The Way of the Samurai

Author:  Geronimo Stilton (a-hem)

The trek through the jungle of third grade-y titles continues, and today I dipped my brain into the world of Geronimo Stilton, newspaper editor and reluctant adventurer.  In this story, Geronimo gets pulled into a quest for an ancient hidden parchment in Japan.  He is scared, he sort of overcomes his fear, and the forces of good win out in the end, despite (or perhaps because of) Geronimo’s blundering.

What makes these books so attractive to kids?  Well, they are full of color, with a fun use of fonts and cartoon illustrations.  What I liked were the text features that helped support more than just basic plot-following, like a map of Japan and kid-friendly definitions of everything from katanas to sashimi.  It is all very wholesome and cute and chock-full of plot. (As I look back on the books I’ve read in preparation for the third grade gig, I see lots and lots of plot, and I’m now in search of some character-driven pieces.)

I know that this series is one of the most heavily used in our school library, and while I plan to keep a few in class, I think I’ll save my book money.  Kids will find the Geronimo Stilton books just fine without me, and so I’m going to put more dollars into the titles I will need right at our fingertips in the classroom, because they may need to a bit more “selling” by me.

What I will use this series for is vocabulary development, work with idiomatic speech/writing, and text features.  I really did love how the fonts for certain words were suggestive of their meaning.  How fun is that?


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