Chu's Day by Neil Gaiman

cover image

Illustrated by Adam Rex. Published by Harper Collins, 2013. Hardcover. ISBN 9780 0620 17819.
(Ages: 3 - 8) Highly recommended. Neil Gaiman has written a book for his youngest audience yet. This is the tale of Chu, a little Panda with a big BIG sneeze. Chu's sneezes always lead to trouble. When Chu sneezes, Bad Things happen.
This is a simple story which is brought amazingly to life by the detailed and quirky illustrations of Adam Rex. There are small, delightful details (such as an elephant sized space for elephants at the library, the aviator goggles, the expression on Chu's face when he sneezes) which add a huge degree of richness to what is a fairly straightforward text.
There are many elements of the story which make it ideal for beginning readers - this is a text where there are many opportunities to predict what will happen next, to read the repeated text, and to engage with the bold print. There is also an accompanying teachers guide, which will assist with lesson planning, and may guide beginning teachers in their explorations of guided and modelled reading.
This book is a delight to read aloud, and I found that the more you build up the 'ah, ah, AH . . . ' the funnier the 'no' becomes. It has also been suggested that this book immerses children in the skills required to be 'comic literate' which I found an interesting perspective. An example of this is the large image of Chu appearing above the text, in much the same way as occurs in comics. Visual literacy is such an important skill set, and this book makes the skill set accessible in an endearingly simple way. This book comes highly recommended.
Freya Lucas