Thursday, June 16, 2016

Mystery Thursday- Geronimo Stilton

27277003Dami, Elisabetta. Thea Stilton and the Hollywood Hoax (Thea Stilton #23)
May 31st 2016 by Scholastic Paperbacks
Copy provided by Young Adult Books Central

When the five "Thea Sisters" get a package from their friend Jenna in the mail at their boarding school, they decide to take Jenna up on her invitation and jet to Hollywood. Once there, they get to see many famous sites and go roller skating as well. Since Jenna's sister Terri is working on the set of a film starring the dashing Johnny Ratt, the girls decide to tag along and see the film being made. Mysteries start popping up-- Princess Lane has gone missing, and the girls think they see her in one of the photos taken of the set, and one of the film reels has gone missing, which would put the film even further behind schedule. The Thea Sisters start investigating, and the reader is encouraged to help them. Pages with a magnifying glass recap the clues and help the reader with the investigation. Eventually, the girls find Lane, and realize that her mystery is entwined with several others. 

There are many different series within the Geronimo Stilton franchise, and this subset seems aimed at readers who are intrigued by celebrity stories and fashion. The Thea Sisters have a little more friend drama occurring, and fewer goofy, humorous incidents involving gross things. The story moves quickly, and the characters are not well developed, so it helps that each of the girls has a particular interest (violin, sports, cooking, etc.). 

The real draw of these books is the use of color and engaging fonts on each page, along with the full color illustrations. Everything turns out well in the end, and the Thea Sisters claim Lane as one of their own, telling her that "true friends are forever".

Readers who have outgrown Babymouse and want a series with a lot of books will do well to check out this branch of the Geronimo Stilton series. 

28192909Dami, Elisabetta. The Phantom of the Theater: A Geronimo Stilton Adventure (Creepella Von Cacklefur #8)
May 31st 2016 by Scholastic Paperbacks
Copy provided by Young Adult Books Central

Geronimo receives an invitation from Creepella, a writing colleague, to go see her famous cousin, Violetta perform in an opera with an assortment of friends and family. When they arrive at the theater, they find that someone has given Violetta chocolates that have made her incapable of singing the high notes she must reach for the performance. Geronimo starts investigating all of the spooky, odd things that are going on at the theater. There are lots of creepy secret passages filled with cobwebs, gross snacks of bugs and slime, and apparitions popping out of doorways and wall panels. In the end, Geronimo is able to find out who gave Violetta the candy, reverse the damage, and enable the show to go on. 

This full color, illustrated novel has plenty of pictures on each page, and key words are printed in fancy fonts in a variety of colors. There are even full page spreads of pictures when there are clues to be found or puzzles to be worked out. There is a page of musical riddles with the answers provided upside down on the following page. While the mystery isn't overly sophisticated, the story provides clues so that readers can attempt to solve it. 

There are lots of characters to remember, and the general tone of this is frenetic. Sound effects like moans and singing are splashed across the pages in colorful fonts, and funny phrases like "abso-mousely" pepper the dialogue. I'd love to know how "fabu-mouse" is rendered in the original Italian. 

Aficionados of Goosebumps who make frequent forays into the pages of Babymouse or Squish will be delighted with this Addams Family type adventure with the Geronimo and his fellow writer, Creepella von Cacklefur. 

Beware! Space Junk! (Geronimo Stilton Spacemice #7)Dami, Elisabetta. Beware! Space Junk! (Geronimo Stilton Spacemice #7)
April 26th 2016 by Scholastic Paperbacks
Copy provided by Young Adult Books Central

Geronimo is the captain of the MouseStar1, which is being inspected by Sally de Wrench, a capable space traveler on whom Geronimo has a huge crush. Geronimo's cousin Trap and sister Thea set up a fancy dinner for the two and trick them to get them to the restaurant, but when the two are dining, the ship is attacked by space debris. Geronimo must hurry to the bridge to investigate, and the source is soon found to be the planet Cleanix. MouseStar1 travels there, and Geronimo meets the mayor, who claims that the junk is not his fault. As the group travels around the sparkling city, they find a culture of conspicuous consumption and learn the reason why junk is being blasted into space. After much peril with evil robots and the Galactic Garbage Shooter, Geronimo is able to inform the mayor of a better way old items could be disposed-- the Stellar Garbage Sortrix that can recycle 99.9% of the garbage.

This seemed like it would bring in more philosophy to this series, and perhaps teach a lesson about consumerism and recycling, but the deus ex machina ending just brought in the Sortrix to wipe out the problem with little effort. I was a little disappointed, but readers are not really going to care .

This series includes Geronimo's regular family characters of Thea and Trap, who bedevil him even though he is the captain of the ship. His crush on Sally will be amusing to younger readers, who just like embarrassing situations, but will make Geronimo a sympathetic character to older readers who might struggle with crushes of their own. 

The real draw of this series is the mile-a-minute adventure filled with colorful full page spreads of the futuristic city, a fun story about space travel in the company of aliens and robots, and the typical colorful font that makes younger readers interested. There aren't a lot of space adventures for very young readers, aside from Courtenay's Space Penguins: Galaxy Race and a variety of emergent reader versions of Star Wars. Hand the Spacemice series to readers who devoured all of the Ricky Ricotta books. 

Why so many Geronimo Stilton books? I have a few in my library, but don't really need that many. When the chance arose to review them for Young Adult Books Central, however, I knew that I had to have copies to give to two of my readers who adore them. They'll make good summer reading. 

You have to love the Philosophy of Geronimo Stilton. It sounds rather like the "educational television" constraints that lead to the really bizarre topic choices in the "Weird Al" Show back in the 1990s. 


Dena BatchofBooks said...

My kids will be happy. They love Geronimo Stilton. :)

Dena @ Batch of Books

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