Chu's Day at the Beach

Book review by
Tracy Moore, Common Sense Media
Chu's Day at the Beach Book Poster Image
Charming sneezing panda learns how to fix mistakes.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Shows what happens when a sneeze goes wildly out of control; shows a day at the beach.

Positive Messages

Acceptance of bodily functions; patience for fixing mistakes.

Positive Role Models & Representations

No one's mad at Chu for sneezing and splitting the ocean; other perspectives are stated kindly; everyone waits patiently for him to sneeze again; another character shows empathy when she says the same thing happens to her sometimes.

Violence & Scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Chu's Day at the Beach is a continuation of the Neil Gaiman series that includes Chu's Day and Chu's First Day of School. Here, Chu the panda unleashes a big sneeze that causes some mayhem at the beach. His anxiety about this outsize trait is quickly remedied when he's given some help to fix things, a perfect corollary for preschoolers who know what it's like to feel embarrassed or different.

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What's the story?

Chu the panda is having a lovely day at the beach. He has his ice cream cone, the sun is shining just right, and he's out and about in the water. Then, suddenly, he sneezes -- only this time, he sneezes so big he splits the ocean! Now the whale can't swim to the other side, and the merpandas are stuck, too. How will he fix the ocean? If he doesn't, no one will want to visit, and no one will come to buy ice cream. Chu has to figure out how to fix his mistake, if he can just figure out how to sneeze again.

Is it any good?

CHU'S DAY AT THE BEACH is a delightfully simple tale, but it yields big, reassuring messages about preschooler anxiety or feeling different. Here, Chu sneezes big, and though it splits the ocean right in two, potentially ruining the experience for everyone, he's given the space to work out a solution. Everyone lets him know they're sad. After all, the whale can't even swim through to the other side of the ocean if things stay this way -- but there's an air of acceptance and patience in giving Chu room to do what it takes to set things right.

With a little help from his friends, and some vividly drawn expressions and characters in oil and mixed media, this imaginative tale expresses the sense that our bodies may do strange things, but it happens to everyone. Messes may be easily made, but they're easily cleaned up with a little effort.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Chu's big sneeze. Do you sneeze big? What is the funniest thing that's ever happened when you've sneezed?

  • How does everyone react to Chu's sneeze? 

  • Who helps Chu the most? What did he need to get his sneeze back?

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