A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that, like other books in the series, Melissa de la Cruz's Escape From the Isle of the Lost is an extended prequel to a Disney Channel Descendants movie (in this case, series finale Descendants 3) in which, once again, nearly every Disney property ever produced makes a cameo appearance and the last page refers readers to the movie to learn what happens after the mini-cliffhanger ending. Along the way there are plenty of entertaining moments for those who've grown fond of Mal, Evie, Jay, Carlos, and their Auradon pals, some comic moments of villainy foiled, and quite a few positive messages of responsibility, friendship, and inclusion as the formerly evildoing teens seek to extend their good fortune to other villain kids. Once again, the characters are much older than the target audience, and not at all complex, but they are, after all, cartoon characters, and their adventures make for good, positive fun.
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What's the story?
As once-villainous Mal, Jay, and Evie look forward to graduating from Auradon Prep, and pal Carlos looks forward to throwing them an epic party, their thoughts turn to other villain kids from their old life, and how they might share their good fortune by offering those kids an ESCAPE FROM THE ISLE OF THE LOST. Specifically, recruiting a few more villain kids to attend Auradon Prep, a project that soon has all four returning (some with more confidence than others) to their old hometown. But not everything goes according to plan, thanks in large part to villains Hades and Uma, smarting from past defeats and seeking revenge.
Is it any good?
Fun, lightweight, and stuffed with Disney characters, this prequel/promo for the final Descendants movie finds the villain kids about to graduate and take on new challenges. The plot, characters, and action in Escape from the Isle of the Lost are all cartoonish, of course, but along the way there's a lot of celebration of friendship, teamwork, loyalty, doing your best, and reaching out to others who could use your help.
"Being a student here at Auradon Prep, I I learned that good is better than evil. I learned to make friends. I learned to love. I learned I don't have to be a certain kind of person because I was born in a certain part of the world. I can be anyone I want to be. I can be strong, and I can be weird, and I can be myself. That's what I learned in Auradon -- that I can change for the better. We all can. Change is good. Because we are all in this together, and only together can we change the world and make it a better place."
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Escape From the Isle of the Lost leads up to the finale of the Descendants film series, Descendants 3, after numerous books, apps, and other spin-offs. Do you have a favorite of the Descendants stories? What do you like about them?
If you've been following the story from the beginning, you know the villain kids have grown and changed along the way. Do you like the direction they've gone in, or do you wish they'd turned out differently?
The character Hades is pretty ancient and wasn't always a blue-haired cartoon. What other stories do you know where he appears? How do they compare to this version?
- Author: Melissa de la Cruz
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Brothers and Sisters, Friendship, High School
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
- Publication date: June 4, 2019
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 272
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: November 15, 2019
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For kids who love fantasy tales and Disney movies
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