From School Library Journal
Grade 4-8–This second book in the trilogy finds Charlie Ashanti right where readers left him: on a train with escaped circus lions in the King of Bulgaria's bathroom. But although the previous book ended with Charlie and the lions abruptly finding safety and warmth, "without a doubt, there were going to be troubles ahead." That is an understatement. Charlie and the lions manage to travel from the Alpine mountains to Paris and then on to Venice, eventually ending in Morocco with the promise of forthcoming adventures. Along the way they are pursued, captured, held prisoner, escape, stow away on a boat, and experience a host of other trials, all the while uncovering bits and pieces of the nefarious plot put into action by big drug companies and corrupt governments. Luckily the suspense and hairpin turns not only keep the story moving forward, but they also keep the messages from becoming too didactic. The supporting cast is enormous, and readers may find themselves wishing for fewer characters with more depth as their motives and actions are often too vague and capricious to follow. Still, in the end, there are plenty of questions left unanswered, and fans of the young Lionboy will leave this installment looking forward to the third book.–Genevieve Gallagher, Murray Elementary School, Charlottesville, VA
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Gr. 4-8. Charlie the Catspeaker again receives assistance from felines large and small in the second book in the Lionboy trilogy, written under a pseudonym by Louisa Young and her 10-year-old daughter, Isabel. The action resumes with Charlie en route to Venice to rescue his kidnapped parents, accompanied by a pride of liberated circus lions and the friendly King of Bulgaria. It turns out, though, that Charlie's parents are not in Venice but Vence,
in France, where they are being brainwashed by the insidious Corporacy. Meanwhile, Charlie and his four-legged companions become ensnared in a plot to stage a manifestation of the legendary Lion of San Marco. Lingering questions are satisfactorily resolved by book's end (What are the Allergenies? Why is the Corporacy so interested in the Ashanti family?), although the effusive, travelogue-like descriptive passages may challenge some readers' attention spans. Those who persist, though, will be rewarded with a bang-up conclusion that harbors none of the vagueness typically found in "bridge books"--novels that simply postpone an overlong plot's finale. Jennifer MattsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved