Bruno, an anthropomorphic cat whose yellow eyeballs and hipster vibe may remind readers of Pete the Cat, recounts experiences with friends new and old in this French import.
Small, gray Bruno walks upright and wears a blue-checked cap on his oversized head. Valckx divides the first-person narrative into six chapters of varying lengths. Each describes a day in Bruno’s life, whether odd, damp, sans electricity, dumb, boring, or pretty great. On the first, “peculiar” day, Bruno and his friend “Ringo, the old pony,” meet a fish flying through the air then visit her underwater world. The day without power is candlelit and cozy, recounted in just two pages. The rainy day includes a narrow escape from a hungry wolf, and the almost perfect one offers opportunities to play with friends, enjoy ice cream, and (almost) do a good deed. The deadpan tone contrasts humorously with the unlikely events and the quirky all-animal cast. Sophisticated vocabulary and an episodic plot, as well as the relatively lengthy format, suggest that this will be most accessible to older listeners. Hubesch’s cartoon-style illustrations, with a palette dominated by blues and creams and slightly wobbly linework that recalls William Steig, feature vaguely European-looking cityscapes and a wide variety of species.
Readers and listeners with a taste for the quietly surreal may find this an (almost) perfect option; the rest will find other ways to fill their days, and that’s OK. (Fiction. 7-9)