Bestselling author Neil Gaiman has signed a multi-book deal with HarperCollins, agreeing to do three novels and two picture books. Kate Morgan Jackson, editor-in-chief of HC Children's Books, and Rosemary Brosnan, executive editor, negotiated the agreement with Gaiman's agent, Merrilee Heifetz at Writers House.

Both picture books will feature a new character created by Gaiman, a little panda named Chu, that is known for having an outsized sneeze. The first book, Chu's Day, will be illustrated by Adam Rex; it is set for January 8, 2013.

The other three titles in the deal will include a middle-grade novel called Fortunately, the Milk, which will feature art by Skottie Young and which HC calls "an ode to the pleasure and wonders of storytelling itself." Gaiman will also write a sequel to the 2009 book Odd and the Frost Giants (also published by HC), which features characters from Norse mythology. The third novel in the deal will be a middle grade book, and is currently untitled.

Gaiman has published 13 novels and picture books with HarperCollins Children's Books to date, including The Graveyard Book, which won the 2009 Newbery Medal, and Coraline, whose movie adaptation was nominated for a 2010 Academy Award in the Best Animated Feature Film category.