Friday 11 November 2016

ReadItDaddy's First Book of the Week - Week Ending 11th November 2016 - "The Liszts" by Kyo Maclear and Julia Sarda (Andersen Children's Books)

Our First Book of the Week is unshakeably cool, gloriously surreal and wonderfully odd. Meet "The Liszts"!
The moment we clapped eyes on this one, we knew it was going to be good. Kyo Maclear and Julia Sarda's awesome "The Liszts" has a cover that begs to be twisted and turned this way and that, to take in the introduction to a decidedly peculiar family.

The Liszts (oh I'm never going to get tired of typing that am I) love lists! Lots of lists. Mum's favourite lists involve infectious diseases and top class football players. Papa loves listing erroneous jobs and tiny winged insects. The youngest boy has a thing for black lego, the eldest daughter (who I would've fallen hook line and sinker in love with as an errant 15 year old) has the coolest music taste. Grandpa loves to list the people who admire him the most, and the people who are most fearful and threatening. And the middle child....

Well we get to find out a bit more about him later in the story, as a completely bizarre stranger walks in through the wide open front door one day. The stranger (with the craziest coolest hairstyle you've ever seen) isn't sure where he fits on any of the Liszt lists, nor is he sure that he should even be there at all. But with a quick trim of his barnet, and a spiritual connection with the imaginative middle child, it becomes clear that he's probably belonged in the family all along!

This page is probably why I'd have fallen completely in love with Ms Liszt as a mooning teen. Kohl Eyeliner, Bowie and Nina Hagen for the WIN!
"The Liszts" has that weirdly bonkers pseudo-gothic surreality of the very best of Charles Addams, fused with a story about making time for others, about embracing other things outside your comfort zone - and of course a goodly dose of plain simple kookiness that has it standing out a mile amongst other children's books.

Every page spread is a delight, with tones of The Addams Family criss-crossed with a delicious almost fastidious attention to detail
We both loved it. Charlotte has developed a taste for stuff like this probably mostly due to my influence, admittedly. It was the sort of book we could both knowingly, silently nod at each other about as it weaves its rather strange but beautifully immersive tale.

I loved it because it borders on the gothic in both humour and feel. The family are the sort of neighbours that would have middle-England types twitching their curtains or writing strong letters of complaint to their local newspaper about, purely because they're 'different' - but different is good, so very good in this case.

One of the most sparklingly and brilliantly original books we've seen this year - and the sort of book we'd really love to see more of. If you're making your own book purchase list, this needs to be at the very top of it.

Charlotte's favourite bit: The family's aloof and awesome moggy seems to steal every scene she crops up in and Charlotte loved that!

Daddy's favourite bit: This book is achingly cool, brilliantly surreal, tinged with gothic undertones. Purposely plays its cards quite close to its chest in the narrative, with gorgeous illustrations you can't help but need ten reads through of the book just to take in all the fine and tiny details. Marvellous, truly marvellous bookage!

(Kindly sent to us for review by Andersen Children's Books)

"The Liszts"

Written by Kyo Maclear

Illustrated by Julia Sarda

Published by Andersen Children's Books

Publication Date: 3rd November 2016