Simply enchanting in all its quirks.

READ REVIEW

THE LISZTS

A family of list aficionados gets an unexpected guest in this offbeat tale.

The Liszts spend their time making lists. Regardless of the season, the family writes lists “every day except Sundays, which were listless." Each member, of course, specializes in a particular topic. For example, Mama ponders lists of "ghastly illnesses" and soccer greats, while Papa comes up with lists of "dreaded chores and small winged insects." Meanwhile, Grandpa weighs in on his great admirers and fearsome enemies. Even the cat joins in. When a visitor arrives one day, no one’s keen on paying the visitor any attention. After all, he’s not on anybody’s list. So it goes until the visitor sees the middle Liszt child, who holds a list of questions. "He had a good feeling about this one." Reminiscent of the best nonsense children’s books, Maclear’s wry tale oozes pure whimsy. The text revels in offbeat sincerity, wringing chuckles out of juxtapositions and amusing dialogue. Happily, Sardà’s digital illustrations capture the Liszts’ quaint strangeness. Drab, muted colors prevail throughout most of the artwork, lending a sense of Gothic order to the Liszts’ chaotic household. Intertextual visual details pop up occasionally, while most pictures feature unusual perspectives to frame the family. In the end, the visitor’s visit shakes up the Liszt household in all the best ways.

Simply enchanting in all its quirks. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-77049-496-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Tundra

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Fun but earnest, this rhyming romp reminds readers that one young person can make a difference.

SOFIA VALDEZ, FUTURE PREZ

From the Questioneers series

Sofia Valdez proves that community organizers of any age can have a positive impact.

After a trash-heap eyesore causes an injury to her beloved abuelo, Sofia springs into action to bring big change to her neighborhood. The simple rhymes of the text follow Sofia on her journey from problem through ideas to action as she garners community support for an idyllic new park to replace the dangerous junk pile. When bureaucracy threatens to quash Sofia’s nascent plan, she digs deep and reflects that “being brave means doing the thing you must do, / though your heart cracks with fear. / Though you’re just in Grade Two.” Sofia’s courage yields big results and inspires those around her to lend a hand. Implied Latinx, Sofia and her abuelo have medium brown skin, and Sofia has straight brown hair (Abuelo is bald). Readers will recognize Iggy Peck, Rosie Revere, and Ada Twist from Beaty’s previous installments in the Questioneers series making cameo appearances in several scenes. While the story connects back to the title and her aptitude for the presidency in only the second-to-last sentence of the book, Sofia’s leadership and grit are themes throughout. Roberts’ signature illustration style lends a sense of whimsy; detailed drawings will have readers scouring each page for interesting minutiae.

Fun but earnest, this rhyming romp reminds readers that one young person can make a difference. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3704-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Patchy work, both visually and teleologically.

YOU'RE HERE FOR A REASON

The sultana of high-fructose sentimentality reminds readers that they really are all that.

Despite the title, we’re actually here for a couple of reasons. In fulsome if vague language Tillman embeds one message, that acts of kindness “may triple for days… / or set things in motion in different ways,” in a conceptually separate proposition that she summarizes thus: “perhaps you forgot— / a piece of the world that is precious and dear / would surely be missing if you weren’t here.” Her illustrations elaborate on both themes in equally abstract terms: a lad releases a red kite that ends up a sled for fox kits, while its ribbons add decorative touches to bird nests and a moose before finally being vigorously twirled by a girl and (startlingly) a pair of rearing tigers. Without transition the focus then shifts as the kite is abruptly replaced by a red ball. Both embodied metaphors, plus children and animals, gather at the end for a closing circle dance. The illustrator lavishes attention throughout on figures of children and wild animals, which are depicted with such microscopically precise realism that every fine hair and feather is visible, but she then floats them slightly above hazy, generic backdrops. The overall design likewise has a slapdash feel, as some spreads look relatively crowded with verses while others bear only a single line or phrase.

Patchy work, both visually and teleologically. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-05626-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more