Apparently there’s a Neil Gaiman book for every member of my family. Yay! They’re never too young to start, and though my 6-month-old son prefers chewing Chu’s Day to reading it, I enjoyed it thoroughly.
Chu is a panda with, we are told, a very dangerous sneeze. When Chu sneezes, bad things happen. We follow little Chu through his day as he manages to keep his sneeze at bay but, when his parents take him to the circus, his sneeze gets the better of him
The genius of Neil Gaiman
As with any great picture book, there’s more to the story. Aside from the lovely play-on name itself (Chu’s Day/Tuesday, Chu/Ah-choo!), there’s a little message for parents.
Gaiman uses quoted text to demonstrate when our little Chu is being heard, and leaves them off when nobody is listening. You see, little Chu tries very hard to tell his parents he is about to sneeze, but nobody listens. Is Gaiman trying to tell us to listen more to our kids?
This is lovely literature for little people – it’s as if Gaiman is whispering a joke in our children’s ears.
This is classic Neil Gaiman in miniature, no less thought out and audience-focused than Good Omens or Coraline. Chu’s Day is a wonderful, fun read for children and gives us adults a giggle when we realise we’re the one being cheekily chided. If only all picture books were such great fun.