Book Review

PoPB: Chu’s Day by Neil Gaiman & Adam Rex and Mr Super Poopy Pants by Rebecca Elliott.

pairofpicturebooks
Pair of Picture Books Tuesdays on Juniper’s Jungle bring two reviews of picture books.

Chu’s Day by Neil Gaiman & Adam Rex (illustrator). Bloomsbury Books.
ChusDayChu is a little panda with a big sneeze.

When Chu sneezes, bad things happen.

Lucky there’s nothing sneezy near Chu today… Is there?

Uh-oh… Stand back everyone!

I read this lovely book as a cute, simple story, and immediately thought of how much fun it would be to read aloud to a group. It feels like the sort of book that would be a sure fire hit with any nursery age group – watching Chu go through his day avoiding sneezing before that sneeze finally appears is going to make most smile if not giggle or laugh. I enjoyed it, and then I spotted other reviews suggesting I may have missed something. It seems my reading of the book might have been a little simplistic, there is apparently a much deeper meaning with a political undertone. In fact, the more reviews I read the more different interpretations I can find of the text – many of them far more incisive than my feeling that it’s a cute story.

Regardless of whether this book is simply cute or in fact a political masterpiece, Adam Rex’s illustrations are stunning and the reason this simple story took me a very long time to read. Chu’s world is entirely inhabited by animals, there are 8 double or single full page illustrations that contain so much detail and so many animals that I found myself pouring over them for ages. There is a wonderful richness to the colours, my favourite illustrations are those within the circus tent – they’re filled with lovely purples and greens. Chu himself is lovely, I particularly liked his facial expressions when he’s trying so hard not to sneeze.

This is a book that seems to divide opinion. Either way I think it’s a book with great sharing potential and I will certainly be looking out for the next in the series, Chu’s First Day of School.

Mr Super Poopy Pants by Rebecca Elliott. Lion Children’s.
MSPPToby had been looking forward to all the adventures he would have with his new baby brother.

Instead, when he arrives, he just… poops. All the time.

How BORING. But then Toby realizes that his little brother’s pooping might have some SUPER advantages!

This book features Toby and Clemmie who’ve already featured in Just Because and Sometimes, based on the author’s own children, and new baby Benjamin. Whilst waiting for Benjamin to be be born Toby came up with all sorts of plans for the fun they could have, but he finds the reality is a little different – babies aren’t really quite up to superhero antics. The more he talks about Benjamin the more he realises that whilst he might not be exactly the sidekick he had in mind he’s pretty brilliant in his own way.

This book is funny, and cute, and entirely entertaining. I was absolutely loving it, then I reached the final page and have to admit that the last line made me absolutely melt from how adorable it was. It made what was already a brilliant book into a downright excellent one. The illustrations add to the warmth and humour of the book, my favourite has to be the page where Toby describes the first of his favourite of Benjamin’s poops – The Submarine Poop:

Art work taken from author's website here
Art work taken from author’s website {here}

I haven’t read the first two books featuring Toby and Clemmie, but they’re firmly on my list to track down. Clemmie was born with profound mental and physical disabilities, Just Because describes the relationship she and Toby share and Sometimes is about Clemmie’s trip to hospital. Seeing children with disabilities of all forms represented in children’s books is something I feel very strongly about so I’m pleased to discover these books exist and look forward to reading them.

Chu’s Day was borrowed from my local library. I was provided with a copy of Mr Super Poopy Pants for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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