I borrowed one of the books I previously gave my nephew and read it. Ok, I've a confession to make - it's not my first time to read a Geronimo Stilton book. It's actually my 3rd time! Haha... But it's my first time to read a special edition book - the one from the hardcover series. I read the first book, The Kingdom of Fantasy, and surprise, surprise, I learned a lot from the book! Haha...
For those who haven't read any Geronimo Stilton book, Geronimo runs a newspaper called The Rodent's Gazette and usually stumbles upon a map or a mission and ends up solving a mystery. In Kingdom of Fantasy, what makes it more exciting than his regular adventures is one night, he discovers a magical musical box in his house and a secret golden door that leads him to the Kingdom of Fantasy.
The plot is very simple - Geronimo is tasked to help a princess in the kingdom who is in terrible danger. In order to save the princess, he goes through several kingdoms and meets various mythical creatures like witches, mermaids, dragons, pixies, gnomes, fairies, giants and trolls.
Interspersed in the pages are:
- Secret messages you can decode
- Fun facts about mythical and real animals and plants (e.g. Unicorns can only be tamed by damsels with a pure heart. Its horn is said to be be able to neutralize poisons and heal wounds.)
- Jokes (e.g. What really bothers a dragon? An inflamed throat! Harhar...)
- Riddles (e.g. What do you desire most but when you get it, you're not even aware of it? ...........Sleep!)
- Background info about the mythical creatures (e.g. The word "Gnome" come from a Greek word gnomizio which means "I know". Gnomes know the mysteries of nature and they are the defenders of the rights of plants and animals. They live underground among the roots of centuries-old trees. They love to read and enjoy funny stories. They grow no more than 3 inches tall, become adult at age 3 and live to be more than 300 yrs old!)
- Optical illusions (In the photo below, do you see a white goblet or 2 black faces?)
- Lots of educational illustrations (like how to spot the North Star via the Big Dipper and Small Dipper)
And woven into the plot are gists of literary works like Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid, Beowulf and various interesting legends - Chinese, Greek, Norwegian, Irish and Nordic legends.
It's actually these educational snippets I enjoyed reading from the book more than the story itself! Haha...
Anyway, if you're planning to get Geronimo Stilton books for kids, siblings, nephews and nieces, I recommend that you get the hardcover series because they're jam-packed with bits and pieces of educational facts and interesting side stories. There are 4 books in the special edition series to date - The Kingdom of Fantasy, The Amazing Voyage, The Quest for Paradise and The Dragon Prophecy. They hardcover series sell for about Php400 to Php500 each while the regular Geronimo Stilton books sell for about Php295 (if I remember right).
I think I'm gonna end up borrowing the rest of the books I gave my pamangkins. Haha... :)