Common Sense Media says

Brilliant premise -- so-so execution.





What parents need to know


Charlie's parents are kidnapped, bound, and gagged. The lions attack and injure Rafi. The threat of violence hangs over Charlie's escape.

Not applicable
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Drinking, drugs, & smoking

A drunken police officer. Charlie sneaks the tranquilizers meant for the captive lions into the liontamer's food and drink.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this book hints at issues including corrupt drug companies and governments, animal treatment and captivity, and the environment. There also is a very positive portrayal of several interracial families.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

In a slightly future world where pollution and asthma are rampant and cars are banned, Charlie's scientist parents are kidnapped. Pursued by their thuggish kidnapper, Rafi, and unwittingly carrying the formula for which they were taken, Charlie sets out to rescue them. Though his chances seem remote, he has one thing working in his favor: he can talk with cats, and cats all over the world, who know more about his parents than he does, are motivated to help him out.

He hooks up with a floating circus headed to France, where the cats say his parents have been taken, and meets a family of lions longing for escape. While working as the liontamer's helper he plots a way to arrange the lions' return to Africa while following his parents, who are now headed to Venice. But Rafi is closing in.

Is it any good?


It's a brilliant premise: a boy who can talk to cats (and lions!), a floating circus and later the Orient Express for settings, a child out to rescue both lions and his parents, a touch of fantasy, and an adventure spanning the width of Europe. This should have worked. And it does start to work -- about three-quarters of the way through.

The whole thing has the pacing of a fly in honey -- lots of buzzing, but not getting much of anywhere. It might have worked if Charlie had some personality or voice or humor, but he's pretty much a cipher -- Our Hero Who Speaks to Cats. Those children who make it to the end will be rewarded by a very exciting last section and a cliffhanger ending, and will want the sequel immediately. But many kids won't get that far.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the future imagined in this series. How is it similar to and different from the world today? Do you think it's a pessimistic or optimistic view of the future? Does it seem plausible, given the situation of the world today?

Book details

Author:Zizou Corder
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Dial Books
Publication date:February 6, 2005
Number of pages:273

This review of Lionboy was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 12 years old June 10, 2010

this book i think is for anyone who just needs to read a good book or hear a bedtime story

i think this book is very intresting. These authors know how to tell a great story. I know i couldn't wait to get my hands on the sequel to this book lionboy-the chase! These two girls know how to mix adventure, action, mystery, and plain old fun in one. This is a great book for any age...from bedtime story to going out on the porch and reading to yourself in a rocking chair. I give this book two thumbs up. They can keep you on the edge of your seat or just give you a good laugh when you need it.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 12 years old April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
Teen, 14 years old Written bykatie17 April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

A great cliffhanger!!

LIONBOY was a great book. It's the forth book I've read, in a row, for fun. I've always disliked reading up until about a month ago and if it's difficult for you to enjoy reading you'll enjoy this book! I couldn't get enough of it!


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