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YOU GO FIRST by Ariel Bernstein Kirkus Star


by Ariel Bernstein ; illustrated by Marc Rosenthal

Pub Date: June 13th, 2023
ISBN: 9781665911511
Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Duck really wants to try out the new playground slide, but Cat keeps creating new ways to stop her.

Two simple statements on the verso of this book’s first spread set up the premise that Duck and Cat are close friends on their way to the playground to slide. Another full-page spread depicts a delightful, stylized playground populated by anthropomorphic animals, with bright-yellow, pink-ribboned Duck leading wide-eyed Cat across the foreground. But something is different today. Their usual slide has been replaced with a newer, bigger, curvier one. Expressive art with cleverly inserted dialogue shows how the new slide produces wildly different emotions in the friends: excitement in Duck, high anxiety in Cat. And with each page turn, Cat finds a way to postpone Duck’s trip down the slide. Little ones will giggle and nod knowingly as the unseen narrator continues to inform us that Cat is doing all this from friendship; the art and dialogue clearly show otherwise. Duck willingly submits to every ridiculous excuse—even donning goggles and a helmet—until Cat finally convinces her not to go down the slide. Will Cat learn a lesson about true friendship? Spoiler alert: of course, and brilliantly. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Both extremely funny and spot-on sensitive.

(Picture book. 3-6)