Review: Elisabetta Dami – Thea & Geronimo Stilton Mouse novels

Superstore Surprise
Geronimo Stilton

“It’s the grand opening of Traps new superstore, but nothing is working. The lights won’t turn on, the doors won’t open, and the loudspeaker is broken. Geronimo must figure out who is trying to sabotage the grand opening!”

Scholastic | 1st December 2020 | AU$12.99 | paperback

The Magic of the Mirror
Thea Stilton

“The Thea Sisters are summoned to the Seven Roses Unit by Will Mystery, but when they get there Will is missing! The sisters must follow a trail of clues to the Fantasy Kingdoms on their quest to find Will.”

Scholastic | 1st December 2020 | AU$19.99 | hardback (special edition)

Both these books are children’s fiction which I normally wouldn’t request. In fact, they are weird because they are by the same author, but are written under the pen names of their mice protagonists – Thea and Geronimo Stilton. Thus although these are written in the same universe, a child requesting this book wouldn’t know that they are by the same author! And I personally wouldn’t know how to categorize them in an alphabetical-by-author bookshelf.

These two beginning reader book are quick and quirky to read as an adult, and perfect for their intended age bracket of children in grades 2-4 (reading level 4). The font is large, and interesting/important words are emphasized to give some lightness to the reading.

Obviously I’m not the target audience for this. Upon watching my 11 year old daughter read other books by these mice, she laughed and giggled at multiple points – so I’m taking that as a good sign! I’m not 100% on whether these would suit young male readers as well, but they are short and engaging enough that having them read out loud by a beginning reader wouldn’t be too painful.

Both of these novels have been brought by Scholastic into English reading (they were originally written in Italian), but I imagine that the original novels would be just as good. I wonder whether a case could be made for immersion reading in a foreign language? There are some made-up words though, such as ‘fa-mouse-ly’ and I wonder how that worked in the original Italian. But I digress.

I’d confidently put these on the list for buying as a gift for a beginning reader, and suggest them as staples in a school library. The hardback of The Magic in the Mirror is beautiful with top-notch full-colour images inside. I can’t say anything about their rereadability.

NB: This review will be updated with an 11 year old’s perspective some time in January! I very sneakily asked my daughter which of the Scholastic Trade Parade she was interested in, and then hid them until Christmas!

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