The Explorers: The Door in the Alley by Adrienne Kress
We dig this eye-catching cover!
The interior of the book showing a couple of the drawings plus one of the author's clever footnotes which are sprinkled throughout the text. Very fun and kid-friendly!
This is an excellent book for eager reading middle grade boys or girls. Kids will find a familiar plot line but they will be wowed by the many unique elements and the fun characters.

Sebastian, the lead, is a very orderly, studious, habitual kid whose carefully organized existence is threatened when he discovers--yes--a door in an alley near his home. Through the door is a fabulous place known as The Explorers Society which is full of fascinating things, people and rooms. Such as a room that’s only a giant slide, one full of glass jarred exotic specimens, and a room packed with only leather chairs of different sizes and shapes. Oh and there is an enormous tree growing from the bottom of the building, through a central channel, all the way to the roof and beyond. Plus there’s a massive library spread out on all the interior balconies surrounding this tree. AND there is a tree house at the tip top of it where the characters take tea.

Obviously, The Explorer’s Society itself is magnificent and I could go on and on. Miss Kress really uses her wonderfully creative imagination as she describes this place. Yet there’s even more to the book.

It’s packed with action which kicks up when Sebastian meets a young girl named Evie who is fleeing an extremely dangerous situation and is desperate for help in finding her missing grandfather. Together, the two kids face increasingly harrowing situations as they dash about the city trying to discover pieces of a map which will aid them in solving Evie’s grandpa’s mysterious disappearance. Readers will find their adventure has a bit of everything; narrow escapes, twists and turns, spying, rescues, an enormous snake, plus more. Including, as the back blurb will tell you, a pig with a tiny hat. Actually, in this tale, there are many animals with small hats. Very curious indeed.

Speaking of the back blurb, that part, as well as the cover, and the whole book design in general, are all quite beautiful. There are many neat drawings sprinkled around in the book, which kids will love. And the writer includes several footnotes throughout the story, with little explanations, jokes and anecdotes--all of which are very kid-friendly.

The only minor negatives I found in the story are the bad guys have pistols and they often shoot at Sebastian and Evie. Nothing terribly happens and it’s not overly scary in my opinion. But there are guns, so be aware of this. Also the overall plot structure is a little bit familiar with a mismatched duo of kids looking for clues to rescue a missing family member. Youngsters who read a lot will have seen this concept many times before. However, this book still remains unique and enjoyable thanks to the author’s vivid imagination, curious characters, and excellent writing.

I recommend The Explorers: The Door in the Alley as an action-packed, cleverly created, thoroughly appropriate and exciting book for 6-10 year old boys or girls. It’s the first of a series and the end of this one is a giant cliffhanger with no clear resolution. So be prepared to be eagerly anticipating Book 2, just like all of us readers here in this house are!

Happy Reading!

(I received a free ARC of the book by replying to a promotional email from the publisher. I have provided an honest review.)
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