Chu's Day



Sneeze from tiny panda packs big wallop in charming book.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Shows in a funny, exaggerated way what can happen when you sneeze. Also shows a bit of  what a circus looks like.

Positive messages

Chu's sneeze unleashes mayhem, but he doesn't get in trouble -- he's tucked into bed.

Positive role models

Chu's parents are attentive and considerate, attentive to environments that could trigger a sneeze — except when they're distracted by the circus.

Violence & scariness

Chu's sneeze knocks down the circus tent, sending animals tumbling down the bleachers and tables, chairs, and a bike crashing through a diner; and knocks over animals, chairs, lamps, books, and papers at the library.

Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Chu's Day is a simple, funny story of a gentle panda with a fearsome sneeze, written by Neil Gaiman, award-winning author of Coraline and The Graveyard Book. Some families may dislike the use of a Chinese name as part of the joke.

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What's the story?

Chu may look like a harmless, adorable little panda, but when he sneezes, we're warned, bad things happen. His parents take him to a dusty library and a diner with lots of pepper in the air, all the while fretting over whether he might sneeze. He doesn't. At the circus, however, he has something to tell his parents but they're too distracted by the circus to hear. Chu lets loose with a powerful sneeze that gets their attention -- and everyone else's, too.



Is it any good?


Neil Gaiman is a master of foreboding, and he puts that talent to gentler use in this charming little story for his youngest audience yet. Suspense builds -- what will happen when Chu sneezes? 

Adam Rex's artwork brings the book to life, from the charming Chu in his aviator cap and goggles to the expressive details of the anthropomorphic animals. Rich colors and layers of detail will charm kids. Young readers will appreciate that Chu's parents hover over him all day, worrying that he might sneeze, but when he really needs their attention, they're utterly distracted.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why stories with animal character work so well with young readers. Is it more fun to read about a panda sneezing than a kid sneezing? How come?

  • Why doesn't Chu get in trouble when he causes a lot of destruction?

  • Chu's parents worry all day about whether he's going to sneeze, but when he tries to warn them at the circus they don't listen. Why not?

Book details

Author:Neil Gaiman
Illustrator:Adam Rex
Genre:Picture Book
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:January 8, 2013
Number of pages:32
Publisher's recommended age(s):4 - 8
Read aloud:3 - 6
Read alone:6 - 8
Available on:Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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