Geronimo Stilton is the editor of the Rodent Gazette, the most famous paper in all of New Mouse City. He is also a time traveler! In these graphic novels, Stilton and his friends must travel back in time to stop the Pirate Cats from changing the past and trying to make cats more popular in the future (yuck!). Professor von Volt uses the tempograph to find out when and where the cats are traveling to and Geronimo follows them in the Speed Rat, a time travel machine created by Professor von Volt. But when the cats are wearing mouse costumes, how is he supposed to find them and uncover their plans?
These books are a lot of fun. They are filed with silly, over-the-top antics and characters, but you cannot help having a good time reading them. Geronimo himself is scared of everything and just wants to stay inside with a mug of warm cheddar. Unfortunately, his friends keep getting him tangled up in adventures, particularly Professor von Volt, who seems to be able to find him any time, day or night. Geronimo is the straight man to everyone else’s jokes, but he always comes through in the end. On occasion, I ended up feeling bad for him, but mostly his friends’ antics come across as funny, rather than mean-spirited. Still, it can get frustrating to never see Geronimo stand up for himself, even though he always manages to come out on top. I did feel that it helped to have read other Geronimo Stilton stories, as the graphic novels did not introduce any characters besides Geronimo himself and Professor von Volt. I recognized Thea, Trap, and Benjamin from the other novels, but other characters joined in on the adventures with only their names being given.
Aimed at children, the illustrations have a lot of eye-catching, vibrant colors, particularly yellow (for cheese). As early readers, these books use a lot of easier words and highlight more difficult or important words with colors and different fonts. They are well designed to encourage new readers. The artwork here helps to illustrate the action of the story and to move the reader along. The illustrations can be over the top in this way, but it ends up being beneficial for those kids who are learning to read.
The fun thing about the time travel storyline is each book includes small panels giving short historical lessons or explanations of different things: why certain people are important, what is the Colosseum and who built it, what customs are unique to the place and time period. Each one said something interesting, although they tended to be text-heavy on occasion. I found myself wanting to skim the explanations to get back to the story. It also provided for very cool and different illustrations in each graphic novel, since the backdrops and clothing styles changed. Each panel provided so much information.
Overall, the jokes are silly, the characters are silly, and these books are just so much fun. I found myself giggling throughout and looking forward to the next volume. Plus, the historical facts teach you something interesting. I highly recommend these titles for the children’s room of any library.
Geronimo Stilton graphic novels, vol. 1-10
by Geronimo Stilton
Art by Leonardo Favia, Federica Saldo, Mirka Andolfo, Lorenzo Bolzoni
Vol. 1: The Discovery of America
Vol. 2: The Secret of the Sphinx
Vol. 3: The Coliseum Con
Vol. 4: Following the Trail of Marco Polo
Vol. 5: The Great Ice Age
Vol. 6: Who Stole the Mona Lisa?
Vol. 7: Dinosaurs in Action!
Vol. 8: Play it Again, Mozart!
Vol. 9: The Weird Book Machine
Vol. 10: Geronimo Stilton Saves the Olympics
Publisher Age Rating: Grade 2 and up