Okay, it’s not a comic. But it is a lavishly illustrated and pleasingly offbeat childrens’ book by the great comics and prose writer Neil Gaiman (his latest longer work is THE GRAVEYARD BOOK) and the best-selling picture book artist Adam Rex (FRANKENSTEIN MAKES A SANDWICH). Last spring at MoCCA Fest, the Children’s Literature panel spent a fair amount of time discussing a gap in available works suitable for the youngest age-bracket in comics, kids aged from 3 to 6. While there are a tremendous number of high-quality picture books in publication that do serve young readers, it’s a question to ponder what type of books, exactly, prepare children to be visually literate in the comics medium. Under close scrutiny, you might find that quite a number of picture books fit this qualification, but let’s take CHU’S DAY as an example. After all, it was written by a noted comics author, one who has changed the nature of the comics medium through introducing elements traditionally associated with genres not always at home in comics publishing, including mythology and folk-tales that don’t sport capes and cowls. Gaiman’s previously published children’s books, including BLUEBERRY GIRL with Charles Vess, and THE WOLVES IN THE WALL with Dave McKean, have been tending toward younger readers of late, for instance CRAZY HAIR, also with longtime collaborator Dave McKean. THE WOLVES IN THE WALL, at least, could be considered a little frightening for very young readers, while CRAZY HAIR is more accessible to all ages. Rest assured that CHU’S DAY is appropriate for even the most nightmare-prone child, while raising interesting issues for discussion. But let’s not forget the cuteness, either.