“When it comes to doing a good thing, all methods must be available. Saving the island is a good deed, don’t you think?” — Vissia De Vissen, The Thea Sisters and the Mystery at Sea, p. 23.
|Creator(s)||Francesco Savino, Nanette McGuinness, Ryan Jampole|
|Genre||Animal Comic, Fiction, Mystery|
|Environmental Themes and Issues||Anthropomorphism, Conservation, Animals in Danger, Pollution, Habitat Destruction, Corporations, Environmental Activism|
|Protagonist’s Identity||Thea Sisters: Nonhuman (Animal), female protagonists|
|Protagonist’s Level of Environmental Agency||Level 5: High Environmental Agency and Activism|
|Settings||Ocean, Fictional Whale Island|
The Thea Stilton series centers on the five Thea Sisters, a group of anthropomorphic mice friends who are studying to become journalists like their idol, the fictional mouse journalist Thea Stilton. In The Thea Sisters and The Mystery at Sea, the sisters attend Mouseford Academy’s annual hot air balloon ride. As they fly over the nearby Turtle Island, they realize that trash now covers the island and the famed marine turtles who nest on its shoreline have disappeared. The Thea Sisters, Professor Van Kraken, and other Mouseford Academy students land the hot air balloon on the island to investigate. They discover that the trash has been created by Richard Malefactor, a wealthy businessman. Malefactor’s competitor, the villainous Vissia de Vissen, arrives and begins to coordinate a cleanup campaign in order to generate publicity for her own cosmetics company. The sisters also find sea turtles hiding in a nearby sea grotto. Thea Sisters Nicky and Violet and Professor Van Kraken follow the turtles deep into the grotto, where they discover baby turtles tangled in trash. They resolve to find the source of the pollution, with the professor declaring, “We need to get moving, girls. This environmental disaster is worse than I thought!” (Stilton 26).
While Nicky and Violet investigate the grotto, the other Thea Sisters–Paulina, Colette, and Pamela–team up with Vissia to prove Malefactor’s guilt. They sneak into his corporate office and steal evidence about his nefarious activities on Turtle Island. However, Malefactor discovers the theft and sends employees to the island to try to cover up the pollution by dumping it into the grottos. In the meantime, Nicky, Violet, and the professor discover another secret grotto, where trash has trapped more sea turtles. They clear the pollution and free the turtles. The other Thea Sisters arrive and catch Malefactor’s employees in the act of littering, proving his guilt. The comic concludes with Vissia vowing to continue to clean the island, telling news reporters, “I can only hope that similar incidents never happen again, and that this splendid landscape continues to remain uncontaminated… and forever free and safe” (Stilton 50). The comic depicts the Thea Sisters directly helping the environment by cleaning the pollution and investigating Malefactor. Additionally, this volume reinforces the series’ criticism of harmful corporate activities that damage the environment, a theme that also appears in the earlier installments The Sea of Whale Island and Revenge of the Lizard Club.