This is the remarkable true story of Australian friends Ace and John, who after arriving in London, took advantage of the fact that in 1969 you truly could buy absolutely anything at the iconic Harrods department store ... a lion cub!
Years later, their reunion with Christian and one year after Christian the lion had been released in to the wild in Africa, became a youtube sensation 30 years after the actual event, attracting millions of hits ...
Harrods were keen to sell their lion cub - apparently he had been causing havoc in the carpet department after the store was closed for the night?! After much discussion Ace and John moved Christian the lion, in to their basement London apartment. A church garden, surrounded by a high brick wall, soon became the place they took their ever growing cub for his much needed exercise!
At every step Ace and John are keen to provide Christian their lion with everything he could need to grow and thrive ... and so before long they start to look further afield for how to provide Christian with the best possible life. The opportunity arises when the actors from the film Born Free, arrive at Ace and John's shop.
" 'You're going to be free, Christian! Free!' Ace cried."
The chapter book follows Ace and John as they make contact with George Adamson in Kenya, who works to help lions born in to captivity to live a freer more natural life in the wild. Follow the journey at Christian travels to Kenya and is gradually introduced to other lions in his natural habitat as George works towards establishing a pride of lions which can survive, alone, in the wilds of Kenya.
This gripping story has been written with a younger audience in mind, (the adult book it is based on is here), this is an amazing journey that had my daughter hooked from the very beginning - she devoured it in days!
The re telling of some true stories can frequently be a bit 'dry', but this is written well. Great descriptions, and an engaging pace hold the readers attention together with a great collection of photographs emphasising the reality of this story. It really pulls together the environmental message of respecting wild animals.
One year after Christian has been re integrated in to life in Kenya, Ace and John return - full of questions as to what will happen. A film crew is there to capture it all, he recognises their smells, their voices ...
"Christian bounded over to the men in delight, throwing himself at Ace"
... watch the amazing reunion in the clip below!!!
You can discover more about this story at the official website - my daughter certainly wanted to know more, and it soon became a big project for the next week's show and tell! This chapter book is a great way in to non-fiction.