Thursday, December 6, 2012

Graphic Novel Review - Explorer: The Mystery Boxes edited by Kazu Kibuishi (4/5 stars)

Reading Level: Middle Grade
Genre: Graphic Novel/Fantasy
Size: 128 pages
Publisher: Amulet Books
Release Date: March 1, 2012
ISBN: 978-1419700095
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: Borrowed from Library
Rating: 4/5 stars

This is a graphic novel collection of seven different stories, all of them featuring a mysterious box of some type. It was a high quality book with some excellent stories.

My favorites were: The Keeper’s Treasure (about a boy searching a mysterious labyrinth for a mystery box), The Solider’s Daughter (a girl set on avenging her father finds a box that makes her rethink things), and The Escape Option (a boy is pulled into a mysterious box and given a choice about the future of our planet).

Overall all of the stories are pretty decent and are appropriate for children. The collection is aimed at middle grade and older. I definitely recommend this for fans of fantasy graphic novels. It’s something that readers of all ages can enjoy. Read below for brief descriptions/thoughts on all the included stories.

- Under the Floorboards by Emily Carroll (4/5 stars)
About a secret wax friend that comes out of a mysterious box and goes terribly wrong. Loved the drawing style and the irony of the story.

- Spring Cleaning by Dave Roman and Raina Telgemeier (3/5 stars)
A kid finds a box in his closet that a bunch of mysterious people are dying to get their hands on. Very cartoony illustration with heavy lines.

- The Keeper’s Treasure by Jason Caffoe (5/5 stars)
Loved the illustration on this one, very reminiscent of Kibuishi’s Amulet series which makes sense because Caffoe does some of the color and background for Kibuishi. This one is about a boy braving a labyrinth to discover a secret box. Loved the irony and humor, excellent story.

- The Butter Thief by Rad Sechrist (4/5 stars)
The illustration in this story has a very asian/manga feel to it. I enjoyed the limited colors used and the style. The story is about a girl who gets turned into a spirit and has to figure out how to get turned back. Again lots of irony and very cute and funny.

- The Soldier’s Daughter by Stuart Livingston with Stephanie Ramirez (5/5 stars)
The illustration and color in this story is awesome. This is a very classic fantasy story. A girl finds out her father is dead and leaves to avenge him. On the way she discovers a secret box that makes her reconsider her goals.

- Whatzit by Johane Matte and Saymone Phanekham (3/5 stars)
Very sci-fi and humorous little story. The illustration is very classic cartoony in style. A young apprentice is tasked with keeping the boxes that contain the universe sorted in preparation for landing. When a mysterious box ends up in his keeping all sorts of shenanigans ensue.

- The Escape Option by Kazu Kibuishi (5/5 stars)
The absolutely beautiful and stunning backgrounds and colors that are Kibuishi’s hallmark illustrate this story. In this story a boy gets sucked into a mysterious box and told the earth is on the path of destruction. He is given a choice that will change the outcome...or not. Ironic and very well done. I enjoyed this one a lot.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- Graphic Novel Challenge
- 150+ Books Reading Challenge

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