Explorer: The Lost Islands, edited by Kazu Kibuishi, 128 pp, RL 3

In 2012 we were treated to Explorer: The Mystery Boxes, edited by Kazu Kibuishi, author of the amazing Amulet graphic novel series (waiting anxiously for Book 6...) and illustrator of the cover art for the 15th anniversary editions of the Harry Potter books (scroll to the bottom for images and a link to even MORE images). Once again, an amazing group of graphic novelists convenes to create Explorer: The Lost Islands. Greats like Jake Parker (Missile Mouse), Raina Telgemeier (Smile, Drama) and her husband Dave Roman (Astronaut Academy), Michel Gagné (ZED: A Cosmic Tale), Katie Shanahan and her brother, Steven, (Shrub Monkeys) Jason Caffoe, a contributor to Flight 7 and Chrystin Garland, freelance animator and digital artist, lend their talents to this volume. Each of the seven stories in Explorer: The Lost Islands takes place on or ends up on an island and is as individual as the artists who created it.

Explorer: The Lost Islands kicks off with Jake Parker's story, Rabbit Island, is a Little Red Hen sort of story with a retro comic strip style of illustration and a color palette markedly different from Missile Mouse. I especially love this story because there's a robot in it.

Chrystin Garland's story, The Mask Dance, is an exciting adventure and a bit haunting. A diligent young girl is tricked by a mask-wearing reveler into heading off to a festival on a nearby island...

Radio Adrift by Katie and Steven Shanahan is a fantastic story that reminds me a bit of Kiki's Delivery Service. Wiya, a mage in training, has one big project to complete for school this year - hatch her pixie egg. Pixie eggs, it seems, only hatch when they hear a certain sound, a sound individual to each egg.  Wiya is sure she is going to fail as she watches the eggs of all her classmates hatch until she discovered something very special coming from the radio and a DJ with a magic voice.

The final story in Explorer: The Lost Islands is a real big fish story that ends in a very surprising way. Actually, I feel like all seven of these stories have superb surprise endings that I can't say too much about. Which is exactly why you need to run out and buy Explorer: The Lost Islands and Explorer: The Mystery Boxes if you don't already own it!

Source: Review Copy

To see ALL of Kazu's cover art (and back cover art) as well as the super cool boxed set with images of Hogsmeade, the Hogwarts Express, professors and students from the books, click HERE. Happily, I had a good reason to buy this new edition. My nine year old has just started listening to the audio books and he had a birthday, so I felt completely justified purchasing a fourth set of Rowling's books for him to read. I just hope he realizes those books are really mine...

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