Time in Jamestown.
Listening Level—Ages 5 – 8
Reading Independently—Ages 7 – 9