Saturday, May 16, 2009

A Lion Called Christian by Anthony Bourke & John Rendall

Title: A Lion Called Christian
Authors: Anthony Bourke and John Rendall
Published: (republished) March 2009 by Broadway

My Rating: 3.5 stars
Nonfiction | Boys
Includes: Very brief violence, complicated vocabulary
(The actual story could be read by kids, but the formal writing and harder vocabulary makes it targeted for older ages.)

First Lines: No zoo is complete without lions. The small zoo at Ilfracombe in Devon on the south coast of England was no exception, and the lion and lioness were a particularly handsome pair.

Anthony "Ace" Bourke and John Rendall, two friends visiting London, decide to purchase their very own lion cub at Harrods in 1969, and name him Christian. He lives in their basement below their friend's furniture store. Christian soon becomes popular in town, attracting new customers by sitting in the store window, being published in the newspaper, and interviewed by a radio host. But, the playful cub is growing up fast, and soon is too big for the store. Ace and John, after long discussion, decide to send Christian to live in the wild in Kenya. After reuniting with the grown lion a year later, Ace and John receive an affectionate, loving welcome back.

From Page 21
After months in a cage, Christian's world must have suddenly assumed the most enormous proportions. Frightened and confused in the car, he scrambled all over us, and we had to stop frequently, having no idea how we could begin to control him. We tried to placate him with a huge teddy bear that we had bought him as a welcoming present, but his total lack of interest in it left us helpless.

This fascinating true story was such a remarkable journey of a lion and his two owners. The story starts out very strong and interesting, and there are parts in each chapter that made me smile or even laugh out loud. However, around the middle of the book I found myself daydreaming a lot, thinking about other things and not about what I was reading.

By the end, though, the story caught my attention again, and ended in a great tone. I really enjoyed the photographs of Christian, included throughout the book, letting me visualize the story in my head easier.

There is also a video on YouTube from Ace and John's touching reunion with their lion. Since this was a nonfiction book, I was surprised that I liked it so much. I have already recommended it to a friend, and would maybe read it again.

Book Supplied by: My Library.


  1. Hi. I love your blog!!!! Come by mine sometime!!!

  2. Great review! I really enjoyed this book after falling in love with the YouTube clip and Christians story. Ace and John have their own website now (see above) which has the latest updates on christian and their story.

  3. Oh really? I didn't know they still update about Christian!


Thanks, I love what you have to say!