Chu, a lovable little panda with a big sneeze, is the star of this series of books written by award-winning author Neil Gaiman. In this book, Chu worries about his first day of school, but soon learns that it’s a warm and accepting place.
Before, During and After Reading
Introduce the book and read aloud the title. Sweep your finger under the words as you read the title, the author, and the illustrator. Talk about the jobs of the author and the illustrator. Ask your child if she remembers what it felt like the first time she went to school or a similar place. Discuss what Chu might be feeling.
Discuss what you read and see. The story opens with Chu walking away from a spot in a field where he had been sitting. Ask your child what she sees in the sky above Chu. Chu has a thing that he could do; talk about what that thing may be.
When Mama and Papa Panda take Chu to school, there are several others on their way, too. Ask her if she knows the names of those going to the school; if she doesn’t know their names, tell her.
Discuss the story. Although Chu is the last of the class to share his name and the special thing he does, his talent is certainly memorable. When Chu sneezes, talk about what happens to the school, the classroom, and even to some of his classmates. Chu’s new friends and teacher seem amused by the whole thing. Their acceptance of him makes Chu feel happy and safe in his new school. Talk about the importance of this kindness and acceptance.
Before Chu shares his special talent, each classmate shares his or her name and talent. They finish up their introductions with the question, “What do YOU do?” Ask your child what she thinks her special talent is or how she’d answer that question. Give her some paper and crayons, colored pencils, and/or markers.
Ask her to draw her special talent. If she needs it, help her write words that describe it and her own name on the paper. Once she’s finished, have her talk about her drawing and ask her to demonstrate her talent for you. Share what you think your talent is and demonstrate it for her.
Explore other recommended children’s books and reading activities for five-year-olds, or take the Reading BrightStart! Preschool Reading Screener. The screener can help you determine if your child is on the path to reading readiness, and provides a free plan for moving forward.