The Liszts

illus. by Júlia Sardà. 40p. Tundra. Oct. 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781770494978.
K-Gr 3—"The Liszts made lists. Scritch, scratch. They made lists most usual. And lists most unusual." In this dark and droll picture book, readers are introduced to a peculiar family whose members specialize in creating particular types of lists. Each day is the same, filled with lists of ghastly illnesses and small, winged insects, "except Sundays, which [are] listless." One day, however, when a strange visitor appears, curious middle child Edward opens the door, widening the Liszts' world and allowing a bit of joy and whimsy to enter their lives. Maclear uses language deliberately and sparingly, with several well-placed puns. Sardà's digital graphics add depth and detail, from the textures of each textile in the intricately decorated old-fashioned house to the facial expressions on the odd cast of characters. Hand-lettered text, especially in the lists themselves, tie the book together seamlessly. This title feels familiar and yet entirely one of a kind; it is the Addams Family mashed up with a Wes Anderson movie, as illustrated by Edward Gorey, with a touch more color and magical realism. And in the end, the moral is an important one: leave room at the end of your list "just in case something unexpected comes up."
VERDICT An entirely unique book, ideal for one-on-one sharing, with rich illustrations and a quaint story worth poring over.

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