Sunday, 19 February 2012

Kazu Kibuishi - Explorer: The Mystery Boxes - Review


  • Reading level: Ages 9 and up
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams (March 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 141970009X

Like the lesson of Schrödinger’s Cat, what exists within a box is possibilities—when opened, we all have to face the reality of that decision. The tales in this anthology—which add up to a kind of Twilight Zone for younger readers—offer characters who encounter the mystery boxes of the title, with no unification beyond their geometry and their role as catalysts to unexpected narrative turns. Gathering multiple creators to work within that concept, editorial dynamo Kibuishi (the author of the Amulet series) creates a mixture of laughs and creeps, with some philosophy thrown in, as well as the kind of graphical triumphs expected from Kibuishi’s previous Flight collections. Outstanding among the contributions are the spooky tale of a sinister doppelgänger invading a girl’s life by up-and-coming comics star Emily Carroll; Dave Roman and Raina Telgemeier’s comedy of wizarding errors and online bidding wars; and Rad Seachrist’s romp involving a teenage girl, an introduction to the basics of Shintoism, and a manic butter thief driving a grandma to the brink. All the stories offer top-notch storytelling while providing readers with something more to think about without being overbearing in their intellect.

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