Review Blog

Jul 18 2014

Chu's first day at school by Neil Gaiman

cover image

Ill. Adam Rex. Bloomsbury, 2014. ISBN 9781408847039.
(Age: 6+) Recommended. Picture book. School. Anxiety. A sequel to the highly successful, Chu's day, this book has the little bear going to school for the first time. He is anxious about making friends and fitting in. He is worried that the others will not like him. His parents try to reassure him but he is still concerned.
We see him in the classroom where he meets his teacher who has a friendly face. She shows them where the toys are and gets them to sit in a circle and tell each other what they can do. Several of the others do this, the giraffe can lift things down from high places, the monkey can climb trees and the parrot can sing, but Chu cannot think of anything and so stays silent.
But suddenly he does show them what he can do. A gigantic sneeze erupts and throws the roof off the school, sending the classroom into chaos, upturning desks and chairs, throwing everyone around the room. He can do something, and is very pleased with himself, and the others think so too.
He goes home happily.
The bright illustrations follow Chu's story throughout the day, drawing in the background to the story, showing the kind teacher and the range of animals in the class. The standout images of the children doing the things they can do are wonderful as are the last few pages showing the results of Chu's sneeze. This will be a comforting and funny story to read out loud to new arrivals in a classroom or those about to go to school.
Fran Knight

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