The Liszts: a humorous, gothic-flavored picture book which celebrates spontaneity and reminds us that the unfamiliar is part of our lives

Kyo Maclear, Júlia Sardà, The Liszts

Published 2016 by Andersen Press, 40p (First published 2016 in Canada by Tundra Books)

 

The Liszts is not for those who expect a little biography on Franz Liszt but for those who obsessively make lists. Preoccupied to record and file all the things we consider important we sometimes forget to explore life with curiosity and to enjoy the marvel of being surprised. The richness of our lives comes not only from the way we organize it but also from the way we embrace the unfamiliar.

The Liszts make long lists. Mama Liszt lists the greatest football players of all times, Papa writes about insects and chores, Frederick, the youngest child puts down all the fun things to do, Winifred, the oldest child, prefers the top ten lists, Edward just makes long lists while Grandpa and the cat record all their admirers and enemies.

mamaandpapa
Copyright: Julia Sarda

Mechanically, they do their lists from Monday to Saturday, from spring until winter.

Their lists filled the house. Scritch, scratch… The lists grew and multiplied.

visitor
Copyright: Julia Sarda

Until one day when the door is left open and a visitor comes in the house. No one in the family is keen to speak to him as he is on no list. Except for Edward who has only questions on his lists. Initially timid and hesitant the two begin to realize that the questions on their lists may have answers if they expand their life experience by allowing the unfamiliar coexist with the rigidity of their existence.

Do colours look the same for everyone?

Where do the things we forget go?

Why do I have two eyes if I only see one thing?

exploring
Copyright: Julia Sarda

The visitor becomes part of their family and they continue to make lists but now they always leave a space at the bottom of the page, just in case something unexpected comes up.

Júlia Sardà’s illustrations, filled with amazing details and reminding of the bizarreness of the Adams Family, introduce the readers in an unconventional, secret world while Kyo Maclear asks valuable existential questions in a witty, humorous way.

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