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Chu's First Day of School

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Overview

A brand-new picture book adventure about the New York Times bestselling panda named Chu from Newbery Medal-winning author Neil Gaiman and acclaimed illustrator Adam Rex!

Chu, the adorable panda with a great big sneeze, is heading off for his first day of school, and he's nervous. He hopes the other boys and girls will be nice. Will they like him? What will happen at school? And will Chu do what he does best?

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Overview

A brand-new picture book adventure about the New York Times bestselling panda named Chu from Newbery Medal-winning author Neil Gaiman and acclaimed illustrator Adam Rex!

Chu, the adorable panda with a great big sneeze, is heading off for his first day of school, and he's nervous. He hopes the other boys and girls will be nice. Will they like him? What will happen at school? And will Chu do what he does best?

Chu's First Day of School is a perfect read-aloud story about the universal experience of starting school.

Supports the Common Core State Standards.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 05/26/2014
In his second outing, Chu the sneeze-prone panda is anxious that his classmates won’t like him. At school, the students take turns introducing themselves and what they love to do (“My name is Pablo. I love to climb up things,” says a tamarin). “There was a lot of chalk dust in the air,” writes Gaiman ominously, and Chu soon shows off his singular talent with a sneeze that blows the roof off the school and sends everyone flying (“That’s what I do,” he says). Gaiman and Rex expertly blend humor and tension to delicious narrative effect. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Merrilee Heifetz, Writers House. Illustrator’s agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (July)
School Library Journal
07/01/2014
PreS-K—First introduced in Chu's Day (HarperCollins, 2012), the adorable, rotund little panda with the big sneeze here takes on a big milestone: his first day at school. Initially nervous and subdued as he watches his classmates discuss their special talents, Chu soon realizes that he, too, has something unique to share with his new friends and teacher. Once again, Rex's rich, painterly illustrations, characterized by deep, vibrant hues and rendered in oil and mixed media on board, dominate this quirky work. The contrast between the more serious tone of the images and the chaos introduced by Chu's famous sneeze, brought on by a dusty chalkboard, will delight children. Though the topic is familiar—a bad case of nerves before the first day is well-trod territory—and the story itself is on the spare side, readers will enjoy this humorous take on the subject. As with the first book, there's plenty of detail in the artwork, and children will love the appealing animals depicted: eagles, snakes, monkeys, and more. A charming title that is sure to leave kids wanting more—more Chu and more readings of this whimsical tale.—Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal
Kirkus Reviews
2014-05-14
Gaiman continues his sneeze pun in this look at a worried panda cub’s first day of school.Chu’s expressed school worries are limited to “What will happen?” “Will they be nice?” and “Will they like me?” though the new student’s concerns (and his posture and facial expressions) will be familiar to any child facing school for the first time. Chu’s new teacher has a “friendly face,” and his animal classmates—ranging from a rhino and a giraffe down to a crab, a snake and a snail—all seem nice. The first activity the class does is to sit in a circle and tell their new friends their names and what they love to do best; the teacher writes their names on the chalkboard. (Fans of Chu’s Day will see the punch line coming.) Their talents and things they love are wide-ranging—climbing trees, singing, reading books—but none is as unusual as Chu’s. After two wordless double-page spreads depicting both the post-sneeze surprise and destruction and subsequent recovery and delight, Chu drolly says, “That’s what I do.” Rex’s oil-and–mixed-media illustrations capture the complex feelings that accompany the first day of school, and Chu is believable when he tells his parents, “I’m not worried anymore.”Overlooking (again) the association of Chinese names with a tired joke, this may put a few first-day fears to rest, and it will probably also cause some tension-relieving laughter. (Picture book. 4-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062223975
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/24/2014
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 66,584
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.70 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Neil Gaiman is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty books for readers of all ages, and the recipient of numerous literary awards, including the Shirley Jackson Award and the Locus Award for Best Novelette for his story "The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains." Originally from England, he now lives in America.

Adam Rex is the author and illustrator of the New York Times bestselling picture book Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich, among aothers. He illustrated the New York Times bestseller Chu's Day and Chu's First Day of School, the first two books about Chu the panda. He lives in Tuscan, Arizona, and suffers from seasonal rhinitis.

Biography

Neil Gaiman thought he wrote comic books. But a newspaper editor, of course, set him straight.

Back when he was riding the diabolical headwinds of his popular series of graphic novels, The Sandman, the author attended a party where he introduced himself as a comic-book writer to a newspaper's literary editor. But when the editor quickly realized who this actually was -- and the glaze melted from his eyes -- he offered Gaiman a correction tinged with astonishment: "My God, man, you don't write comics, you write graphic novels." Relating the story to theLos Angeles Times in 1995, Gaiman said, "I suddenly felt like someone who had been informed that she wasn't a hooker, that in fact she was a lady of the evening."

Gaiman's done much more, of course, than simply write graphic novels, having coauthored, with Terry Pratchett, Good Omens, a comic novel about the Apocalypse; adapted into hardcover the BBC miniseries Neverwhere about the dark underworld beneath the streets of London; and, inspired by his young daughter, put a horrifying spin on C.S. Lewis' wardrobe doors for Coraline, a children's book about a passageway into a magical, yet malevolent, land.

But it is The Sandman that is Gaiman's magnum opus.

Though he had told a career counselor in high school that he wanted to pen comic books, he had a career as a freelance journalist before his first graphic novel, Violent Cases, was published in England in 1987. DC Comics discovered him and The Sandman was born. Or reborn, actually. The comic debuted back in 1939 with a regular-Joe crime fighter in the lead. But in Gaiman's hands the tale had a more otherworldly spin, slowing introducing readers to the seven siblings Endless: Dream, Death, Desire, Destiny, Destruction, Despair and Delirium (once Delight). They all have their roles in shaping the fates of man. In fact, when Death was imprisoned for decades, the results were devastating. Richard Nixon reached The White House and Michael Jackson the Billboard charts.

Direction from newspaper editors notwithstanding, to Gaiman, these stories are still comic books. The man who shuttled back and forth between comics and classics in his formative years and can pepper his writing with references to Norse mythology as well as the vaudevillian rock group Queen, never cottoned to such highbrow/lowbrow distinctions. Comparing notes on a yachting excursion with members of the Irish rock band U2, the writer who looks like a rock star and Delirium and the rock stars who gave themselves comic-worthy names such as Bono and The Edge came to a realization: Whether the medium is pop music or comic books, not being taken seriously can be a plus. "It's safer to be in the gutter," he told The Washington Post in 1995.

In 1995, Gaiman brought The Sandman to a close and began spending more time on his nongraphic fiction, including a couple of short-story collections. A few years later he released Stardust, an adult fairy tale that has young Tristan Thorn searching for a fallen star to woo the lovely but cold Victoria Forester. In 2001, he placed an ex-con named Shadow in the middle of a war between the ancient and modern dieties in American Gods. Coming in October 2002 is another departure: an audio recording of Two Plays for Voices, which stars Bebe Neuwirth as a wise queen doing battle with a bloodthirsty child and Brian Dennehy as the Angel of Vengeance investigating the first crime in history in heaven's City of Angels.

Gaiman need not worry about defining his artistic relevance, since so many other seem to do it for him. Stephen King, Roger Zelazny and Harlan Ellison are among those who have contributed introductions to his works. William Gibson, the man who coined the term "cyberspace," called him a "a writer of rare perception and endless imagination" as well as "an American treasure." (Even though he's, technically, a British treasure transplanted to the American Midwest.) Even Norman Mailer has weighed in: "Along with all else, Sandman is a comic strip for intellectuals, and I say it's about time."

The gushiest praise, however, may come from Frank McConnell, who barely contained himself in the pages of the political and artistic journal Commonweal. Saying Gaiman "may just be the most gifted and important storyteller in English," McConnell crowned Sandman as the most important act of fiction of the day. "And that, not just because of the brilliance and intricacy of its storytelling -- and I know few stories, outside the best of Joyce, Faulkner, and Pynchon, that are more intricate," he wrote in October 1995, " but also because it tells its wonderful and humanizing tale in a medium, comic books, still largely considered demimonde by the tenured zombies of the academic establishment."

"If Sandman is a 'comic,'" he concluded, "then The Magic Flute is a 'musical' and A Midsummer Night's Dream is a skit. Read the damn thing: it's important."

Good To Know

Some fascinating factoids from our interview with Gaiman:

"One of the most enjoyable bits of writing Sandman was getting authors whose work I love to write the introductions for the collected graphic novels -- people like Steve Erickson, Gene Wolfe, Harlan Ellison, Clive Barker, Peter Straub, Mikal Gilmore, and Samuel R. Delany."

"I have a big old Addams Family house, with -- in the summertime -- a vegetable garden, and I love growing exotic pumpkins. As a boy in England I used to dream about Ray Bradbury Hallowe'ens, and am thrilled that I get them these days. Unless I'm on the road signing people's books, of course."

"According to my daughters, my most irritating habit is asking for cups of tea."

"I love radio -- and love the availability of things like the Jack Benny radio shows in MP3 format. I'm addicted to BBC radio 7, and keep buying boxed CD sets of old UK radio programs, things like Round the Horne and Hancock's Half Hour. Every now and again I'll write a radio play."

"I love thunderstorms, old houses, and dreams."

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    1. Hometown:
      Minneapolis, Minnesota
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 10, 1960
    2. Place of Birth:
      Portchester, England
    1. Education:
      Attended Ardingly College Junior School, 1970-74, and Whitgift School, 1974-77
    2. Website:

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 15, 2014

    This was a very cute book. I like that it shows Chu being afraid

    This was a very cute book. I like that it shows Chu being afraid that the other kids may not like him (not just being afraid to go to school). I think a lot of kids have this fear. On top of the nice story, the illustrations are wonderful and had a slightly realistic feeling to them. I think it made them very unique images. Chu is adorable. I love his aviator helmet and goggles. Mr. Gaiman has written a nice picture book about going back to school. I love Chu’s talent, or as his new teacher says, “what he can do.” I think this book will help kids who are nervous about what other kids will think of them at school.
    *NOTE* I got a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

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