Neil Gaiman and Skottie Young team for children's novel

HarperCollins Children's Books announced this morning it has signed a five-book deal with bestselling author and comics writer Neil Gaiman that includes a collaboration with comic artist Skottie Young.

Publishers Weekly reports the agreement begins in January with Chu's Day, the first of two pictures books about a little panda with an outsized sneeze illustrated by Adam Rex. The remaining books are Fortunately, the Milk, the middle-grade novel illustrated by Young and described as "an ode to the pleasure and wonders of storytelling itself," a sequel to 2008's Odd and the Frost Giants, and a third currently untitled book.

Dave McKean was at one point set to illustrate Fortunately, the Milk, which Gaiman referred to last fall as "a very silly children's book" that "was meant to be about the length of The Day I Swapped My Dad For Two Goldfish, but it's actually about four or five times as long."

Gaiman has published 13 novels and picture books through HarperCollins Children's Books, including the Newbery-winning The Graveyard Book.

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