From School Library Journal
PreS-K-A sweet, playful tale about a small panda with an extraordinary knack for inadvertently causing trouble. Chu's parents take him on several outings one day, frequently pausing to check that the youngster doesn't have to sneeze because, as the narrator warns, "When Chu sneezed, bad things happened." Though the dusty books at the library and pepper-infused air of a restaurant don't bring on a sneezing attack, the circus results in one that not only brings down the big-top tent, but also causes pandemonium throughout the town. Despite the simple story and unembellished text, there's more than enough in the art to keep readers engaged. A roly-poly panda in aviator glasses and a green-striped T-shirt, wide-eyed Chu cuts a comically endearing figure as he contorts his body and facial expressions in anticipation of a sneeze. The locations depicted in these richly saturated painted spreads have an old-fashioned flavor, and vintage touches are visible throughout: the pillbox hat his mother sports, card catalogs at the library, a gumball machine at the diner. These prim, orderly settings are the perfect setup for the chaos that Chu introduces, and there's a mischievous sense of humor that results from placing exotic anthropomorphic animals (squids, narwhals, giraffes, wombats) onto these decidedly conventional backdrops. While children will delight in seeing such a tiny creature wreak havoc, the story still concludes on a reassuring note, with Chu's parents gently tucking him in. A small but delightful dose of fun.-Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journalα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
This slight but cute picture book from New York Times best-selling author Gaiman introduces a little panda named Chu (as in the ending sound of a sneeze). Chu’s sneezes “cause bad things to happen,” which is a problem when the tyke goes out in public. At the library, surrounded by a musty old-book smell, Chu’s mother asks, “Are you going to sneeze?” He responds with an “aah-aaah-Aaaah” that is followed by “‘No,’ says Chu.” False alarm. At the diner with his father, there’s pepper aplenty in the air, and Chu’s father asks the big question, but it’s also met with a no. While the joke perhaps doesn’t go on long enough before the circus-themed punch line, kids will find the idea of a monstrous sneeze funny, and it may prompt some attempts of their own. Rex’s richly detailed illustrations are brimming with fantastic touches, from teeny-tiny mice on their teeny-tiny computers (sitting in card catalog drawers!) to a koala bear acrobat at the circus to Chu’s penchant for aviation goggles. Share this one at toddler storytime for lots of giggles, or one-on-one for spotting details in the art. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Anything Gaiman writes is noteworthy; after all, he is the New York Times best-selling author of The Graveyard Book (2008), winner of the Newbery award, and Coraline, among others. Preschool-Kindergarten. --Ann Kelley