Go Be Wonderful! by Donna Gephart, illustrated by Francesca Chessa

Go Be Wonderful! by Donna Gephart, illustrated by Francesca Chessa. Holiday House, 2021. 9780823445110

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

Genre:  Picture book

What did you like about the book? When Daisy is born, her parents tell her to “Go be wonderful.” At each birthday, someone tells her “Go be wonderful.” And Daisy lives life with zest and creativity. Every year, the particular joys and challenges of her age are described with warmth and humor, through the text and the artwork. For example, when she turns two, she helps shop for groceries, feeds the dog and stamps her foot at bedtime, yelling “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” Her loving family and dog, including 3 dancing uncles and several grandparents, always cheer her on, even though they sometimes appear exhausted! When it’s time to start school, it feels hard to go be wonderful when she is worrying about all the things that could go wrong. But after a fun first day, she says “I was wonderful!”

This is a cheerful, sweet book that nevertheless honors a youngster’s real trepidation about the newness of school. The mixed media artwork, created with colored pencil, watercolor and digital tools, depicts all of the stages of toddlerhood with affection. I am pleased to see a classroom with children of diverse complexions and abilities. Her mixed race parents, dog and family are behind her every step of the way, providing love and positive reinforcement. Perfect to read at story time or on a lap when a child is about to start nursery school and kindergarten.

Anything you didn’t like about it? No

To whom would you recommend this book? For ages 3-6, especially for families with a child starting school.

Who should buy this book? Day care centers and public libraries

Where would you shelve it ? Picture books

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA

Date of review: June 10, 2021

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