It’s always nice to see your hometown featured in a storybook. For my Beijing-born daughter, those opportunities have been few and far between, particularly in English. We have stories where cities like Paris (Madeline), New York City (Eloise) and Boston (Make Way for Ducklings) feature prominently, but when it comes to Beijing, it’s always been a struggle.
So you can imagine our surprise when we brought home another volume of my 6-year-old’s much-beloved Thea Stilton storybook series from Page One and opened it to find that a significant portion of the story occurs in Beijing!
For the un-initiated, Thea Stilton is the little sister of Geronimo Stilton, Mouse Journalist and hero of over 60 colorful storybooks. Thea, a journalist in her own right, has her own 18-book series where she and her friends solve mysteries around the globe. The books are perfect for readers too advanced for typical picture books but not quite ready to delve into the world of dull, gray, text-only books.
In this particular adventure, Thea Stilton And The Ghost Of The Shipwreck, Thea & Co. end up in Beijing, visiting the Panjiayuan Market, Wangfujing, the Great Wall, and the National Center for the Performing Arts (the ‘Big Egg’).
Along the way there’s some fairly well-researched bits about Chinese culture, and all done in the same appealing, breezy way. For my daughter, a veteran of several Thea Stilton books, it was a real pleasure to see the characters she knows and loves make an appearance in hometown places she’s familiar with.
I’d love to hear from other parents out there if they’ve come across stories in English that occur in Beijing. After 6 years of looking I have virtually none, and a cursory search at Amazon results in less than a half dozen titles, none of which I’ve come across: Little Leap Forward: A Boy in Beijing, One Year in Beijing, Wombat Smith Vol. 2: Beijing Breakaway, You Wouldn’t Want to Be in the Forbidden City!: A Sheltered Life You’d Rather Avoid, and Greetings from Somewhere: The Mystery in the Forbidden City. So, parents and children of Beijing, have you come across any others? Please share your findings in the comments below!
Thea Stilton And The Ghost Of The Shipwreck as well as other Thea Stilton and Geronimo Stilton books can be found at Page One Books, as well as online at amazon.cn. Kindle editions also exist, but make sure you download a preview before buying as some are poorly formatted.
Photos by Michael Wester