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Explorer: The Mystery Boxes Paperback – March 1, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Kazu Kibuishi is the creator of Amulet, the award-winning middle school graphic novel series, and the editor and art director of eight volumes of Flight, the influential, Eisner-nominated graphic anthology. His earlier work Daisy Kutter was named a YALSA Best Book for Young Adults. He lives in Alhambra, California.


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 4 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 370L (What's this?)
  • Series: Explorer
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams (March 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 141970009X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1419700095
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,119 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kazu Kibuishi is the writer and artist of the New York Times Bestselling AMULET graphic novel series, published by Scholastic. He is also the editor/art director/cover artist of the EXPLORER and FLIGHT Comic Anthologies, and is the cover illustrator of the Harry Potter 15th Anniversary Edition paperbacks from Scholastic. His debut graphic novel, Daisy Kutter: The Last Train, won a YALSA Best Books for Young Adults Award.

Born in Tokyo, Japan, Kazu moved to the U.S. with his mother and brother when he was a child. He graduated from Film Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2000, and moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in the entertainment industry. He currently works as a full-time graphic novelist. Kazu lives near Seattle, Washington with his wife and two children.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Andrew C Wheeler VINE VOICE on September 15, 2012
Format: Paperback
So, first there was the series of Flight anthologies, edited by Kazu Kibuishi -- they showcased mostly younger cartoonists, mostly people working in and around animation, and weren't officially for younger readers, though they were almost entirely young-reader-friendly. Flight ran eight annual volumes, and ended last year.

There was a spin-off anthology, Flight Explorer, which was specifically targeted to younger (roughly tween) readers -- though with pretty much the same crew of creators, very similar or the same main characters, and not much difference from the main Flight volumes. That was published in 2008, and was billed as "Volume One," though a second volume hasn't yet appeared.

And now there's EXPLORER: THE MYSTERY BOXES, which smells a whole lot like a themed FLIGHT EXPLORER, VOLUME TWO: seven graphic stories, edited by Kibuishi, all about mysterious magical/scientific/marvelous boxes and the people that open them, also aimed at middle-grade readers. Now, my major problem with the big FLIGHT anthologies is that they were each three hundred pages of stories that were all mostly the same kind of thing: young or otherwise naifish protagonists wandering through big, visually exciting worlds, learning Important Lessons, being Nice, and probably saving something along the way. FLIGHT EXPLORER was better: it focused on adventure, not so much on lessons, though it also seemed to be trying to launch each of its main characters as the hero of a series of separate graphic novels. (And the moderate success of that might be why we haven't seen a second volume.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By S. O'Donnell on February 27, 2012
Format: Paperback
This is a fantastic compilation of short graphic novel stories, put together by eight top comic creators. Seven different stories and fabulous color graphics will keep middle grade readers engaged for hours. Both my 10-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter LOVED it. In fact, I had to steal it from my daughter in order to write this post.

My son's favorite thing about these stories was the endings. He told me he loved the way they kept the mystery alive, even at the end, and then insisted on reading three of the endings to me. Both kids loved the recurring theme of the mystery boxes in every story. I love the graphics.

If you like kid-friendly graphic novels, I highly recommend picking up a copy of this one.
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 19, 2012
Format: Paperback
Boxes. Boxes with mystery contents. They may have treasure, or a demon, or an alien creature, or even a demonic wax doll. Each of the seven stories in "Explorer: The Mystery Boxes" revolves around a... well, a mysterious box that changes the life of whoever handles it. A couple of the stories are too goofy for me to really get into them, but the others are simply sublime -- bittersweet, hopeful, charming and/or creepy.

The stories, in order, are:
- A girl finds a box with a wax doll inside. But while the doll initially helps her with her chores, it also begins to cause trouble... and refuses to leave.
- While cleaning his closet, Oliver finds a strange puzzle box -- and is immediately swamped by greedy wizards who want to buy it from him. However, Oliver has his own plans for the box.
- A young treasure-hunter ventures into a vast labyrinth, and finds a mysterious box with the help of a horned creature. What is inside? And can it match the horned creature's dreams?
- After her grandmother claims to have caught a butter-stealing spirit in a box, a curious girl digs it up and checks inside... and ends up being transformed into a teeny-tiny spirit herself. How can she get back?
- After her father is killed, Clara sets out for vengeance against the man who killed him. But when she meets a stranger with a glowing box, she learns the true price of war.
- Alien worker Deets is assigned to organize thousands of boxes... only to discover that something very destructive is inside one. Will it ever come in handy?
- While James is hiking, he is drawn up into a vast floating box. Inside, an alien tells him that the Earth is doomed, and that he has been chosen out of all humans to be taken to another world.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A. Silverstone VINE VOICE on April 4, 2014
Format: Paperback
The graphic artists in this collection were given an assignment. Write a story about a mysterious box and the marvels inside. The 7 stories that resulted are very different, of course, but very entertaining. The first story, "Under the Floorboards" by Emily Carroll features a twist on the golem story. The wax figure from the box who seems to be ideal helper for the unnamed girl shows that there can be too much of a good thing. "The Butter Thief" by Rad Sechrist takes us into the Japanese demiworld with a not quite malevolent spirit on a quest for butter. "The Escape Option" by Kazu Kibuishi who also edited this collection, uses a deus ex machina devise to help nudge mankind onto the right path.

The stories can be thought provoking, and the beauty of the varied styles from each artist gives you a taste of their work.
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