When you hear about a Neil Gaiman book for kids, you might assume it will be along the lines of Coraline or at least his Hansel & Gretel book, but nope. Gaiman is prolific (if you weren’t yet aware of that) and this time he’s pairing with illustrator Adam Rex again for the third in the series of Chu’s Day books, sweetly titled Chu’s Day at the Beach. There isn’t a hint of darkness in it at all. Just a magical reality set in motion by the Panda known for his gigantic sneeze, taking a seemingly ordinary trip to the beach.
Before they even read a word, kids will love Rex’s bright, full-color illustrations of a beach filled with suntanning white foxes, ice cream eating lizards, surfing gophers, and if you look closely on one page, I think that’s the Loch Ness Monster back there there. But it’s the story they will really adore, especially if they know the character and the itchy nose that always gets him into trouble.
Let’s just say this time his sneezes causes the sea to “break,” setting all sorts of craziness in motion.
It’s a great book to read along with your kids, asking them questions along the way: Do you think he will sneeze? What will happen next? How will things get back to normal again? Can you spot the gopher with the surfboard? Who’s wearing a red baseball cap? It’s my favorite kind of book for young readers because there’s just so much going on, really giving parents the chance to engage instead of just rattling off a litany of words like so many bedtime stories.
Besides, there’s a panda on a beach! A panda! You think your kids won’t be looking for him all summer long?
Find Chu’s Day at the Beach by Neil Gaiman and Adam Rex at our affiliate Amazon or a local indie bookseller near you.