Chu’s First Day of School by Neil Gaiman & Adam RexHarper Collins Children’s, 2014

My boyfriend checked Chu’s First Day of School out of the library because he really likes Neil Gaiman, and we read it together because I like picture books. Apparently this is the second book (with text by Gaiman and illustrations by Rex) about a young panda named Chu, and it’s slightly mystifying as a standalone (first page: picture of panda in a windy field of grass and flowers, with the text “There was a thing that Chu could do”) but I guess it makes sense immediately if you’ve read the first one. So, right: it’s Chu’s first day of school and he’s worried about whether the other kids will be nice and if they’ll like him. His parents reassure him, but he’s still worried. At school, each kid has to introduce themselves, and has to say one thing they love to do: Chu looks nervous, and is the last kid in the room to talk. And then we learn what, exactly, Chu can do.

The illustrations are totally what makes this book, moreso than the story. I love the whole animal population of Chu’s school/world: his teacher is a (non-panda) bear, and there’s a crossing guard who’s a horse, and in the page showing parents dropping their kids off, there is definitely a little octopus crossing the street next to a big octopus wearing a hat. In the classroom, there’s an alphabet banner encircling the room that, instead of letters, has an ape, a bison, a cat, et cetera. One of Chu’s classmates is an overall-wearing rhinoceros who likes to dance; another is a duck who likes to be funny. Adam Rex’s art is colorful and precise: the animals and the spaces they inhabit feel equally detailed and vibrant, which is nice.






2 responses to “Chu’s First Day of School by Neil Gaiman & Adam RexHarper Collins Children’s, 2014”

  1. Jenny @ Reading the End Avatar

    Wait, does this mean there’s more than one book about the little panda Chu? Am I imagining it that there was another book about Chu?

    1. Heather Avatar

      Apparently there are three of these books by Gaiman and Rex about Chu. The first was Chu’s Day, which I haven’t read. Then there’s this one. Then there’s Chu’s Day at the Beach, which I also haven’t read.

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