The First Day by Cody Patterson & Illustrated by Kathrine Gutkovskiy
Thank you to Ballast Books for sending me a copy of The First Day. Written in rhyme, The First Day begins with an illustration of a newborn paired with anticipatory text for the future. The board book goes on to highlight a series of life moments and feelings as the child gets older such as being on stage, feeling shy, working hard, feeling down, getting married, doing good for others, and celebrating the arrival of a child. While I thought the illustrations were well done and engaging, the text and concept of the book didn't seem quite right for 2-4 year-olds. For instance, the concept of time passing and getting older is something that a child under 4 might not fully understand. This doesn't mean that the concept can't be introduced before 4, I'm just not sure a child under 4 would be able to fully grasp the passing of time and aging. I also thought some of the word choices were too advanced for 4 and under. For example, one of the pages says "There will be days when you're worked to the bone. Times when you feel every seed has been sown." In both sentences the author uses figures of speech that wouldn't easily be understood by a child under 4. My last critique is that while My First Day is advertised as a board book about first time experiences, I would have loved to have seen a board book that focuses on first time experiences of toddler-aged children or preschool-aged children. By creating a board book with such a wide range of child and adult life experiences it makes the board book unrelatable to children 4 and under. In my opinion it would be more successful as a picture book---but it would need more text and illustrations in that format.
I do love these last two illustrations. So sweet!!