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Comics for All Ages: The Family Circus

Family Circus books

The Family Circus

Keane, Bil. The Family Circus By Request. Carmel: Guideposts Books, 1998. Print.

The Family Circus is modeled after author Bil Keane’s real family and gives readers a realistic portrayal of two parents raising four very active children in Scottsdale, Arizona. The strips primarily feature the children as the main protagonists, but the parents are included in most strips as well as enforcer and upholders of family discipline and love.

Visual and Textual Style: expository, simple, childlike

Potential Readers/Appeal Factors: wholesome, realistic slice of life, relatable


  • Won National Cartoonists Society’s Award for Best Syndicated Panel in 1967, 1971, 1973, and 1974.
  • Named the Society’s Cartoonist of the Year and received the Reuben Award in 1982.
  • Received the Elzie Segar Award in 1982
  • Tenth recipient of the Arizona Heritage Award in 1998.
  • Won Silver T-Square Award from the National Cartoonist Society in 2002

Other Pertinent Information

  • Most widely syndicated comic in the world by appearing in 1,500 newspapers
  • Has appeared in animated form in three television specials
  • In 2002, a home computer educational video game was released.

Subject Guide