Part 1: Who is Geronimo Stilton & Why Are His Books So Popular?
If you are unfamiliar with Geronimo Stilton and his range of bestselling adventure books here is the first in a five part series on the wonderful qualities that make Geronimo Stilton Books so great for emerging and visual readers.
Who is Geronimo Stilton?
Geronimo is many things but first and foremost he runs The Rodent’s Gazette, the most popular newspaper in New Mouse City. He also writes adventures books because, despite his reluctant nature, he travels to all corners of the globe solving mysteries and helping friends in need.
Who Writes The Geronimo Stilton Books?
Geronimo Stilton of course! He is on the book covers and in the bibliographic information inside as the credited author of the books.
Geronimo Stilton is also the pen name of Elisabetta Dami, an author who co-owns Edizioni Piemme, an Italian Publishing House that started publishing the Geronimo Stilton Books in the year 2000. The Geronimo Stilton Books are the most popular children’s books in Italy, even outselling Harry Potter! Scholastic has published the English translations of the Geronimo Stilton Books since 2004 and continues to release them every few months. A graphic novels series is also available and a cartoon series will be released in 2010.
So why is the series so popular?
Here is the first of 5 reasons why the Geronimo Stilton books stand out from the crowd.
1: The Ingenious Use Of Different Colors And Onomatopoeia In The Text
The use of color in the text is one of the most striking elements of the series when you first open a Geronimo Stilton book. Also evident is the use of picturesque fonts to add extra meaning to words, much like onomatopoeia. It’s hard to describe that last point without visuals to elucidate but, let me explain by using an example.
On page 80 of the Geronimo Stilton book Down and Out Down Under (see a scan of the page below), the following sentence is written:
“Headlines flashed before my eyes.”
A fairly straight forward sentence, but what makes the Geronimo Stilton interpretation so special is that the word ‘flashed’ is written in red capital letters and each letter is on an angle and slightly blurred, as if the word itself is rushing past at great speed.
Not all words that are colored or are made into icons have deeper meaning. For example on the next page of the same Geronimo Stilton book the word ‘walking’ is written in a blue font with no real attempt to convey the motion of walking. The author has simply chosen to add color to break up the black text on the page and in this aspect it succeeds.
The whole layout of the page contributes to a sense of flow and dynamic unity in the book. Pictures appear in the top and side gutters, as do words that are stretched or shaped. For a child who is overwhelmed by a traditional chapter book page, filled as they are with small black words on a cream page, the interspersing of color and visually enhanced words on a bright white page adds a welcome sense of diversity and visual variation to the writing.
The Geronimo Stilton books immediately engage kids, especially those who are visual learners. Those readers more inclined to want to read comics or graphic novels will be attracted to the color of the books and the playful, visual nature of the text. For parents and educators wanting to provide reading alternatives beyond comics or magazines the Geronimo Stilton books are a great place to start.
Why Geronimo Stilton Is Great For Kids will continue in the next post (due later this week!)