Elements of a book that almost always will hook a middle grade reader.
The Explorers: The Door in the Alley
by Adrienne Kress
published by Delacorte Press
Featuring a mysterious society, a secretive past, and a pig in a teeny hat, "The Explorers: The Door in the Alley" is the first book in a new series for fans of "The Name of This Book Is a Secret" and "The Mysterious Benedict Society. "Knock once if you can find it but only members are allowed inside.
This is one of those stories that start with a pig in a teeny hat. It s not the one you re thinking about. (This story is way better than that one.)
This pig-in-a-teeny-hat story starts when a very uninquisitive boy stumbles upon a very mysterious society. After that, there is danger and adventure; there are missing persons, hired thugs, a hidden box, a lost map, and famous explorers; and there is a girl looking for help that only uninquisitive boys can offer.
"The Explorers: The Door in the Alley" is the first book in a series that is sure to hit young readers right in the funny bone."
My Quick Thoughts
I'm always looking for books that will keep readers interested. That make them want to come back for more. This book has that for so many reasons....
- While it takes a bit to start the action, once it does, it's non-stop! I found myself staying up late to keep reading!
- Kress takes time to set up the characters and as a result, you really care for them once the adventure begins. I needed to make sure Evie was going to be taken care of and okay. I felt for Sebastian, as he fought between helping Evie and doing what was expected of him.
- As a young reader, I loved the idea of secret clubs and societies that were maybe just a bit dangerous. This book was stepping inside the shoes of characters that young readers want to BE! We're so lucky to go along this ride.
- There is a mysterious narrator that breaks the fourth wall and has conversations with the reader. It's like getting an extra window into the book! And then there are footnotes that take us onto tangents, that while maybe not adding to the plot, makes the book humorous.
- Chapter names - they all begin with "In which...." It reminds me of the Friends episode names - "the one where..."
- The bad guys are just creepy. One has his jaw wired shut with exposed wires coming out from his lip, and the other guy's face is half melted. I feel like both of them have spin-off stories that need to be told!
- The book is definitely set up for more stories. There are characters that we don't meet, but probably have big parts of upcoming stories. Upcoming stories? Definitely, as this one leaves us with a HUGE cliffhanger!
- AND, Disney has already optioned the rights for this book to make into a movie. You know what that means, right? You have to read the book first!
Whether you use this book as a read aloud or add it to your classroom library, it's going to be a very popular read! Want to hear more about it? Check out what other reviewers have to say!
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