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Home LEARNING Books & Reading 5 Valuable Lessons From Geronimo Stilton Books

Children Book Review

  

Being a reader and mother, I’m constantly on the lookout for books for my young reader at

home. Since my boy turned independent reader, I’ve intensified my search for good and interesting materials. I read many positive comment about Geronimo Stilton (GS) series, so I decided to give it a try.  

  

My first purchase was the GS Space Miceseries, as MPH had ‘buy-one-free-one’ promotion at that time. Also, my boy has always been fascinated with Space and Planets, so I guess this series would grab his attention. When I brought it home, it wasn’t hard to persuade my then six-year-old boy to read it.  

  

Within days, he was already familiar with the characters in the stories, having finished the first two books, and pestered me to buy more. So, before we head on to the bookstore, we spent some time researching online about the various GS series - fabumouseSeries, the hardcover Fantasy series, Journey Through Time, Cave Mice, Hero Mice, Space Miceand Thea Stilton (targeted at girls, mainly).  

  

After spending months reading through more than a dozen of GS books (still counting) with my boy and his cousin, I would like to share my two cents why I think GS series teaches valuable lessons to young kids:  

  

1. Fun, Interesting, Funny 

To start off, GS has done a fantastic job to capture reader’s attention with every page you turn. The fonts are not the boring black, but are colourful and thematic, it almost feels like it stands out on its own.

Geronimo Stilton Niagara Falls

Besides the font, the content pages are supplemented with amazing illustration and meaningful graphics. This serves to complement young reader’s imagination and reinforce their understanding of the story or places. 

Geronimo Stilton - Rumble in the Jungle

Besides, the story is written from first person perspective (I = Geronimo), something that makes it easy for the young reader to connect to. As in the case with my boy, he already sees himself sharing few common things with Geromino, namely:

 

  1. Afraid of height
  2. Afraid of dark
  3. A bookmouse, not a Sportmouse

  

The writer always present Geronimo, the main character in a funny way, either in exaggeration or something happen to him, providing the opportunity to be hilarious. For example, in the beginning of the book ‘Rumble in the Jungle, a sequence of event happened to Geronimo when his friend, Bruce Hyena arrived at his home to pick him up to Brazil.

 

At the sametime, Geromimo’s cousin, Trap Stilton (aka the prankster) never fail to make fun of Geromimo. In many fabumouseseries, Trap was pictured as someone who always find ways to trick and throw him surprises, at times almost manipulating him (financially and physically beyond a mouse’s capability). I find this as a perfect opportunity to get my boy to look at the lighter side of things as he sometimes tends to take his friend’s remarks too seriously.

Geronimo Stilton - Rumble in the Jungle

2. Educational - a great way to learn Geography, History, Culture and Science

  

As I read on, I also realized that GS is not just a story books filled with adventure stories. It is in fact 60% fictional and 40% factual. When I say 40% factual, I really meant the content is truly educational, with combination of Geography, History & Culture and Science, all-in-one. For example, in the story ‘Magical Mission’’, when Geronimo and Trap travel to London, it offers glimpse of London city’s places of attraction with historical brief such as:The London Eye

Geronimo Stilton - Magical Mission’

  1. The River Thames (not to mention how they both got whisked off onto luxurious yacht that served elaborate, super expensive English breakfast. There is even a snapshot on how the term ‘English Breakfast’ came to its origin)
  2. The Buckingham Palace, and
  3. The Trafalgar Square

Geronimo Stilton - Magical Mission’

When we finished the book ‘Magical Mission’, my boy said he felt as if he had travelled to London and come back. I’m glad he felt this way, it seems like we saved a lot of pounds by sending him on his first virtual London tour.

 

Besides imparting knowledge on places, Geronimo Stilton series indeed transcends beyond cultural, language and geographical border. As they say, learning Geography is not just by looking at the map. In the book, ‘MightyMount Kilimanjaro’, we learnt about the location of Mount Kilimanjaro , its terrain and even common words of Swahili language, the official language in Tanzania, which is also used in its neighbouring countries.

 

My boy, who is fond of Geography, immediately pointed out location of Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa in relation to Sahara Dessert. We also talked about other mountains and why the height is measured from sea level, etc.

Geronimo Stilton - MIGHTLY Mount Kilimanjaro

Geronimo Stilton - Swahili Lingo
3. Caring for Mother Nature

  

Geography aside, there is no better time to impart love and responsibility to our mother earth than now! The younger generation, unlike our yesteryears are exposed to concept of Recycle, Reuse and Reduceearly. I am glad we read the book ‘Field trip to Niagara Falls’ and ‘Beware! Space Junk!’ as both books injected elements like caring for nature and not to waste resources unnecessarily.

  

In the book ‘Field trip to Niagara Falls’, Geronimo was inadvertently made to lead a team of school children, 24 of them inclusive of himself, his nephew Benjamin and their class teacher to the Niagara Falls. During the trip, Geronimo had to put up with literally thousands of questions bombarded by the children, not to mention their near-hooligan-behavior. At the worst, Geronimo who is naturally not an adventurous-mouse, was also forced to set up a tent, cooking place and even make a bathroom from scratch!

Geronimo Stilton - Field Trip to Niagara Falls

Despite all these odds, Geronimo managed it all in the end. Their biggest reward? Got onboard ‘Maid of the Mist’ride to view the stunning Niagara falls!

Geronimo Stilton - Niagara Falls Field Trip

Just like other fabumouseseries, this book introduces the local habitat and specialty (Maple Tree, Beaver, Racoon, Moose). It even devotes a section on ‘SOS: How to give first aid to a bird’. My boy was excited as though he just acquired a little skill and he commented, “Well, now I know how to rescue a little bird!”

Tips to rescue little birdie

Besides all the above mentioned, GS series also included many universal-theme like:

  

4. Get out of your comfort zone & teamwork wins the race

  

In the book ‘The Mystery in Venice’, Geronimo set off to Venice when he received a mysterious call for help in the form of paper roll in a crystal gondola. There, he ended up in a glass shop owned by Mr Sharpwhisker aka the gondola race enthusiast. To solve the mystery, he had to work for Mr Sharpwhisker whom he also made another deal with. Geronimo will help him win gondola race in exchange of a favour.

  

With the help of the Stilton family & friends (Thea, Benjamin, Petunia, Trap, Bugsy Wugsy), they form an ad-hoc team that trained and fought hard. Of course, it ended happily when the team won the race. Sametime, Geronimo managed to get his request fulfilled when he asked for Hope (the girl who wrote the mysterious note) to be reunited with Arnold.

Geronimo Stilton - The Mystery in Venice

Geronimo Stilton - 'The Mystery in Venice'
5. Never give up easily

  

Another fabumousebook not to be missed had to be ‘Mighty Mount Kilimanjaro’. This time, Geronimo was dragged along by Bruce Hyena in search of good travelogue material for ‘The Rodents Gazette’. Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, as it is fondly known as ‘Kili’ is not an easy feat. To a young boy, it gives a good example when to exercise attitude of ‘Polepole’ – Slow and Steady, tired but inspired! It is the quality that one sometimes need when fighting for a long, tough battle.

  

Although Bruce is a person who is hard with his words, he is indeed a good coach. His words are like “...When it feels like you can’t go on, make it mental!” From that moment on, their only mantra is ‘forward, forward, forward….’ The turning point to this story was of course the pretense of Bruce being dead after they both slid down from the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro. It was all-in-one – friendship love, mental strength, grit and determination that brought Geronimo to the summit (and subsequently descending to Kibo Huts carrying Bruce).

  

Personally, I was so inspired and amazed by all the discoveries I made with my boy when reading through GS series. It has launched me to so many discussions with my boy. We both felt we had travelled to many places and acquired so much wonderful knowledge and experiences.

I wish all young English learners have a chance to be exposed to GS Series, in big or small way.

Thank you Scholasticfor making these whisker-tingling collection available! We look forward to many more fabumousebooks in time to come!
My son and his cousin enjoying one of the Fabumouse series