The first book in the graphic-novel spinoff of the Thea Stilton chapter books, themselves spinoffs of the Geronimo Stilton franchise.
It’s a new school year at Whale Island’s Mouseford Academy for the Thea Sisters (not actual siblings but a group of friends centered around Thea Stilton). Written for fans of the Thea Stilton series, the book assumes familiarity with the characters and skips introductions. Two traditions mark the start of a new year—the school dance, which yields a subplot about the girls trying to find dates, and the arrival of whales at the island. But this year, a whale has broken the pattern by arriving early, swimming without the other whales and even attacking fishing boats. It’s up to the Thea Sisters to figure out why the whale is acting strangely and to solve the orca’s problem. The problem is connected to a celebrity cosmetics entrepreneur, a special guest to the school on account of her generous donation and her children’s enrollment as new students. The celebrity has an illegal, secret hobby—collecting sea life. Her hobby leads to a couple of footnotes with ocean-animal facts, though the story is more concerned with entertainment than education. The resolution comes far too easily in a short plot that is lacking in obstacles. Plot limitations notwithstanding, the colorful characters’ revealing body language and expressive faces keep even simple conversation scenes’ illustrations dynamic.
For Stilton readers who prioritize interpersonal relationships and friendship over mysteries and action. (Graphic fantasy. 7-10)