The Explorers: The Door in the Alley
By Adrienne Kress
One word to describe this book in its entirety is quirky. A book that speaks my language. From the pig in his tiny hat to the cute chapter titles and light-hearted babbling footnotes, The Explorers is a book I recommend to young readers who want to get lost in a realm of adventure, specifically, “The Door in the Alley.”
Pragmatic and a bit of a brainy outcast, 12-year-old Sebastian stumbles into a new social realm one afternoon when he strays off the beaten path in an alley.
He must serve a small punishment after returning a zany pig, who is wearing a teeny hat, to what is revealed to be “The Explorers Society.”
Once in this underground world, he is captivated by the miscellaneous rooms and abundant personalities he encounters. He finds himself unable to feel accepted into this club and is curious of the characters he meets.
Each room in the society is dedicated to the particular interests of explorers and their discoveries from around the world.
I wish we could have delved more into what these rooms had to offer as they seemed unique. For example, the Greenhouse room is dedicated to a husband and wife who find their own particular interest in flora. Therefore, their explorer room is filled with extinct trees, roses, cacti, and aged trees from all points in time around the world. In addition, the same goes for the geology level, the chemistry level, bugs, and insects etc. I craved deeper explanation of these rooms and more history of the society.
Meanwhile, we are introduced to Evie, another outcast character, whose plot seemingly ties into Sebastian’s conflict, when mysterious and dangerous men attempt to obtain a missing key in her presence. The sheer unraveling of events begins when Sebastian uncovers a wooden box, which holds a picture of the original Explorers Society, known as the “Filipendulous Five.” Hellooooooo unsolved mystery!
By the time Sebastian and Evie link up in the story, they have tons of work to do. We watch Sebastian embrace his trust in adventure and break away from his stiff, statistical, demeanor.
The tweens help each other on a quest to obtain this missing key and save Evie’s grandfather, who is the lead member of this unexplained Filipendulous Five group; while avoiding risky villains, untamed clock towers, and snarky zoo animals.
This book, comical in its own diction, had me chuckling out loud at times with subtlety, “And much like mold growing in an unwashed petri dish,” (so random but I love it). My favorite little giggle while reading was woven into the narration, “Dramatic music plays now. Or…..not.
Okay, who’s in charge of the dramatic music, because I was told it was going to play now and it hasn’t and this is seriously unacceptable.”
With an ardent tone throughout, Kress winds up creating a turvy world for young readers who want nothing more than to be entertained and spread their imagination wide with blunt humor. This book, in my opinion, would be best enjoyed with a handful of cookies.
“This story begins, like most stories do, with a pig wearing a teeny hat.” So why wouldn’t you want to add this adventurous read to your trove of treasures? The Explorers: The Door in the Alley.
“Dramatic music plays now. Or…..not. Okay, who’s in charge of the dramatic music, because I was told it was going to play now and it hasn’t and this is seriously unacceptable” – Narrator, Adrienne Kress, The Explorers: The Door in the Alley