A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Ben praises books: "They're kingdoms. They're worlds. They're perspectives and opinions I can't offer, from lives I haven't lived." Carlos has a talent for technology. Otherwise, there's little educational content here -- but some interesting reworking of legacy Disney content.
Amid cartoon shenanigans, there's a strong theme of emotionally abused teens discovering escape from truly horrid parents in their growing friendship and mutual support, as everyone's particular traits, talents prove helpful. Unspoken messages of diversity, gender equality: male and female heroes and villains and supporting characters represent a variety of skin tones, style preferences.
Positive Role Models
Prince Ben (son of Beauty and the Beast) is determined to be a good king, makes a bad decision because he lacks wisdom, but quickly learns and makes things right. The villain kids, raised to follow in the ways of their thieving, vain, or otherwise rotten parents, begin to chart a new and better path for themselves as they become friends.
Violence & Scariness
Their quest puts the teen characters through several near-fatal challenges, including being nearly buried alive until one of them answers a riddle. Other scary but cartoonish dangers, like the bear traps in Cruella's coat closet.
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"Hell" comes up a lot, between Cruella's house being Hell Hall and Mal's torturing Evie with Seven Minutes In Hell (in theory, party game). Occasional "crap," "poop," "this blows."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Isle of the Lost: The Graphic Novel is part of Disney's lucrative, multi-platform Descendants franchise (books! TV movies! apps! karaoke!), featuring spun-off characters from legacy Disney franchises. But it has a lot of what made Disney great in the first place, as Robert Venditti's spare dialogue and Kat Fajardo's lively artwork cut to the essentials of Melissa de la Cruz's Isle of the Lost story, a fast-moving one of teens browbeaten by their villainous parents who stumble into friendship and better possibilities. There are many positive messages along the way about teamwork, honesty, friendship, and learning from your mistakes, presented with a light touch and humor.
Is It Any Good?
This addition to Disney's villain-kids franchise may be the best yet, with spare, cut-to-the-chase dialogue, vivid, engaging art, and not a lot of padding or nonsense on the side. The transition to the graphic novel genre is a natural for The Isle of the Lost, and this book is a great intro for first-timers to the series and loads of fun for longtime fans. More volumes are sure to come.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.