Simply enchanting in all its quirks.

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 Books

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A nicely inventive little morality “tail” for newly independent readers.

THE INFAMOUS RATSOS

From the Infamous Ratsos series , Vol. 1

Two little rats decide to show the world how tough they are, with unpredictable results.

Louie and Ralphie Ratso want to be just like their single dad, Big Lou: tough! They know that “tough” means doing mean things to other animals, like stealing Chad Badgerton’s hat. Chad Badgerton is a big badger, so taking that hat from him proves that Louie and Ralphie are just as tough as they want to be. However, it turns out that Louie and Ralphie have just done a good deed instead of a bad one: Chad Badgerton had taken that hat from little Tiny Crawley, a mouse, so when Tiny reclaims it, they are celebrated for goodness rather than toughness. Sadly, every attempt Louie and Ralphie make at doing mean things somehow turns nice. What’s a little boy rat supposed to do to be tough? Plus, they worry about what their dad will say when he finds out how good they’ve been. But wait! Maybe their dad has some other ideas? LaReau keeps the action high and completely appropriate for readers embarking on chapter books. Each of the first six chapters features a new, failed attempt by Louie and Ralphie to be mean, and the final, seventh chapter resolves everything nicely. The humor springs from their foiled efforts and their reactions to their failures. Myers’ sprightly grayscale drawings capture action and characters and add humorous details, such as the Ratsos’ “unwelcome” mat.

A nicely inventive little morality “tail” for newly independent readers. (Fiction. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7636-0

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

This tale of self-acceptance and respect for one’s roots is breathtaking.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2021

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

EYES THAT KISS IN THE CORNERS

A young Chinese American girl sees more than the shape of her eyes.

In this circular tale, the unnamed narrator observes that some peers have “eyes like sapphire lagoons / with lashes like lace trim on ballgowns,” but her eyes are different. She “has eyes that kiss in the corners and glow like warm tea.” Author Ho’s lyrical narrative goes on to reveal how the girl’s eyes are like those of other women and girls in her family, expounding on how each pair of eyes looks and what they convey. Mama’s “eyes sparkl[e] like starlight,” telling the narrator, “I’m a miracle. / In those moments when she’s all mine.” Mama’s eyes, the girl observes, take after Amah’s. While she notes that her grandmother’s eyes “don’t work like they used to,” they are able to see “all the way into my heart” and tell her stories. Here, illustrator Ho’s spreads bloom with references to Chinese stories and landscapes. Amah’s eyes are like those of the narrator’s little sister. Mei-Mei’s eyes are filled with hope and with admiration for her sister. Illustrator Ho’s textured cartoons and clever use of light and shadow exude warmth and whimsy that match the evocative text. When the narrator comes to describe her own eyes and acknowledges the power they hold, she is posed against swirling patterns, figures, and swaths of breathtaking landscapes from Chinese culture. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

This tale of self-acceptance and respect for one’s roots is breathtaking. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-291562-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

more