Gaiman and Rex return with Chu’s third picture book, sending the sneeze-happy panda cub to visit the surf and sand.
Big things happen when little Chu sneezes—especially at the beach. When Chu and his family first arrive, all is peachy. Chu’s mother sits and reads, while Chu’s father wades in the water. A bespectacled octopus offers Chu a refreshing ice cream cone to beat the heat. Soon Chu, decked out in a striped, retro-style full-body swimsuit, takes off his sunglasses. In the sunlight, his nose starts to tickle, a tickling that “fill[s] his whole head.” Fans of the Chu books will know what comes next and will sneeze right along with him. With the big deed done, the unthinkable happens. The sea is split, the waves stopping Exodus-like, and it’s up to Chu to sneeze again so he can save the stuck sea animals. Alas, sneezing on cue isn’t so easy. Rex’s comical and lively illustrations are enchanting gems. These include a family of merpandas, a gopher carrying his surfboard and chill amphibians sunning themselves. Chu’s charm and silliness abound throughout this sneezefest. However, his final ah-choo doesn’t provide the kind of satisfaction a just-expelled sneeze can give. That’s because Chu doesn’t come up with the solution himself.
Nonetheless, fans will delight and pass the tissue, as the aviator-goggle–wearing panda pleases with most of his sneezes. (Picture book. 4-8)