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August 3, 2015

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Writing and Racing with Geronimo Stilton | Touch and Go

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Not many mice can boast a series of books, graphic novels, and audiobooks, and a website and newspaper, unless of course, it’s Geronimo Stilton. And now the prolific journalist/editor/adventurer has added an app to his oeuvre, brought to us via Scholastic. Last year the publisher released The Adventures of Captain Underpants in digital. And while neither of these characters wants for readers, the apps may actually expand their fan bases. 

geronimoFans of the Geronimo Stilton (Scholastic, $1.99; Gr 2-4), won’t find any read-along stories as they follow this mouse journalist into the digital world, but they can become reporters, travel underwater, and test their knowledge of capital cities around the world.

To begin, viewers design their own mouse avatar choosing physical features and a hair color and style. (Only one avatar can be created at a time, and the app does not store them). Writing options include compiling an edition of that well-known vehicle for Geronimo’s reporting, the Rodent’s Gazette, or composing a scene complete with customizable text and images. Would-be journalists choose fonts and insert headlines, and have enough space for four paragraph-length, illustrated articles. In designing an image, children have a variety of landscapes, characters, and objects to select from. Word bubbles of different sizes and shapes are available to add dialogue. These scenes can then be popped into the news articles.

mouse passportTwo games are available: matching countries with their capitals and an underwater speed racing adventure. In the first, players create a passport inserting name, date of birth, a fingerprint, etc. When they successfully pair a country with its capital city, that nation’s stamp appears in the passport. These are saved, though users can reset the game if they decide to begin anew before gathering all 194 stamps. The “Metamouse Adventures” game offers six levels, which involve traveling hundreds of miles while avoiding obstacles and collecting pieces of cheese. Correctly answering questions about the book character adds to a player’s time, but won’t hold a child back if s/he doesn’t know the answer. To progress from one level to the next takes a while and will keep determined young gamers busy. Accumulations of cheese can be traded in for “fabumouse bonuses.”

A mouse cam is also included. After shooting a photo, users select a frame, and if they want, add  overlays and characters onto the image, which can then be saved on the device. The variety of add-ons will ensure some interesting results. Geronimo Stilton does a great job combining educational and recreational games, and is sure to delight fans.—Andrea Hetzke, Franklin Elementary School, Park Ridge, IL

For more app reviews, visit our Touch and Go webpage.

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