I must admit that I didn't know about Geronimo Stilton. I guess I haven't been paying attention.
While checking out some excellent children's books recently, my favorite reference librarian asked me if I was taking them out for my grandchildren. After telling her that I don't have grandchildren (but do have grand dogs and cats . . . and a grand nephew), I explained that I sometimes review outstanding children's books. She immediately whooped and said, "I've got just the book for you. We've all been reading it today and can't stop laughing." Before I could say another word, she raced off to the children's books and brought back Geronimo and the Gold Medal Mystery. I'm very grateful she did. The book is quite a treasure.
If you are ignorant about the series (as I was), this is the 33rd entry in the series. Geronimo is the editor of The Rodent's Gazette (New Mouse City's most widely read newspaper) while his sister, Thea, is a special correspondent at the Gazette. Grandfather William Shortpaws is the founder of the Gazette, and Geronimo jumps when Grandfather Shortpaws calls. Unfortunately for Geronimo, Thea wants to take a pass on covering the Athens Olympics for the Gazette and Geronimo is pressed into duty, despite his utter lack of knowledge about sports.
In the story, Geronimo gets some unexpected help from his old friend, Hercule Poirat, who is investigating the athletes from Mousylvania. The two of them discover some big surprises behind some stunning athletic performances.
The story is filled with jokes that tykesters and tykestresses will enjoy, many of which are visual humor based on the abundant, vivid, full color illustrations. My book actually had a post-it note in it with a comment in a child's handwriting that one illustration reminded the child of the trouble he or she gets into when she or he doesn't pay attention.
Remarkably, interspaced within the story are lots of sidebars that provide useful information about the Olympics, Greece, and various athletes who have competed successful in the Olympics. These sidebars contain much more information than most nonfiction books aimed at this age group (4-6 if read to and older if read by) do.
The typography is especially interesting. Words are installed in shapes that capture and accentuate their meaning. For example, "roar" is in red bold print with little lines running through it to imitate sound waves. "Quiet" by comparison is in thin-lined blue hand script. I can just imagine a youngster goggling over the composition methods and laughing a lot! It's also a good way for beginning readers to learn some vocabulary.
At the back of the book you find lots of humorous drawings of the Gazette office, New Mouse City, and Mouse Island. "About the Author" is written as though Geronimo Stilton is the actual author.
Seldom has tongue in cheek been so much fun for youngster and their elders.
Check it out!