Saturday, September 22, 2007


Geronimo Stilton and his books were the focus of the afternoon of September 22, 2007, with a program presented at the Bucyrus Public Library. As participants arrived, they were given a mouse-shaped nametag (Ellison die-cut).

Children's Librarian Barb Scott began the program by reading the first chapter of the first Geronimo Stilton book to be published, Lost Treasure of the Emerald Eye. This was followed by a short Powerpoint presentation on the Stiltson, as well as other characters appearing in his books. Participants learned that this series was first published in Italy and became best-sellers there. Scholastic is the American publishing agent for this series and maintains a page at At this site, readers can see issues of Geronimo's newspaper, The Rodent's Gazette. Sadly, the newspaper site has not been updated since spring of 2006, but readers can look at back issues. The site does seem to be fairly current on the books, however.

As part of the Powerpoint, there was a short quiz on the books incorporated to test the reader's knowledge of the series.

Once these two activities were finished, participants were released to craft tables to make 6 different Geronimo Stilton-themed crafts! They were:

1. Heart-Shaped Mouse Craft--This adorable mouse craft was found on-line at The craft is made completely of heart shapes and very easy to assemble! Participants colored and cut out the heart shapes and them assembled them into adorable-looking mice!

2. Benjamin Stilton Toilet Paper Roll Craft--Benjamin is Geronimo's favorite nephew, and this TP roll craft reminded me of him! The base of the craft is a toilet paper roll. The template for the craft was found on-line at Since TP rolls come in different sizes, participants might have to make the piece covering the roll a big bigger, or in my case when I made the example, I simply trimmed the roll down to the size of the piece that covered it. This little guy holds a piece of cheese (Geronimo's favorite food!) in one of his hands.

3. Flag of Italy--Participants learned earlier in the program that the Geronimo Stilton books were first published in Italy. So, it was only natural that they make an Italian flag to celebrate that fact! The pattern for the flag was found on-line at This is a great site where many of the patterns used to be free, but now, lots of them can't be accessed unless you are a member. But--GOOD NEWS! The membership cost for one year for access is ONLY $20.00! This gets you a log-in name and password. Once you are logged into the site, the log-in lasts.....seems like forever! If you are interested, check out the information at the top of the home page. As an added bonus, site members have access to a banner-free version of the site with printer-friendly pages. It's a great deal for a site that you will use a lot!
Back to the flag! The flag of Italy is a green, white, and red vertical tri-color, and was officially adopted in 1946, when Italy became a republic. Participants colored the flags as the arrows and colors indicated and then cut them out.
Participants also learned, at this station, that "topo" is the Italian word for mouse....remember Topo Gigio on the old "Ed Sullivan Show"? Hence, the name!

4. The Big Cheese Craft--Geronimo's favorite food is cheese, so it was only natural that I include a craft that featured it. The pattern for this "cheesehead" was found on in their Alpha-Buddies section. Participants colored a block of cheese, and then added a face, arms, and legs that had been colored and cut out!

5. Geronimo Stilton Paper Bag Puppet--This pattern for Geronimo was sort of a mish-mash of different patterns from several sites. The base idea came from site once again with a mouse paper bag puppet they featured. I used the ears, eyes, and nose, but adapted it by adding a shirt, tie, hands, and a pair of glasses to put on Geronimo's nose! It turned out quite cute and resembled Geronimo a lot! Pieces were colored and then assembled on the bag. It is important that the sides of the bottom of the bag were folded under to form more of a "snout" for the nose.

6. Newspaper Scavenger Hunt--This was a break from the tradition craft, but did involve some cutting and pasting. Since newspapers are a part of Geronimo's life, participants were asked to scour some old newspapers that were on hand, and find 10 items. Once they were found, they cut the items out and glued them onto a piece of construction paper provided. The 10 items that they had to find were:
1. A classified ad
2. The number 5
3. A picture with someone smiling in it
4. Sports story--once found, cut out the score of the game
5. The letter K
6. Ad ad for food
7. Picture of any kind of animal
8. The name of the newspaper
9. A date other than today
10. A face with glasses
This activity proved to be a lot of fun!

Participants were also treated to snacks as part of the program. Even the snacks took on a cheese theme: Cheese-Its, Cheese Puffs, and also sugar cookies, pretzels, and punch. You might want to have different types of cheese for your participants to taste as part of your program!

A Geronimo Stilton costume is available from Costume Specialists in Columbus, Ohio. Their website is It is one of the Scholastic costumes available for a shipping price of $60.00. It's a very cool looking costume! You will want to have someone fairly thin and of average height wear this costume.

Door prizes (books) were also given away at the conclusion of the program, as well as goodie bags with Smartie candies (since Geronimo is such a smarty!). You might be able to pick up paperback copies of the books themselves cheaply through your vendor, the local Wal-mart or bookstore, or perhaps Scholastic book orders through a local school!

Friday, September 7, 2007


Katie Kazoo is a popular series with 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders, and that is the core audience that you may get for this program. The titles lend themselves to a variety of craft ideas, much like the Magic Tree House series.

Here's the scoop on Kate: she's an ordinary third-grader, except for one very extraordinary problem...she wishes on a shooting star to be anyone but herself. What Katie wishes comes true with regularity, as she trades places with characters in each of her books!

First, check out the Katie Kazoo website at
Here, you can download (in PDF format) a number of Katie Kazoo Classroom Crew kits. They've got great ideas, activities, and things like word searches, puzzles, etc. that you could include as part of your program. I like to use the word searches and puzzles as handouts for the participants to take home.

I did a Powerpoint presentation on the series and characters, along with author information on Nancy Kruhlik that I can send to anyone interested.

Here are the craft ideas that I chose to use as part of my program and the books that I paired them with:

1. Snowman Paper Plate Craft--Use with the book It's Snow Joke! The base of this craft is a small white paper plate. The plate is doused with glue and then covered with cotton balls to simulate snow. On top of the cotton balls are glue the following items (cut from construction paper): carrot nose, two eyes, and derby hat.

2. Take a Hike Door Hanger--Use with the book Camp Rules! The base of this craft is the Ellison door hanger die cut. This was colored whatever color the participant desired. Then, a smaller paper with the slogan "Take a Hike! I'm Reading!" was glued to the front. These could be made fancier by the use of scrapbooking scissors, as we did. Once that was glued on, then participants could also affix to the front an evergreen tree and campfire (also Ellison dies).

3. Valentine Monkey Bookmark--Use with the book Love Stinks! These bookmarks were kits purchased from Oriental Trading Company. These come in packs of 12 bookmarks (and all the pieces with which to make them) for $4.95. These turned out really cute!

4. Heart-Shaped Dog Craft--Use with the book Doggone It! This adorable little doggie is made entirely of heart shapes. The pattern can be found on the site, one of my favorite sites to find patterns for my programs! I have the pattern in my file. You might want to provide an example for participants to follow in gluing the hearts together correctly!

5. Make Your Own Pizza Craft--Use with the book Any Way You Slice It! The base of this craft was a crust shape copied off on white constructon paper. Participants could color and then add toppings as they desired. I had a number of "toppings" (also done on white construction paper to color) available, such as pepperoni, sausage, cheese, onion, mushroom shapes. Once these were colored, they were placed on top of the colored crust. I had each of the "toppings" in separate baggies to make them easier for participants to find.

As usual, snacks were served. If your local Wal-mart carries the Katie Kazoo book in their magazine/book section, why not purchase several to give away as door prizes for your program?

As I stated before, the titles in this series open up lots of possibilities for crafts! Enjoy!