Summary: Go Be Wonderful
“Go Be Wonderful” is the saying that ushers the new baby in this picture book into the world. When Daisy is born, her daddy holds her close and says “Go be wonderful,” and throughout her childhood, from gurgling infant to curious toddler, the adults in her life remind her to be wonderful. Daisy explores her surroundings, living up to the encouragement she receives, bravely trying new things and being unafraid to experiment. That is until the first day of school, when the doubts come: would people like her? What if she couldn’t find the bathroom on time?
I really liked the illustration style in this picture book, something about the simple pencil strokes and their ability to conjure realistic images impressed me. This was my first time reading Donna Gephart, and while picture books are totally different from middle grade, I liked the way she carried the story, leading the audience to turn page after page, following Daisy’s journey through life.
The story itself is realistic while maintaining a sweetness that I loved. Most people, if they’re fortunate enough, will have homes that feel like safe havens. Being adored at home may not always translate to the way outsiders view us, and Daisy’s worries are legitimate. I liked seeing her navigate her fears on her own at school and (spoiler!) eventually easing into new circumstances.
Overall: Go Be Wonderful
Go Be Wonderful is a tender picture book with a unique look at the first day of school. This sweet book highlights the value of parental and community love and support, while reinforcing childhood exploration and identity. If you’re looking for a hopeful first day of school book for a nervous child — or just a warm readaloud — this is a wonderful choice.
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I received an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.