Buckle up, y’all, because I’m about to hit you with a picky mom review of ALL of the Geronimo Stilton books. It’s going to be a wild ride.
If you aren’t familiar with the books, Geronimo Stilton is a newspaper mouse. These books are known for colorful text and pictures, and are written for elementary age, with the sweet spot being ages 7 to 10. They are great for both genders.
The books are all written “by Geronimo Stilton.” However, based on how frequently new books are published, I assume there is an actual legion of writers slaving over their laptops at all hours of the day to get them done. (Get those royalties, Elisabetta Dami! She’s who originally invented Geronimo Stilton. Obviously a children’s book whisperer and incredible.)
The original series is called Geronimo Stilton, then there are a bunch of spinoff series. The spinoffs all stand alone, and you don’t have to read the original series to understand them.
Now, I’m going to highly recommend some of these books. There are some that I think you should buy the entire series. I’m also about to share what books in the series I actively don’t allow in my home. I’m hesitant to do that in case you’re already enjoying them. So, PLEASE, know that it’s ok if you don’t agree with me! I’m 100% sure that we read books that wouldn’t be right for other families. (I’m looking at you Bad Guys Club series…) Every family is different, no worries. But I’m still going to give my honest opinion, critique, and review of the Geronimo Stilton universe, because that’s what y’all came for.
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Critique and Review of the Original Geronimo Stilton series
The Geronimo Stilton books in the original series show Geronimo getting into all kinds of scrapes, solving mysteries, and saving New Mouse City. (It was literally just this week that I realized the city name is a play on “New York City.”) The books move quickly, with lots of illustrations and maps.
Heads up that they do make some of the words unique spellings to be funny – for example, “a-mouse-ing” instead of “amazing.” When I read these books aloud to my kids I change them back to the normal word to be less confusing.
There’s a reason these books sell so many copies – they’re exciting, easy to follow, and COLORFUL. There is also a fabulous theme of knowledge and reading being important throughout – brain definitely triumphs over brawn. Geronimo is sort of timid, but faces his fears. This has allowed us to have some wonderful discussions about courage.
There are some problems, however. First, there are some family-relationship problems. Geronimo’s sister, Thea, and cousin, Trap, are really mean to him. It’s sort of this running joke in the series, but it’s not cool. They’re SO rude. They call him “cheese-brains,” and it’s a running gag that they try to scare him because he’s so delicate. Argh, I hate families who aren’t nice to each other in books, even when it’s a family of mice.
Second, these books were originally written in Italian and there are some translation choices that are…weird. For example, in the western book, Native Americans are called “redskins.” And in one of the tropical themed ones it talks about Geronimo wearing a swimsuit that says, “Too Sexy for My Shorts.” Uhhh…no. Just…no. This has been sort of hit and miss – not every book has oddly translated words.
My kids read these books at home and there are lots of them at their school library. They’re brightly illustrated, the mysteries are fun, and they have quite a bit of slapstick humor, which kids love. However, because there are so many other amazing series out there, even in the Geronimo universe, this isn’t top of my list, because of those reasons I mentioned. I happily let my kids check them out at the library, but I do a quick check to make sure they’re ok. Of course, treating people well is an ongoing conversation, so Thea and Trap’s antics come up some.
Review of The Kingdom of Fantasy
The Kingdom of Fantasy is a wonderful series. There’s clear distinctions of good versus evil, clear consequences of sin, and the hero is frequently scared but does the right thing anyway. The premise of the books is that Geronimo Stilton gets pulled from the regular world into a fantasy world where he has to save the day.
There are TONS of pictures and maps and coded messages, so this is an excellent series for your visual learners who “don’t like to read.” It looks like a giant book, but it’s actually written at a fairly simple level. And because so much of it is maps and charts, it’s a reluctant reader’s dream book.
Are some of the books clear rip offs of classic fantasy literature? Yes. Yes, they are. (In one they have to take a magic ring to be destroyed in a volcano. I mean, COME ON.)
Do I still think they’re great and recommend them for every 7 to 10 year old to read independently? Yes. Yes, I do.
I actively encourage and look for The Kingdom of Fantasy series to read aloud. If you’re thinking you might like these books as a read aloud to young kids, be aware that there are A LOT of characters. That can be difficult for very young kids to follow. For that reason, I highly recommend for ages 5 and up to hear read aloud, and only younger if you have a kid who loves maps and can follow a story with a LOT of characters.
These are basically a gateway drug to hard core fantasy books. We own all of them, and my 7 year old LOVES them. (Y’all, I’m thrifty, so it’s a big deal that I actually bought all of these! They just hold the kids’ attention SO WELL.)
In this spin off series, Geronimo becomes a superhero. In the beginning he doesn’t really know how to use his powers, but he eventually figures it out. There is some cartoony violence, but no more than any other series in the Geronimo Stiliton world.
I think it’s great for reluctant readers, especially, because it’s colorful and a simple storyline, but with the backdrop of a Marvel-esque world. Like the regular series, it’s a super fast read. I highly recommend it! Especially if you have a super hero lover!
Review of Spacemice series
Spacemice is an alternate universe where Geronimo lives in space. This series is more predictable than the Kingdom of Fantasy books. However, my 7 year old doesn’t seem to care. There aren’t a ton of characters, which is nice. The books are fully illustrated with color.
I like this series because it has less of the Thea/Trap mean-ness than the original series. I actively encourage my kids to read all 12 books in this series. It’s exciting sci-fi type stories, without some of the issues I have with the original series.
I recommend as a read aloud for ages mature 4 and up, and for independent early reader for ages 7 to 10.
Review of Micekings series
Micekings is an alternate universe where Geronimo is like a Scottish peasant, or something like that. It’s not really historical – there’s a dragon who does the cooking. I guess it would be like if Geronimo lived in How to Train Your Dragon, except with less pre-teen angst.
Content wise, it’s totally fine. Geronimo is still timid, Trap is still not that nice, but nothing that would give me too much concern. The premise is admittedly a little weird. But if your kids like Geronimo, and a little slapstick dragon humor, this is totally for them!
Review of The Journey Through Time series
The Journey Through Time series shows Geronimo Stilton going through time. He mostly travels to pre-historic places, and there are lots of dinosaurs. I do not recommend this series as a read aloud for very young children, because the concept is sort of confusing. I think it would be better for older kids who understand the idea of “history,” ages 7 and up.
Heads up that if issues of family members being mean to each other bothers you, there is that in this series. Cousin Trap is involved in the time travel scheme, and he’s not always that nice.
In this series, the books are longer than Spacemice or the original series. That makes them nice for road trips, or for more advanced readers.
If you happen to be a young earth creationist, this series is definitely not right for your family.
Critique of Creepella VonCacklefur series
Creepella VonCacklefur is a vampire-esque female mouse. This spin off series features mysteries that Creepella solves and writes about. There are lots of ghosts, other vampire-like creatures, monsters, etc. It’s all more cutesy-horror, not scary-horror.
Creepy stuff is not my jam, but it’s totally fine if it’s right for your family. It’s nice to have a series about a female investigator who loves her family. (There are also some pro-adoption themes in some of the books, which is great. Heads up, though, that they adopt the baby after it gets left on their doorstep, which is not really the adoption and birth family narrative we talk about in our home.)
BUT (and it’s a big “but”) Creepella has this running theme in all of the books that she claims she’s Geronimo’s girlfriend, but he says they aren’t dating. But she insists they are, and tries to get him in these compromising situations. It’s sort of a B-plot to whatever mystery she’s solving.
It’s weird, not a relationship model I want in our home, has odd consent implications, and ARGH. I just can’t. I don’t let the kids read these. You’d think after 9 books Creepella would get the hint.
If you like the cutesy-creepy stuff, definitely check this series out because you’ll love it, but make sure to have a chat about no-one having to date someone they don’t want to!
Review of Thea Stilton
There are 32 Thea Stilton books. Thea is Geronimo’s sister, however, she is not the main character of these books. In this series, there is a group of friends who call themselves The Thea Sisters, because they write articles for Thea. They solve mysteries and have fun adventures.
I really like this premise. However, it bothers me that the teenage mice are drawn sort of sexy. They have bare midriffs and are so skinny. It is different from how characters are drawn in all of the other books. Make sure to check out the illustrations for yourself before you purchase, as they may not be right for your family.
Review of Thea Stilton: Special Edition books
Thea Stilton: Special Edition books are similar to The Kingdom of Fantasy, except with the Thea Sisters. Mermaids, and fairies, and unicorns, oh my! The Thea Sisters travel to different worlds to save the creatures. There is always a fantasy element to these stories.
Heads up that I prefer The Kingdom of Fantasy in our home because of the crush factor – sometimes the Thea Sisters have crushes and fight over boys. Plus, they’re just illustrated more sexy than the fairies and creatures in The Kingdom of Fantasy. (WHY?!?!?!?)
However, if you love the Thea Sisters, this series is a great option. Bonus: the books are significantly longer than the usual Thea Stilton series.
Review of Cavemice series
Cavemice series is another alternate universe where Geronimo is a caveman…mouse. It is set in the time of dinosaurs, and mammoths. Again, not historically or scientifically accurate, since all of the dinosaurs and creatures coexist during the same era. However, other than the glaring scientific inaccuracies, there’s nothing to be concerned about.
The illustrations in this series are a little different, just a heads up if your kids happen to love the normal illustrations. It’s pretty slapstick, and has lots of humor.
If you happen to be a young earth creationist, this probably isn’t right for your family.
Critique of Thea Stilton: Mouseford Academy series
Thea Stilton: Mouseford Academy series has a different style of illustrations from the other books to make the teenage girl mice sexy…so there’s that.
Also, the Thea Sisters, who live at this elite boarding school and have adventures together frequently argue and get jealous over boys. So, yeah.
I mean, those two facts should tell you how I feel about this spinoff. Sexy mice marketed to 7 to 10 year old girls is not my jam. (Brand new sentence on the internet?)
I see the appeal, though. They’re cool, they’re skinny, they’re independent at a boarding school, they’re having adventures. They’re just not what I’m looking for in characters for my daughters to look up to. There are 8 books in this series.
If you’re looking for mice books for girls, I recommend Sophie Mouse series (so much!) for read aloud for all ages, or independent reader for second grade and up. No sexy mice, just age appropriate mice. (I never anticipated saying that…)
Review of Geronimo Stilton graphic novels
So, the bad guys in the Geronimo Stilton graphic novels are cats who wear masks to look like mice. It’s difficult for younger kids to tell who is who.
For that reason, I do not recommend these books as a read aloud, but content wise they seem fine for older kids who can follow the story line.
The premise of these books is that cats are going back in time to change history, so Geronimo follows them to save history. They are awesome for 8 year olds and up, especially if they correspond to what they’re learning in history class at school. Of all the “historical” Geronimo Stilton books, this spinoff is DEFINITELY the most accurate! (Looking at you, dragons in Micekings.)
Also, major plus that they are all totally new stories, not just other books put into graphic novel form. Highly recommend! I especially like book #9, which is about Gutenberg’s printing press.
Again, some of the books may not be for the young earth creationists who frequent my reviews. Geronimo goes back billions of years in a few of the stories. However, most would be fine – off the top of my head, I think book #7 is the only one you’d for sure want to avoid.
This series is not to be confused with Geronimo Stilton: Reporter, or Geronimo Stilton: The Graphic Novel. Those are both different graphic novels. It is confusing, that’s why I have pictures of the covers.
Review of Geronimo Stilton, Reporter series
Geronimo Stilton, Reporter books are graphic novels based on the cartoons available on DVD or Netflix. And by “based on,” I mean, “this is a printed version of the cartoon.”
If your kids like the cartoon, they might like these. However, there isn’t any suspense because they literally are exactly the same as the show. I think some of the other books on this list are a lot stronger, personally I would not bother with this series. BUT, if you have a big fan of the Geronimo Stilton cartoons, THIS IS FOR THEM!
Review of Geronimo Stilton: The Graphic Novel
Geronimo Stilton: The Graphic Novel is the only book in the series that is not “written by Geronimo Stilton.” Instead, it’s a story about Geronimo.
It is unique because it is more comic book style – the illustrations are vastly different from any of the other books, and it has slippery paper, like an actual comic book. It also feels like an actual author wrote a stand alone comic book story. It doesn’t feel like just a spin off for money. I like it.
This take on the tale (tail? I kid, I kid.) sort of reminds me of the Narwhal and Jelly series, because there is minimal text per page. I DEFINITELY recommend it for a younger audience than almost everything else on this page. You certainly could read it aloud to a 4 year old, and on up. For independent reading, this would be suitable for about 6 years old and up.
Review of Geronimo Stilton Cartoon
Geronimo Stilton, the cartoon, is available on DVD and Netflix. They remind me of the old cartoons we used to watch growing up. Think Looney Toons.
Content wise, there was nothing I saw that was concerning. If my kids wanted to watch these, I would be perfectly fine with it. (In fact, they have seen a few of them.) However, this is no VeggieTales. There is no moral lesson in the episodes at all.
If your kids love Geronimo, these are a fun extension of the universe. They could be a great reward for reluctant readers, too. For example, you could have them read 3 Geronimo Stilton books, then watch a few episodes of the cartoon!
Full Geronimo Stilton Review TLDR
That’s over 300 Geronimo Stilton books reviewed by a picky Christian mom.
If you’re still asking, “Should I let my kids read Geronimo Stilton?” here’s the too-long-didn’t-read version of this Geronimo Stilton review:
- Buy The Kingdom of Fantasy in its entirety for both genders. It’s the perfect introduction to the wonderful world-building in sci-fi and fantasy novels.
- Buy Spacemice for your kids who like visually exciting pictures and quick reads. It has all the charm and great illustrations of Geronimo Stilton, but less of the issues that I mentioned in the original series.
- Geronimo Stilton graphic novels are hard to follow for little kids because cats wear mouse masks, but good for older ages.
- Borrow from the library Micekings, Cavemice, and the plain old Geronimo Stilton books.
- Sexy mice are not my thing.
Be present. Be intentional. Be reading!
Related: Looking for more short chapter books? Check out this list of fabulous easy readers, including some you probably haven’t heard of before!
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