Review by BRIGITTE ROZARIO
CREEPELLA VON CACKLEFUR
Meet me in Horrorwood / Ghost Pirate Treasure
Scholastic seems to have found a winning formula through its fabulously-popular Geronimo Stilton series. And, because of the winning formula, the publishing house has chosen to have the “spinoff” books – Thea Stilton (Geronimo's sister) and now Creepella von Cacklefur (his friend).
In both the books reviewed here, there is a story within a story. The main story is about one of Creepella's adventures and a mystery she has to solve. The enveloping story is told by Geronimo and has him introducing Creepella's story. He ends it too with a nice conclusion, too.
I have been sceptical about the whole Geronimo Stilton craze. Coming from a generation that read Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden and The Famous Five, I didn't understand why kids today couldn't just read the same books that I loved as a child.
But, move with the times we must and today's generation has chosen Geronimo Stilton, Thea Stilton and now Creepella von Cacklefur as its choice of mystery series.
Now that I've actually read the two Creepella books, I have to say, I can see why children today love it. The stories are genuinely good, there are interesting and unusual characters in each book and amusing tidbits to get you giggling along the way.
That said, I was not crazy about the use of colours and different fonts for selected words in each page. Although the kids like this feature, I found it unnecessary and a bit distracting.
Having said that, you can't condemn a good book or a good series and the whole Geronimo Stilton franchise in books is good. Plus, the English is of a good standard and kids will get to widen their vocabulary while they might even giggle over the made-up words like “fabumouse” and “gentlemouse.”
The first book reviewed – Meet me in Horrorwood – is about Gorgo, the monster in the Cacklefur moat, being lovesick for the actress monster Blobbina. Wanting to help out, Creepella decides to write a love letter to Blobbina from Gorgo. She sends Bitewing, her pet bat, to send it to Blobbina in Horrorwood. When Bitewing fails to return, Creepella sets out to Horrorwood to find him. What she discovers is that Blobbina has disappeared. It's up to Creepella to unravel the mystery and look for Blobbina so that the romance of the movie star and Gorgo can commence.
The second book – Ghost Pirate Treasure – is about the mysterious lawn holes that appear overnight in the home of Creepella's friend, writer Billy Squeakspeare. Creepella suspects whoever it was that dug the holes in the lawn was looking for the treasure buried there by the pirate Morgan Blackwhiskers. Creepella and Billy go to Shivery Arts Academy to find out more about Blackwhiskers and the treasure. While there, they also see an analyst of hiding places to find out who could have dug the holes. It is up to Creepella to find the treasure and the treasure hunter.
The great thing about Scholastic books is that you always get a good story and you most definitely feel like you're learning some new words along the way.
I am indeed impressed with the Creepella von Cacklefur series so far and can't wait to pass the books to my niece who is an avid Geronimo Stilton fan (which primary-aged child isn't?). Actually, between the three series - Geronimo, Thea and Creepella – I have to admit, I like Creepella the most.
I would highly recommend this for children aged seven to nine. They will thoroughly enjoy it and you know they're not reading anything they shouldn't be. The plot is innocent enough, purely on friendship, family and mystery and with none of the real-life issues that they might see in the movies/series on TV these days.