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Friday, January 11, 2013

Excellent Graphic Novel! (for 4th graders through 47 year olds)

Kibuishi, Kazu (2012)  Explorer: The Mystery Boxes.  New York:  Amulet

      Brilliant.  Absolutely brilliant.  So this editor guy, Kazu Kibuishi (never heard of him before) is brilliant.  Brilliant, I say. 
      He gathered together some amazing up and coming graphic novel creators (including Raina Telgemeier, author of Smile and Drama; and a bunch of other animators and graphic novel contributors) and asked them to create stories with the common element of a mystery box somewhere in the story.  The resulting book has seven amazingly diverse yet somehow connected stories.  A girl finds a box with a wax doll in it who (much to the delight of the girl) takes over her chores and her homework -- then starts to take over her life (until the girl comes up with a plan to get her life back).  Two friends find a magical box and are amazed when oddly-dressed wizards begin showing up at their door trying to buy it.  A young knight finds that the treature at the end of a quest is not always what you expect.  A young girl hoping to avenge her dad gets a lesson in the futility of war and the value of love.  A young hiker abducted by aliens needs to chose between all that the interplanetary worlds have to offer and the chance to go back and save his planet for environmental destruction.  All these and lots more stories besides. 

      The stories are well told both in terms of text and in terms of the art.  There is everything in here from cartoonish stuff to realistic images  to art that seems to let you pass into another world.  The art and text work well together and let you easily fall into each story. 
      This is an excellent book for introducing kids who may not be familiar with graphic novels into that mode of storytelling.  This is an excellent book for helping kids recognize themes like self-sufficiancy, the value of forgiveness, the glory of friendship. and how sometimes it isn't the end of the search but the saearch itself that is morst important.  Bottom line, though, this is just a good book.

      Fourth graders should be able to read this on their own.  I am 45 years old and I liked it a great deal.  Pick this one up.  You'll enjoy it.

P.S. -- Someone suggested I add a feature that allows folks to sort of subscribe to this blog thing or whatever.  I think I did that.  I think it is to the right of these words (and maybe up a little bit.).  For waht that is worth.

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