Childrens books: Chu’s First Day at School

Chu’s First Day at School
by Neil Gaiman and Adam Rex
(Bloomsbury; €10.99HB). 

Little panda, Chu, is worried about his first day at school. His main concern is will the other young animals like him? Even Mum and Dad’s comforting words don’t quite hit the spot.

At school Chu sits silently as each of the other kids talk in turn about themselves.

But when it’s Chu’s turn to tell what he can do, the classroom will not be the same for quite a while! Chu’s involuntary party trick is to let rip a monstrous sneeze, the force of which belies his tiny stature.

At home he assures his adoring parents that of course everybody liked him at school! Beautifully illustrated and very funny, this is a laugh-aloud book for ages five to nine.

Making Friends by Nicola Call and Sally Featherstone (Bloomsbury; €6.30 HB).

For shy youngsters who might not have yet fitted in with their peers at playschool, this simple little book is helpful. Yuka and Max are very different.

Yuka likes the gentle sound of her bells, Max plays his drum loudly; Yuka is messy, Max likes to be clean; Yuka builds towers with her blocks while Max prefers to knock down his towers. But no matter what their differences, they both remain good friends.

Something About a Bear (Frances Lincoln; €16.35 HB)

Another spectacular book in Jackie Morris’s animal series. The first page introduction of a very large brown bear leaning over a very small toy teddy bear draws in the reader, young or old, straight into the book.

And what a feast there is therein. Who would have thought there were so many kinds of bears across the world? The Sloth Bear feasts on termites, honey and mangoes;

the Spectacled Bear lives high up in the trees singing to her cubs, as they too feast on forest fruit; the Sun Bear is to be avoided at all costs — even tigers keep at a safe distance. Each large spread is a vibrant masterpiece of colour and animal activity.

This is a delightful book for any age.


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