On the very first page, the problem is set up. “When Chu sneezed, bad things happened.” Here we see a little panda bear with his aviator cap wearing a small smile. On the second page, Chu and his mother go to the library. She expresses concern that the old book dust in the air will make him sneeze. He almost does, but shows relief when he doesn’t. His father expresses similar concern when he takes Chu to a diner. Then the entire family goes to a circus. Chu tries to tell them he is about to sneeze, but no one listens. When he does, circus tents are blown over, balloons fly away, I train is derailed, and the diner and the library are also demolished.
Adam Rex’s oil painting illustrations are bright and rich with color. Children will spend a long time examining the expressions and positions of all the circus animals after the sneeze.
Then the story gets a little thin.
After the circus, Chu went to bed. Yup, said Chu. That was a sneeze all right. Good night.
I felt the ending was flat. It didn’t relate to the beginning of the story or the suspense building throughout. I think it would’ve been better with a different ending. Perhaps Chu could shake his feather pillow and feel a sneeze coming on.