Lionboy Trilogy

Corder, Zizou. Lionboy. 2003. 275p. Puffin Books.

Ages: 9-12, would make a terrific bedtime or classroom reloud


Charlie Ashanti is living a happy life in the near future. One thing makes Charlie’s parents different from others: they’re scientists.  That’s what gets them kidnapped.  One thing makes Charlie different from others: he can speak to cats.  Charlie hopes that’s what will help him save his parents.


Lion Boy is an adventurous tale told in Europe in the near future.  Oil is almost all used up, the air’s polluted, and lots of kids have asthma.  This is one of those kid books that has enough meat and interest for both adults and kids.  The plot is exciting; the descriptions make Charlie’s adventure on the circus boat come alive.

Corder, Zizou. Lionboy: The Chase. 2004. 262p. Puffin Books.

Corder, Zizou. Lionboy: The Truth. 2005. 230p. Puffin Books.

The next two books are equally exciting.  The last book gets a little preachy but there’s enough adventure and fun that it’s still well worth reading.

Brush Up on Your French

I love the Internet, reason 572: Ma France. The BBC has free online foreign language materials for seven different languages: French, Spanish, German, Italian, Mandarin Chinese, Portuguese, and Greek.  The best of their programs is Ma France.


Ma France is designed for people who studied a year or two of French before and want to brush up and learn more.  There are 24 units.  Each unit focuses on a topic on daily living in France.   There are three short videos, comprehension quizzes on the videos, a vocabulary list, a grammar section, and half a dozen other activities to help you learn the unit material.  It’s a fun way to practice French, for free, right online.  

The video topics range from using directions to find a hotel, buying a house, shopping at the grocery, and even going speed dating.  You have a choice of using French and or English subtitles while you watch the video. (You need to have a high-speed connection to see the videos.  Transcripts and low-speed activities are available for dial-up connections.)


This is a great program for improving French.  The videos are interesting and short.  The unit activities are carefully crafted to help you learn the new material.  Did I mention it’s right online and free?  Wow!  I love the BBC.

Contents Under Pressure

***Zeises, Lara M. Contents Under Pressure. 2004. 244p. Delacort Press.

Ages: Around 12 to adult

     9th grade in high school is a whole new world for Lucy. Her middle school group has split up: both Kims are dating, Tabitha’s become an “alterna chick” and now it’s just Lucy and Alison, unless Allison starts dating too. Lucy would really like to talk to her favorite brother Jack about everything but he just came home from college with a new live-in girlfriend. To add to the confusion, Tobin, a sophomore seems to like Lucy. 

     This book was like reading my own teen movie. There’s nothing much new to the plot but each and every scene pops with rich details that made me feel like I was right there. The moment I’d start reading, it was like I was curled up on my couch eating popcorn and watching Lucy navigate high school. Enjoyable pleasure.

Parental Notification: There’s a make out scene and a young teen discussing a sexual experience. There’s also a really nice scene where two teens discuss boundaries and limits for making out.

October 2006 InBrief

Quote of the Month:

 “You’re a very nice person when you’re not being stupid and annoying.”  

-Some very nice teen I live with when he’s not…


Outings: SCBWI DC conference


Books Finished:

***      Lion Boy: The Chase, by Zizou Corder

****   German Boy, by Wolfgang W.E. Samuel


Fanfic Read:

****    Neptune Navigator Online– Just the fix I need on Mondays

****    Holding the Curve – (reread parts) one of the best Logan-Veronica fanfics to feed romantic cravings

****    Fish Out of Water – (reread parts) one of the best fanfics to feed your season 1 Logan cravings (with some gothic horror mixed in)


Movies Seen:

None – too much good TV on right now

Music I Listened To:

Straight Outta Lynwood, by “Weird Al” Yankovic

Folklore, Loose, and Whoa, Nelly!, by Nelly Furtado


Sub Jobs:

2 ½ days in two different second grades

1 day in first grade

1 day substitute sampler (2 hours each in: 1st, Kindergarten, 2nd)


Favorite TV:

****    Supernatural– This show keeps getting better and better. Who would ever think I’d say that about a horror show?

****    Battlestar Galactica– Awesomely dark this season

****    Friday Night Lights – I love this show.  It’s realistic, moody, sweet, and has me cheering for the football team while at the same time thinking, “This town really needs to get a life.” 

*** ½  Veronica Mars – No, it’s not up to season two quality, let alone season one quality, but they have to deal with a new network, new setting, new characters, and the fact that they only have most of their actors for only 16 out of 22 episodes, so I’m patiently waiting for the story to build to something like my old show.

***     Gilmore Girls– I know I’m in the minority but I never bought Lorelai and Luke as a couple and I like her with Chris.  * Ducks *