July 21, 2016

THE LISZTS

I feel like have been waiting for Kyo Maclear's and Júlia Sardà's The Liszts my whole life. It might sound dramatic, but, hey, the Liszts are a dramatic people. A family of seven (including the cat), the Liszts make lists like they're going out of style.​ There are lists on the walls, the floors, the piano... everywhere. And if you're not on a list then​ you're dismissed pretty quickly. Until one day a stranger shows up and​ teaches the family how to open their minds.

The digital illustrations are just phenomenal. They're incredibly well-defined, the color palette is perfect for this unusual family, and Sardà knows how to balance filling up space to ​punctuate Maclear's text (which is actually handwritten by​ Sardà​ herself!).​ Maclear and​ Sardà​ do a fantastic job of characterizing these people through text and illustration: we learn that the mother likes to make lists of ghastly illnesses, but she also enjoys making lists of soccer players. Every character is multi-faceted, albeit very one-track minded, and there's enough detail in the illustrations for us to connect with each and every character.


The first spread is literally the family buried under a pile of lists, and it sets the tone for the book perfectly. This is a close-knit family with very focused interests. There's no room for anything outside of what they know, and the family is so engrossed in their lists that they fail to see the world around them. The stranger--who clearly doesn't have a place to belong--is the perfect catalyst for this family to open their minds and think outside the box. In the end everyone benefits: the Liszts learn to recognize that not everything can be planned, and the stranger finds a home


The Liszts publishes from Tundra Books October 4!