- Explorer: The Lost Islands: Seven Graphic Stories ed. by Kauz Kibuishi
This companion title to Explorer: The Mystery Boxes (BCCB 6/12) brings back several contributors and introduces a few new artists, who collectively focus on short graphic stories with an island setting. The first three entries are the strongest: Jake Parker offers a charming parable of a village of bunnies who discover that robot assistance is good, but participation in island life is even better. Chrystin Garland contributes a visually stunning morality tale on a girl’s terrifying brush with death at an island carnival, while Jason Caffoe’s tale is a mini adventure in which a castaway boy finds an unusual way to help the ghost and exoskeleton of a giant crab return to the sea. The remaining four stories, which range from standard teen rebellion woes to the efforts of a drifting radio station deejay to hatch a pixie egg, are less involving, unfortunately, and they suffer from flat, fizzled endings or heavy-duty moralism. Variety of style is the real draw of Kibuishi’s graphic anthologies, and tweens reluctant to stray from their comic-book favorites will find the gamut of visual presentations eye-opening (Garland’s jewel-toned, Fantasia-esque extravaganza contrasts sharply with Parker’s Golden Book throwback bunnies.) This short-work exploration of the strange may capture the imagination of kids a year or two shy of Shaun Tan’s Tales from Outer Suburbia (BCCB 3/09).