cover image The Liszts

The Liszts

Kyo Maclear, illus. by Júlia Sardà. Tundra, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-77049-496-1

This gothic-flavored family tale from Maclear (The Good Little Book) puns on the name of the famous composer, but he appears only as a portrait over the household piano. Instead, the members of the Liszt family mostly keep to themselves, making lists of their interests. Mama, be-rouged, lists “ghastly illnesses” and soccer players; bespectacled Papa lists chores and insects; there’s an older sister, younger brother, and grandfather, too, list-makers all. When a stranger enters the house, only middle child Edward will talk to him. “The door was open,” the visitor explains. “I know,” Edward replies. “I left the door open.” Their growing companionship leads to games, inventions, and intriguing questions: “If my arms were stronger, could I pick myself up?” Sardà’s (The Trouble with Twins) stylish spreads carry a whiff of Wes Anderson, with dark woodwork and dark humor, too, as in a spread of the family, fully clothed, sunbathing by their empty pool while Edward sits glumly on the diving board. The joy shared by Edward and the visitor lifts the story out of its velvet-draped languor. Ages 5–9. Author’s agent: Jackie Kaiser, Westwood Creative Artists. Illustrator’s agent: Rebecca Sherman, Writers House. (Oct.)