Original title: Bertík a čmuchadlo
Genre: children´s book
The White Ravens 2015, shortlisted for Zlatá stuha 2015 (awarded by the Czech Section of IBBY)
Polish (Afera, 2015, Julia Różewicz), Croatian (Alfa, 2017, Matija Ivačić), Macedonian (Magor, 2021, Jasminka Delova-Siljanová), Russian (Samokat, 2021, Ksenia Timenčik), Slovenian (Celjska Mohorjeva Družba, 2023, Nives Vidrih)
The holidays have started. I’m on the way to Richard’s cottage with him and Mum. I don’t want to go. I’d rather stay with Dad. Then I’d be able to play computer games all day, drink Fanta and eat chips and other stuff I like.
Bertie is nine. His parents are divorced and he lives with his mum. Mum has found a new boyfriend, who Bertie calls a funny name. Bertie is struggling to deal with the changes in his life. It feels like a betrayal. He wants things to go back to how they were before. He’s jealous. He’s angry. He behaves badly towards everyone around him. He does things out of spite. Then in the holidays he encounters a talking creature called a snuffler and his view of the world changes for the better . . .
Thanks to the snuffler Bertie discovers that relationships between people are not as simple as he would like them to be; he also realizes that everything important for his life is still in it. Having come to terms with the existence of Richard and made friends with the snuffler, maybe he’ll make other friends, too.
This first children’s book by Petra Soukupová is an original, extraordinarily authentic story about finding an inner balance.
From the White Ravens annotation:
Nine-year-old Bertík must go to the country with his mother and her new boyfriend – “stupid” Richard. Two more families Bertík can’t stand meet them there, and so he frequently retreats into the nearby forest. There he meets an unusual creature, something between a beaver and warthog. The Snuffalo is mildly annoyed by Bertík, but as a trouble-eater it just happens to be its job to help this child. Together, the two figure out whether or not Richard is really stupid; the Snuffalo also helps Bertík reflect on his own situation. Eventually, the Snuffalo can finally slip away and recover from its exhaustive care work.
(...) It prototypically deals with the conflict-laden, complex parent-child relationship in the aftermath of a divorce.
Reader age: 8+
Illustrated by Petr Korunka
Petr Korunka (born 1980) is an illustrator, graphic artist and comics author. He studied at the Studio of Illustration and Graphic Art at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague (2001–2007) and Pontifica Catolica del Perú in Lima (2004).