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Cover image for Bruno, the standing cat
Bruno, the standing cat
First American edition.
New York : Random House, [2019]
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 29 cm
Bruno is an unusual cat who stands on two legs, loves riding his skateboard, and gives great back rubs.
Added Author:


Call Number
JP Robert

On Order



Meet a silly and absurd cat who's like no cat you've ever met before, in this inventive and unusual book from the illustrator of the picture-book version of John Lennon's song "Imagine."

When a box arrives on Peter's doorstep, he opens it to find Bruno, a cat who is standing up on two legs. It is very odd. Bruno likes to chew bubble gum, play house, and skateboard--and refuses to engage in any catlike behavior. But Peter likes Bruno, and so they become friends and do everything they can think of together.

Jean Jullien (illustrator of the picture-book version of John Lennon's song "Imagine") is an emerging picture-book creator who works in a signature thick black line and bold, flat color. His quirky, subversive humor is childlike at its core, and kids will delight in his light and irreverent approach.

Author Notes

JEAN JULLIEN is a French graphic artist living in London. His practice ranges from illustration to photography, video, costumes, installations, books, posters, and clothing to create a coherent yet eclectic body of work. Visit him on the web at jeanjullien.com and on Instagram at @jean_jullien.

Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

One morning, Peter, wearing a sky blue outfit and a wide-eyed expression, hears meowing out of a box labeled "Bruno" that he finds on his doorstep. When he opens it, a cat rises up expectantly on his hind legs, face-to-face with the child. Robert (Toshi's Little Treasures) offers not so much a story as an amusing catalogue of Bruno's accomplishments. When Peter's friend Pam invites him to the park, Bruno goes with them, running on his hind legs. "How did you teach your cat to do that?" Pam asks. "I didn't teach him," Peter says truthfully. "He could always do that." (Bruno looks at the audience with a pleased expression.) Thickly stroked black lines by Jullien (Why the Face?) give bold clarity to his characteristic artwork. A series of images shown against brightly colored matte backgrounds is devoted to the ways Bruno defies feline expectation. He prefers bubble gum to cat food, playing house to batting yarn, and would rather give Peter a massage than scratch the furniture. Bruno's facial expressions provide most of the laughs-they range from horror to disdain to great delight-and the standing cat's distinctive personality makes the book well worth sitting down with. Ages 3-7. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Review

The whimsical story of a cat not bound by stereotypical cat behavior.Early one morning Peter hears a mewing sound. When he goes to check he finds at the door a box with "Bruno" written on it. Upon Peter's opening the box, "Bruno the cat rose up on his back legs. "Gee, Bruno! You're standing!" Peter exclaims. And so starts the story of the friendship between an accepting boy and his unique cat. Pam, Peter's friend, has many questions about Bruno: "Can Bruno catch mice?" "Does Bruno like to play with balls of yarn?" "Does Bruno scratch his claws everywhere?" Jullien's depictions of Bruno's reactions to the banality of the questions are perfect. Of course a cat that prefers standing on his hind legs also prefers chasing mice on a skateboard; playing house and serving tea; giving back rubs and chewing bubble gumand he's an ace at catching a thrown ball. For Peter, though, the most important thing is that Bruno "is [his] friend!" The simple, cartoonlike illustrations, heavily outlined in black and backgrounded by saturated pastels, are as whimsical as the story. The tuxedo cat's expressions as it regards a bowl of kibble or gets down and boogies are priceless. Peter has olive skin and straight, black hair while Pam has brown skin and a tight, black Afro.Originally published in French, this Canadian import should be a welcome addition to the unique-pets bookshelf. (Picture book. 3-6) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

Bruno, a tuxedo cat, isn't your average kitty something Peter quickly finds out and, happily, doesn't mind in the least. Delivered to Peter's front doorstep, Bruno stands up on his hind legs as soon as his box is opened, and bipedal he stays. Peter, who has always wanted a cat and doesn't care a lick that Bruno walks on two legs rather than four, happily adopts him. After school one day, Peter's friend Pam joins them at the park, and she's full of questions about what a standing cat does. It turns out that standard feline activities, from mousing to playing with yarn, are of no interest to Bruno, who would rather skateboard or chew bubble gum. This comical story upends reader expectations and is perfect for group sharing. Its one-dimensional, thick-lined illustrations are positioned on simple backgrounds, often a solid color, which allows young readers to stay focused on Bruno's antics. A sweet concluding scene draws this entertaining story about individuality and friendship to a close.--Julia Smith Copyright 2019 Booklist

New York Review of Books Review

Lazy, rambunctious, downright weird: The cats and dogs in these stories are hilarious - and relatable. it's almost too easy to write children's books in which cats and dogs are the heroes and protagonists. By definition, our favorite pets are already amazing characters with distinct and hilarious personalities who loom large in our lives and imagination. But this spring brings a few standouts that young picture book listeners and readers will love. you know that dream you have where you're trying to get somewhere, but every time you think you've arrived, a trapdoor flies open or something slips from your hands or you're a split second too late to catch the train? The adorably frustrating HOW TO GIVE YOUR CAT A BATH: In Five Easy Steps (Tundra, 40 pp., $17.99; ages 3 to 7), written by Nicola Winstanley ("Cinnamon Baby") and illustrated by John Martz ("A Cat Named Tim"), is the preschool version of that. The mission is simple: An ambitious little girl with two bright pink buns wants to give her cat, Mr. Flea, a bath. The execution of this plan? Not so simple. There's the matter of water temperature and level, not to mention the fact that we are talking about, um, a cat. Mr. Flea, like most members of his species, isn't a huge fan of getting wet, and before we know it, five steps become 10-plus steps, as Mr. Flea's owner gives chase around the house, scarfing down cookies (a crucial step, naturally) and destroying the house along the way. Reminiscent of the "If You Give a Moose a Muffin" series, it will have young readers slapping their foreheads in exasperation, but will reward them with a sweet, funny ending. (As well as a lesson: Sometimes the easiest way to do something is the most obvious.) Martz's colorful line drawings match the happy, manic energy. unlike many of the cats who appear in children's books (and New Yorker cartoons for that matter), the protagonist of BRUNO, THE STANDING CAT (Random House, 48 pp. $17.99; ages 3 to 7), written by Nadine Robert and illustrated by Jean Juliién, possesses none of the stereotypical calculating aloofness that makes our feline friends such ready-made caricatures. What he does have, however, is a very special trait: He can stand upright on two legs, just like a human! After Bruno shows up in a cardboard box on young Peter's doorstep, the two become fast friends, as they romp through parks and play house together and celebrate all the remarkable things Bruno can do that typical cats cannot. Bruno can't chase mice, but he can ride a skateboard. He can't chase a ball of yarn, but he can pour a cup of tea. He doesn't scratch his claws everywhere, but he knows how to blow a bubble with bubble gum. Upside down! Peter takes tremendous pride in his new friend's uniqueness, and the evergreen message is as satisfying as ever: Fitting in is soooo boring! Fans of the French illustrator Juliién will recognize his signature graphic images and his gift for infusing humor into the simplest of renderings. It's hard to look at Bruno's expressive yellow eyeballs and not laugh. DROOLY fool, sardine stinker. Sheepskin with legs. Werewolf. Wet mop. Mangy. Shredhead. These are only a fraction of the words used to address the poor, nameless hero Of DUMPSTER DOG! (Enchanted Lion, 64 pp., $17.99; ages 7 to 10), Written by Colas Gutman and illustrated by Marc Boutavant; translated by Claudia Bedrick and Allison M. Charette. This chapter book - already popular in France, where it has been made into a hit TV show - is for kids who can appreciate a little more action and a lot more voice in their reading. (There's more than a hint of Lemony Snicket's dark hilarity in Gutman's writing.) Born in a garbage can and best friends with Flat Cat (so named for being run over by a truck at 3 months old), our friend may be the most lovable ding-a-ling to come along since Amelia Bedelía. He dreams of finding an owner even while he's not entirely sure what an owner is. After some hapless adventures as a failed guard dog, he finds his forever home by doing what dogs do best: being resilient and remaining loyal to those who count on him. Boutavant's characters aren't your typical cute and cuddly types - they're rough around the edges and a little off. (Think George Booth's famously agitated pets.) In other words, they look exactly how you want them to look. IN OLIVE & PEKOE: In Four Short Walks (Greenwillow, 40 pp., $17.99; ages 3 to 7), Written by Jacky Davis (the Ladybug Girl series) and illustrated by Giselle Potter ("This Is My Dollhouse"), the title characters have their differences, like most friends. Olive is old and wise, Pekoe is young and starry-eyed. Olive is patient and calm, Pekoe is excitable and rambunctious. Olive sees the big picture, Pekoe has a hard time seeing beyond what's right in front of him, as when they encounter a mean dog and rowdy play at the dog park. "Pekoe is bothered by some of their rough behavior, Olive understands that most dogs are all bark and no bite." The adventures of the two mixed-breed dogs are organized not by four acts but by four walks, and we get to watch the affectionate dynamic unfold between the friends as they walk in the woods, console each other during a thunderstorm and encounter a chipmunk. On that last walk: "Olive is not impressed to see a chipmunk darting through the leaves. Pekoe can't believe how great it is that the world has chipmunks in it." It's a good reminder that one of the strongest cases for having a friend who is different is that you get to see the world through a completely different set of eyes. Potter's artwork will remind you of classic Maira Kalman: warm, colorful, somehow both fanciful and sophisticated. WE'VE ALL HEARD IT BEFORE: Live with your pet long enough and you start to resemble each other - maybe even rub off on each other. In the charming my cat LOOKS LIKE MY DAD (Owlkids, 32 pp., $17.99; ages 4 to 8), by Thao Lam ("Wallpaper"), the narrator walks us through how similar her mop-headed father is to their lazy, shaggy cat. They look alike, they share an affection for milk and sardines ("ewwww"); they stretch early in the morning and nap in the afternoon; they're afraid of heights and aren't exactly the tidiest members of the house. A special twist at the end serves to remind us that family can be defined in many ways beyond blood and physical resemblance, and when you spend enough time with someone, share a house and meals and the most mundane moments of day-today life, that's as good a definition as any. Lam's brightly colored paper-collage illustrations are unique and silly, a winning combination. JENNY ROSENSTRACH writes about books and food on her blog, Dinner: A Love Story. Her most recent book is "How to Celebrate Everything."