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Nocturnal adventure full of extraordinary encounters

Mr Jules or The End of Everything

Herman van de Wijdeven & Françoise Beck

One evening, the weatherman on television is at his wits’ end; there will be no weather tomorrow. The newsreader is likewise at a loss for words, because it turns out there is nothing to be said about tomorrow. There will be no tomorrow. And outside night is falling. Jonathan’s parents can barely believe it, and Jonathan can sense the umpteenth almighty row brewing. He escapes the house, and goes into town, where he meets the mysterious Mr Jules. The end of everything does not surprise Mr Jules very much, but he is worried about his curious machine which is no longer working. A jet black darkness gradually takes over the city and the night is blacker than ever. When an old caretaker high in an office tower confides to Jonathan that he would have given everything to have followed his great love, Jonathan sees a shaft of light arise from Mr Jules’ house. He thus discovers that dreams can save the world from the big nothing. A race against time begins.

A jewel, this children’s book, of a kind that are few and far between. Astonishing.

Herman van de Wijdeven’s language fizzes with refreshing images. With this mysterious story he brings a message of hope without falling into sentiment or moralising. Van de Wijdeven sketches a nocturnal adventure full of excellent dialogue in lucid language. Françoise Beck’s black-and-white illustrations wink at Quentin Blake with their florid lines, but have their own personal character. An extremely optimistic book about the end of time.

Crisp imagery. Van de Wijdeven affirms his stylistic and narrative power