Chu's First Day of School

Sneezy panda conquers fitting-in fears in reassuring tale.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Shows what school looks like and how you may be in class with lots of different-looking classmates. 

Positive messages

Don't let your fears get the better of you. You may be surprised that people can appreciate what makes you special. Your new classmates will like you for who you are. 

Positive role models

Chu is thoughtful and honest about his feelings and fears. His teacher and classmates are kind and accepting. Each student shows great pride in his or her special talent. Chu's parents are loving and reassuring. 

Violence & scariness

Chu's giant sneeze blows the roof off the school building and turns over all the furniture in his classroom, but nobody gets hurt.

Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Neil Gaiman's Chu's First Day of School, illustrated by Adam Rex, follows the team's Chu's Day, which introduced the adorable young panda with the uncontrollable, titanic sneezes. Here, Chu's worried about whether the kids at school will be nice and if they'll like him. With humor and a bit of well-paced suspense, Chu wins them over with his explosive special talent. It's a fun, reassuring book for anyone going into kindergarten or having social anxiety about a new school or any new environment.

What's the story?

Chu, the young panda who starred in Chu's Day, is worried about what will happen on his first day of school and whether his classmates will be nice and whether they'll like him. "They will be nice," his mother reassures him. "Of course they will like you." When he gets there, things are going well until the teacher asks the students to write their names on the board and "say one thing you love to do." Jengo the giraffe likes to get things down from high places, Pablo the monkey loves to climb up things, and so on. Chu gives his name, but the chalk dust makes him sneeze so hard he blows the roof off the building and turns the class furniture upside down, which makes the kids smile. "That's what I do," he says. Then he comes home and tells his parents, "They like me. They were nice. I'm not worried anymore."

Is it any good?


Readers who enjoyed Chu and his explosive sneeze in Chu's Day will be happy for another Chu adventure. But there's no need to have read the first book to be tickled by CHU'S FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL. The humor and pacing are great, and Adam Rex's illustrations are wonderfully expressive, capturing Chu's worries, sadness, and joy and the pride of other animals, from hippo to snake, as they happily show off what they do. 

This is a fine book to help kids going into kindergarten, changing schools, or headed for any transition about which they're feeling social anxiety.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about starting a new school. What's fun about it? What's a little scary about it? 

  • How do the pictures help tell the story? Did you notice something in one of the pictures that might make Chu sneeze? 

  • Everyone in Chu's class has something he or she loves to do. What do you love to do? 

Book details

Author:Neil Gaiman
Illustrator:Adam Rex
Genre:Picture Book
Topics:Friendship, Misfits and underdogs, Wild animals
Book type:Fiction
Publication date:June 24, 2014
Number of pages:32
Publisher's recommended age(s):4 - 8
Read aloud:4 - 8
Available on:Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback

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