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Geronimo Stilton

Default Smiles Imagine you’re a mouse. Again. A well-dressed newspapermouse who keeps stumbling into adventures that both terrify and exhaust you. But you always win out in the end.
Sassy Sharky The power of the press.
Default Smiles You end up going to different countries in search of scoops, getting stuck in haunted houses, or just having terrible, terrible vacations that your relative have no sympathy for. But you know what? All that awful stuff is great material for your books. This book series is one of those where we pretend the main character’s actually written the book, complete with a little ‘about the author’ section and his friends occasionally telling him ‘you know this adventure you just had would make a great book’. And if that wasn’t cute enough there is SO MUCH TO LOOK AT.
Happy Sharky There’s nothing like a book that’s a visual experience as much as a story. That’s why we love comics and illustrations and anything that comes with pull outs and other goodies.
Happy Smiles GOODIES! Those are always the best, of course, but when those aren’t around, we’ll take a highly illustrated story every time. And these stories aren’t just illustrated. Words will come in different fonts and different colours and sizes, or slant off of the page, or there might even be curly shapes going on behind the text! Just some examples:

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Happy Sharky2 I don’t think I’ve actually seen a book that does this. Even simple things like making shouted text bigger and whispered text smaller adds so much life to the words.
Happy Smiles I used to mess around with turning words into pictures as a kid, but I never thought I’d see it in a published work. And it looks great! When you just want to stare at a page of text as much as at an illustration, you know it looks good. Nobody plays around with text enough, in my opinion. I get that it wouldn’t work in serious works, but there are so MANY places where it would be amazing.
Happy Sharky2 Case in point, we’ve seen otherwise conventional looking stories where different voices are conveyed in different fonts. Even without added colours and fancy pictures, that’s a strong visual. But we’re not saying every book should do that, because this kind of colour and text and doodle and illustration fest sounds like it could get overwhelming, and it definitely sounds like it’s easy to do overdo or do badly. Even if it’s just something as seemingly simple as different fonts. The Geronimo Stilton series hits an good balance, as you can see from the pictures, but that must have taken forever to get right.
Default Smiles Now that we’ve gone on and on about the visuals, we should probably talk a little about the stories and the characters. So, our main character Geronimo. He likes reading, he’s curious and good hearted, he’s a bit of a coward, and he almost always has the worst luck a mouse could have. If there’s a camel or horse, he will get kicked. If there’s a flight of stairs, you can bet he’ll be tumbling down them soon. If he has to travel, it’ll nearly always be either through a terrible transport or to a terrible hotel. Or both. He gets yelled at for almost everything, particularly things that aren’t even his fault. And you’ve got to feel really sorry for the guy. But it’s exactly this slapstick series of increasingly terrible events that create a lot of the plot, as well as a lot of the comedy.
Default Sharky It’s the kind of comedy where you’re cringing in sympathy at descriptions of disgusting food or his consistent bad treatment at the hands of assorted family and random members of the public. But even when it gets him down, it never gets him down for long, and he always goes stubbornly striding back into the fray. Every story, or nearly every story, ends with him back at his office and realising (or being told) what a fantastic story the experience would make. Several of other characters aren’t nearly as interesting. His sister, always competent and calm in every situation is less entertaining to follow than Geronimo, since she never panics or has any bad luck happen to her. And his cousin, who does nothing but say his name wrong and make fun of him at every possible opportunity is actually incredibly annoying. Whenever he shows up I’m just waiting for him to leave. And Geronimo’s nephew, though he’s the only one who ever supports him, and he’s a kind and intelligent kid, is also just… too perfect, like the sister, and it’s hard to get any comedy or sympathetic cringing out of either of them.
Surprised Smiles Still, he makes a good pair with his uncle in one of the books, calmly investigating while his uncle runs around screaming. Rather than just mocking him constantly like his sister and cousin, which really does get tiring after a few books. But I guess that’s family for you.
Sassy Sharky Added bonus, I think these books are trying to teach you something, and they usually manage without it looking like they’re trying to stuff knowledge down your throat. One of them talked about Egypt for a while and another was a hospital experience. I think the Halloween one was half about being scary and half about it being important to check facts. I’m not too sure about the other two we read, I think they were just about awful, awful holiday experiences with no real life facts involved.
Shocked Smiles I’m a little burnt out on awful holiday experiences. I really hope the later books change up the script a little, like Egypt or a haunted castle like before.
Happy Sharky2 Well, we’ve got a lot more to get through, so chances are good we’ll find more great stuff. We do recommend you pick up at least one of the books, doesn’t matter which. If you like one, you’re likely to like them all.

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