Chu's Day at the Beach

illus. by Adam Rex. 32p. HarperCollins. Apr. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062223999.
PreS-K—Everyone's favorite panda with a hurricane-force sneeze is back for a new adventure. In this installment, Chu and his parents go to the beach. All is well until the little guy sneezes so forcefully that he separates the left half of the ocean from the right, making all the sea creatures very unhappy. In previous books the plot revolves around preventing Chu from sneezing, but here the problem is getting him to sneeze again in order to put things right. As in Chu's Day (HarperCollins, 2013 ), everyone is on high sneeze-alert, including readers: "'Please sneeze again, Chu. Will you sneeze now?' AAH. AAAAH. AAAAAH. 'No,' said Chu." The repetitive plot combined with the tension of "will he or won't he?" and the humor of the shrug as he says 'No' makes the story work for a variety of ages. Since the results of the second sneeze are clearly established before it happens—the ocean will go back to normal—this is the most accessible Chu story yet and a great choice for large groups. Rex's menagerie of anthropomorphized animals, including merpandas, drawn in hyper-realistic human settings creates a humorous alternate reality that perfectly complements the plot.
VERDICT A fun addition to most picture book collections.

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