My rating: 3 of 5 stars
What this book is about:
The Liszts is a family of six who always make lists. The make lists all day everyday unless it’s Sunday; Sunday is listless. Each family member makes lists of different things and for different reasons. But one day a stranger comes to their doorstep and finds the door open so he steps in. But what happens when this strange man is not on anyone’s list?
Looking over the characteristics of this book we see that it’s very, very short (only 40 pages long) and if you skim through it you will see that it’s a picture-dominant story. There is very little text that acts as a reinforcer to the illustrations and helps the reader follow the story. So, going into this book, I was prepared to read something that is made for very young children. Possibly of that age when you are not quite able to read yet so you read through books with your parents and enjoy the pictures more than the actual story.
In that regard, this book is perfect when I first looked at it. The illustrations are great, the colours are wonderful and the pictures are funny and very entertaining. The pictures are the kind of images that you have to take your time to look at and see or all the details and the clever humourous bits inside them. One thing I have to say, concerning the illustrations, is that they are not as playful (if playful is the right word) as I would have liked book illustrations to be as a young child of 4-7 years of age. I say that as an adult who actually enjoyed the pictures in this book a lot so I might be wrong and it could be that children do love the art of the book.
What could be a problem with this book is the content of the story. I felt like this was a story that children will not really understand or relate to. This is the story of people who want everything to follow the rules and to be on a schedule like all adults do and when something unexpected happens, they don’t know how to deal with it. Much like we, the adults, do in our lives. We have a plan, we have a job and a daily life and we are much too busy to deal with distractions and things that throw us out of our routine. And the meaning of the story is to always leave some room for the unexpected, the surprise in your life. Well, this is a great message for us and I definitely agree with it, but let’s not forget that this is a book targetted to an audience that doesn’t understand stressful life and routines and jobs and stuff like that. So, I’m quite unsure about whether kids are going to enjoy this book with such an adult, “heavy” message.
Moreover, the illustrations which, as I already mentioned many times, were very cool, included some cultural references that young kids will not be familiar with (Nina Hagen, David Bowie etc.) It was pretty awesome to see pictures with a reference to one of my favourite bands (Bauhaus) and I think these little details will make the reading experience fun for both the kids but also the adult narrator or co-reader!
In general, this is a very visually pleasing book with a nice message and few but colourful pages. Still, I’m quite skeptical about whether children will actually understand or related on any level with the characters and the morale of the story. If you know of any children who enjoy books with great art, check this little book!
I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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