Geronimo Stilton Biography
Writing under the guise of a bewhiskered, monocle-wearing mouse who ventures into all manner of adventures while publishing the New Mouse City's hometown paper Rodent's Gazette, Geronimo Stilton is the tongue-in-cheek pseudonym of an Italian author. Appearing in numerous books that have gained a massive following among Italian children and have been translated into thirty-five languages, the mousey journalist has made his way to U.S. readers in translated editions that include Paws off, Cheddarface!, The Temple of the Ruby Fire, The Mona Mousa Code, and The Phantom of the Subway.
As the series' titles make clear, Stilton's tales often poke fun at major works of literature—the blockbuster novel The DaVinci Code is treated to a rodent-inspired send-up in The Mona Mousa Code, while The Temple of the Ruby Fire revisits J. K. Rowling's "Harry Potter" books in a humorous vein. Geronimo Stilton is joined in his many adventures by reoccurring characters that include sister Tea, nephew Benjamin and cousin Trappola, and fellow rodents Torquato and the long-nosed Zia Lippa. His adventures, which span the globe, are clearly mapped by colorful illustrations, and a key to the important characters is included in each volume, to allow new readers to jump in mid-series.
In Paws off, Cheddarface!, which School Library Journal reviewer Elaine E. Knight cited for its "broad humor, frantic action, and pun-filled dialogue," Stilton must redeem his reputation after a rival editor attempts to besmirch his reputation. Red Pizza for a Blue Count finds the rodental protagonist battling the evil Count von Ratoff to save a cousin trapped in the count's Transylvanian lair, while The Curse of the Cheese Pyramid finds Stilton on his way to Egypt to interview notedly eccentric Professor Spitfur about the archeologist's efforts to discover an ancient technique for creating energy. "Geronimo's adventures resemble old Saturday morning cartoons," wrote Knight, noting the pseudonymous author's use of "stock characters," variable fonts, and "comic-book-style illustrations." The "snazzy series . . . about a globetrotting mouse journalist spreads the cheesy puns nice and thick," concluded a Publishers Weekly contributor of Lost Treasure of the Emerald Eye.
Beginning to import the series from Italy in 2004, New York publishing house Scholastic started the "Geronimo Stilton" series off with four volumes: Lost Treasure of the Emerald Eye, Cat and Mouse in a Haunted House, Curse of the Cheese Pyramid, and I'm Too Fond of My Fur. Whetting the taste of U.S. fans, the "Stilton" books have since appeared regularly, and Scholastic has also produced a humorous online fan site featuring editions of Stilton's Rodent's Gazette, penned with the same fast-paced humor. Profiling the series on Kidsreads.com, Terry Miller Shannon explained that in their country of origin the "Geronimo Stilton" books are "the bestselling children's books, besting Harry Potter" and "as irresistible as a cheddar, Swiss and bleu cheese sandwich is to a starving mouse."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Publishers Weekly, February 23, 2004, review of Lost Treasure of the Emerald Eye, p. 77.
School Library Journal, August, 2004, Elaine E. Knight, review of The Curse of the Cheese Pyramid, p. 96; September, 2004, Elaine E. Knight, review of Paws off, Cheddarface!, p. 181.
Geronimo Stilton Web site (in Italian), http://www.geronimostilton.it (March 7, 2005).
Kidsreads.com, http://www.kidsreads.com/ (Marcy 7, 2005), Terry Miller Shannon, review of "Geronimo Stilton" series.
Scholastic Web site, http://www.scholastic.com/ (March 7, 2005), "Geronimo Stilton."*