A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
The Lost Carnival presents a nostalgic view of traveling circus life.
Parents and children may have different ideas for their futures, but they can work together toward common goals. Friends stick by each other in times of adversity. First loves may not last very long.
Positive Role Models
Dick Grayson is stubborn, brash, and impulsive, eager to leave the circus and his parents behind. He's also loyal, compassionate, and brave. A crime-fighter in the making. Luciana and Willow are girls of color. The rest of the cast is White.
Violence & Scariness
Members of rival circuses instigate a street fight. Monsters from another dimension attack Dick and his friends. A boy is disfigured in a fire.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Dick falls in love with Luciana almost at first sight, and they share a passionate kiss or two.
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One or two uses of "hell" and "damn."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Teens at a swimming hole seem to be drinking adult beverages.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Lost Carnival is a graphic novel focused on Dick Grayson, Batman's future sidekick. Written by Michael Moreci and illustrated by Sas Milledge, the book follows teen trapeze artist Dick as he encounters a rival carnival and falls in love with a girl with mysterious powers. Violence includes a fistfight, a fire, and battles against interdimensional monsters, but nothing too disturbing. There's a hint of teen romance, one or two uses of "hell" and "damn," and a scene with under-age beer drinking. But The Lost Carnival is wll suited for younger teen comics readers.
Is It Any Good?
It can be illuminating to see a young superhero-in-the-making discover his powers, and this early adventure of a comics favorite presents intriguing action and character revelation. Written by Michael Moreci and illustrated by Sas Milledge, The Lost Carnival presents its protagonist in an interesting new light, just beginning to master the powers he will later need to survive as Batman's teen sidekick. The trouble is, Dick is kind of a jerk -- impulsive, stubborn, needy, controlling. In the end, he comes through for his friends and parents, implying that he will eventually achieve Boy Wonder status. The fantasy plot doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but the narrative moves with enough energy to obscure its implausibility.
Milledge captures the tawdry flash of the carnival setting, choreographs elaborate action episodes, and designs expressive characters. This is not the best of the recent YA graphic novels from DC, but Batman and Teen Titans fans will likely enjoy its retro ambience.
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.