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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Chu's Day at the Beach, written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Adam Rex. Harper, 2015. $21.99 ages 2 and up

"Chu took off
his sunglasses.
He looked at the sea.
The day was so sunny
and bright.

Chu's nose tickled.

It was a tickling that got
bigger and bigger and

You may have met Chu in previous books. If you have, you will know him to be a happy panda cub with a propensity for sneezing. It's a habit he can't seem to be break - not even at the beach. Chu has been anxious to go for days. Finally, the day has come.

The family's arrival is unremarkable. It's hot. Chu gets an ice cream cone from a generous octopus, visits with a rock pool crab. His mom sits under a shady umbrella to read, while his father makes his way into the cool water. Chu is ready to enjoy every moment - then, a tickle in his nose. OOPS! He cannot contain the sneeze.

You won't believe what happens next. Chu breaks the sea! Fish are sad, a whale is trapped - nothing is the same as it was before the sneeze. He is cajoled by every living beach creature to try and repeat the sneeze. He can't do it!

"All of the grown-ups were very sad.
"Chu will not sneeze," they said.
"Now the sea is broken and
we cannot fix it."

When a tiny snail (haven't we seen him before?) suggests a solution, Chu is willing to follow his advice. Will it work? If so, will things be back to normal?

Adam Rex perfectly matches his oil and mixed media artwork to the charm and friendliness of the written words.  There is so much for a young reader to see as the spreads are pored over, each and every time the book is read. There is always something new to discover and discuss!


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