For Ages
8 to 12

The Explorers: The Quest for the Kid is a part of the The Explorers collection.

The third book in the Explorers series has more mystery, more bravery, more danger than ever before! The perfect read for fans of Chris Grabenstein and The Mysterious Benedict Society!

Sebastian is still at large, kidnapped again!
Evie is still missing her grandfather, the leader of the Filipendulous Five!
And there's still an explorer hanging from the edge of a perilous cliff!
All this and more in the third book in the Explorers series: The Quest for the Kid.


"[A] wildly funny adventure. . . . Animals in teeny hats, Wonderland-style logic, and loads of wordplay and sarcasm will keep readers giggling all the way through." --Kirkus Reviews

"Exhilarating. . . . Fans of a Series of Unfortunate Events will be drawn to this." --Booklist

"A rollicking read, full of derring-do and old-fashioned villainy." --School Library Journal

"Funny, offbeat, and subversive . . . occasional footnotes and other humorous asides from the omniscient narrator break the fourth wall and ramp up the playfulness." --The Horn Book Magazine

"Narrated with a smart, brisk tone and plenty of snark. . . . The Explorers: The Door in the Alley packs plenty of twists, turns and danger." --Shelf Awareness

An Excerpt fromThe Explorers: The Quest for the Kid

In which there is a phone.
Sebastian stared at the phone in Benedict’s palm, held out toward him, a kind offer. The buzz of the Los Angeles International Airport dimmed as Sebastian focused in on the small black box.
He didn’t know what to do.
Well, that is to say, with the phone. He knew in general what he was supposed to do. Or at least, what his friend Evie needed him to do: she needed him to help her find and rescue her grandfather Alistair, leader of the formerly famous exploring team the Filipendulous Five. Alistair was Evie’s only living relative. Sebastian knew that they had to put the team back together, then use the information hidden in the letters that Alistair had sent each of them to rescue him. They’d already gotten as far as finding and recruiting two of the four other explorers—animal expert Catherine and cartographer/photographer Benedict. And Sebastian knew that what he had to do was stay away from the scary trio of thugs in black leather jackets who had shown up a week earlier and were also after Alistair. The men wanted a map that the team had that led to a waterfall that was supposedly a fountain of youth. He knew he had to stay away from those men because he had memorized the key to the map before destroying it and was therefore very important to the bad guys, who had tried to kidnap him. Repeatedly.
All this he knew.
What he didn’t know was what he should do with a small phone sitting in a cartographer/photographer’s palm.
Now, it wasn’t about knowing how phones worked. That was obvious. Or why Benedict wanted him to use it—he wanted Sebastian to call his parents.
It was about knowing whether or not he should.
The thing was, Sebastian had put off calling his parents for a long time, coming up with explanations that pushed reasonableness boundaries at every opportunity. There was the fact that he and the others simply had to keep running away fast from the men in black who wanted his brain, so that he didn’t really have a second or the brain capacity to spare a moment to stop and make a phone call. There was the fact that when he did have a moment, it was while he was accidentally being held hostage by the manager of a K-pop band. The truth was, though, all that was behind him, and Benedict had a phone and Sebastian could have called by now.
But when they’d been in the capital city of Newish Isle and Benedict had been busy forging a passport for Sebastian to get him back home, and they’d had to sit around waiting for that—instead of maybe looking for a phone—Sebastian had decided to focus his mind on the moral question of breaking the law by using a fake passport, taking into consideration the fact that kidnap victims certainly were allowed a little bit of leeway to get back to their home country. To be fair, he had, for a moment, thought that maybe he should get his parents to send him his passport instead. But that would have meant talking to them, and that would have meant he’d have had to make a decision about whether he wanted to call them. So he hadn’t bothered making the suggestion of having his parents send him his passport. He had known that he’d be calling them soon enough. And from American soil. And when he was safe and sound. Which he’d thought might freak them out less. Maybe only a hair less, though.
It was interesting that Evie hadn’t made the suggestion either.
He’d hoped no one would ever actually say anything to him about the whole parents issue. He, Evie, Catherine, and Benedict had made it to Cairns, Australia, and then to Sydney. But when they’d been waiting for their connecting flight home, Evie had finally broached the topic.
He’d said he didn’t want to talk about it.
She hadn’t bugged him about it since.
Which was weird, since, of course, she was very good at bugging him about things.
Now they were in LA, ready to seek out the Kid. Not that they knew for sure he was here, but Benedict seemed pretty confident. The Kid had always wanted to be a stunt-car driver, evidently, and Benedict said that he’d once seen the Kid very briefly in a movie when his face had been accidentally visible.[1] So they’d traveled thousands of miles on a hunch. Definitely not something Sebastian would ever have approved of before. Not really something he approved of now.
But the hunch voyage had given him time to think.
Time was up.
“It’s really time, I think,” said Benedict, no judgment in his tone of voice, though Sebastian was starting to suspect that regardless of tone Benedict did have opinions and wasn’t always mildly ambivalent.
“You’re right. . . .” Sebastian glanced around the airport as if looking for a way out, some kind of magical solution to his situation.
That was when he saw it.
“I think I’ll use that, though.” He pointed at the pay phone on the wall near the restrooms. It looked a little out of place, sad and lonely, unused and unloved. And just what Sebastian needed. Why did he need it? He wasn’t sure. Clearly his consciousness wasn’t quite up to speed with his problem-solving subconscious.
“How strange,” said Benedict, but he withdrew his phone and allowed Sebastian to wander over to the pay one.
“I’ll come too!” said Evie, joining him with a bright smile. “For support,” she said a little more quietly, so as—he imagined—not to embarrass him in front of the grown-ups.
Sebastian appreciated the gesture, but he’d really wanted to do this alone. With no witnesses.
As if he was about to commit a crime or something.
What a strange thing to think.

[1] I too have once been seen briefly in a movie where my face was accidentally visible, which is strange because I don’t remember filming that movie. . . . 

Under the Cover