Chu’s Day (Chu #1) by Neil Gaiman

Chu's Day by Neil Gaiman

Rating: 

Surprising enjoyment of Gaiman’s The Sleeper and the Spindle and Hansel and Gretel, after a run of bad experiences with his books, encouraged me to try another.

But I made a mistake.

I went in with expectations.

As someone with hayfever who has to suffer through the annual sneezing season, I thought this might address the anxieties children might have about it, like I did. I dreaded periodically interrupting my teachers with my deafeningly loud sneezing fits. Self-consciousness led me to devise a way to blow air out of my mouth at Formula One speeds in a quieter manner, while desperately trying to stifle any followups.

Singing, one of my favourite activities, was impossible in summer. Break times were hell. We were always forced out onto the grassy fields – the home of the pesky pollen spore – instead of the perfectly acceptable concrete playgrounds. Teachers who liked to teach outside on particularly warm summer days were glared at with unspoken hatred.

Gaiman addressed none of this. Instead he exaggerated the effect of the sneeze. At least sneezes don’t literally blow people away, he seems to say. That would be really bad.

Most of the picture books I read – like It’s a Book, And Tango Makes Three, and Love You Forever – are ones with more humour or meaning. Chu’s Day in comparison was a one-liner, a one-trick pony which wasn’t particularly funny. I’m sorry, I’m not used to that so I’m a little disappointed.

Adam Rex’s illustrations, on the other hand, I loved. A broad array of dozens of anthropormorphized animals kept me entertained as I challenged myself to identify them all. Not always an easy task with a tapir, a platypus and a Japanese macaque among them.

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