Bruno, some of the more interesting days in my life so far

 

BRUNO
A few of the more interesting days in my life so far 

It is the first time that I wrote stories to be illustrated by someone else. I asked Nicolas Hubesch, a French well-known illustrator if he'd like to work with me. The result is this thick book (90 pages!)
It consists of different stories, or chapters. They describe 6 days that Bruno the cat and his friend spend more or less together. The cat is the narrator. 

His friends, an old pony and a canary, and himself all live in a kind of friendly suburbs. Strange things happen sometimes. Nice things too. The atmosphere is slightly absurd, especially when the canary is talking. He mixes up words. 
Some chapters are as long as a regular picture book, others cover just a double page. 

Nicolas and I are working on a following book with these characters.
Age 4 and up
In french: Bruno, quelques jours de ma vie très intéressante , 2015, L'école des loisirs.
In dutch: Victor, een paar dagen uit mijn bijzonder interessante leven, Gottmer

- This book has been nominated in 2016 for the Book Lion (best Dutch or Flemish writen books in the past year and a half
- 2017 Nanterre Joung Reader Award (Nanterre is a city near Paris). Almost 2000 children voted.
- Croqueurs de livres award.  France.

Reviews:

Buzzwords books - Meredith Dawn. June 2017:
In many ways Bruno represents the best in all of us, the inner coach who spurs us on to be optimistic about life and to do our best despite failures. I think this book is suitable not only for children but perhaps for adults too. There’s a really nice message here – an acceptance of what life throws at you and encouragement to hold onto simple faith in the goodness of things.

Kirkus Reviews (US)
 – May 16, 2017:
Readers and listeners with a taste for the quietly surreal may find this an (almost) perfect option. 

The Source – May 11, 2017:
The concluding three pages – making Bruno’s day perfect – constitute a gem of verbal and visual story-telling.
 
The Children’s Bookshop (NZ) – May 11, 2017:
Bruno is full of detailed illustrations of the world where Bruno and his friends live and is an entertaining book for reading aloud and learning to read.
 
Where the Books Are (Australia) – May 1, 2017:
Full of reasons for optimism and a sense of wonder…In mixing offbeat stories with familiar, everyday experiences, Bruno manages to make the everyday seem important and full of potential.
 
The Bookbag (UK) – March 28, 2017:
It’s not absurdity for absurdity’s sake, but a friendly take on the unusual. It could be a heavily-disguised message about taking whatever the world throws at you… But way above all that it’s just a joyfully silly read.
 
Financial Times (UK) – March 28, 2017:
Netherlands-born Catharina Valckx has a writing style that seems to revel in obliqueness and gentle surrealism, well complemented here by French illustrator Nicolas Hubesch’s wobbly-line cartooning. Bruno is a book that blends the mundane and the bizarre to interesting effect and may appeal to quirky primary-schoolers.
 
Youth Services Book Review (US) – March 13, 2017:
Like people, they go on walks and eat snacks. Like animals, they do sometimes want to eat one another. Completely captivating illustrations take center stage here, the style a cross between William Steig and Richard Scarry.
 
Tall, Short, Tiny and a Pickle blog (NZ) – February 22, 2017:
[Children] get the jokes, and the silliness, and I love seeing what cracks them up about each different story. The lines are so dead-pan, but brilliantly delivered, and the illustrations are bold and perfectly detailed to enhance the text.
 
Publishers Weekly (US) – February 7, 2017:
Illustrated with jaunty, Tintin-style drawings, Valckx’s hero, a cat named Bruno, recounts days in which the fantastic and the ordinary collide… Readers will note right away that even Bruno’s normal circumstances are pretty wacky (why are those boars driving that car?); it’s these casual ventures into the surreal that give Valckx’s story its charm.
 
School Library Journal (US) – January 27, 2017:
I kept thinking “I want more books like this!” as I was reading. 
 
The australian blog READINGS - March 2018 :

This is a strange and uncategorisable book, very suitable for strange and uncategorisable children. A little bit chapter book, a little bit picture book, and kind of a graphic novel , Bruno is composed of six stories about Bruno the cat-person’s extraordinary ordinary days, from almost perfect ones to stupid ones. Flying fish, a horse called Ringo, a pleasant power outage, escalator-riding and a car full of wild boars all feature. This is perfect for quirky, silly and wonderfully unique kids. For ages 5 and up.