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You Go First

Illustrated by Marc Rosenthal

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About The Book

In the spirit of Mo Willems and Ben Clanton, this “extremely funny and spot-on sensitive” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) picture book shows how a good friend can become even better by trying new things and putting others first.

Cat and Duck are very good friends and play together all the time, so when the new slide gets built, they can’t wait to try it out! Only, the slide is very big and curvy—what if it’s too big for Cat? As Cat and Duck move closer to the front of the line, Cat imagines everything that could go wrong until his worries start to rub off on Duck. Now Duck doesn’t want to go down the slide either.

Cat feels bad that Duck is missing out on the fun because of him. Can he find a way to make it right?

About The Author

Elene Schecter

Ariel Bernstein is the author of I Have a Balloon and Where Is My Balloon?, both illustrated by Scott Magoon, as well as We Love Fishing! and You Go First, both illustrated by Marc Rosenthal. I Have a Balloon received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Reviews, and it was a Junior Library Guild Selection. Where Is My Balloon? was a Bank Street Best Book of the Year, and We Love Fishing! received a starred review from Publishers WeeklyYou Go First was a Junior Library Guild Selection, named a Charlotte Zolotow Highly Commended Title, and received a starred review from Kirkus Reviews. Ariel lives in New Jersey with her family. Learn more at ArielBernsteinBooks.com.

About The Illustrator

Photo courtesy of the illustrator

Marc Rosenthal is the New York Times bestselling illustrator of many books for children, including the Small Walt collection by Elizabeth Verdick, All You Need Is Love by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, I Must Have Bobo! by Eileen Rosenthal, We Love Fishing! and Mabel Wants a Friend by Ariel Bernstein, and Archie and the Pirates, which he wrote. He lives in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Learn more at Marc-Rosenthal.com.

Why We Love It

“This story is equal parts humor and heart and the illustrations are utterly charming. I would spend all day on the playground with Cat and Duck if I could!”

—Catherine L., Editor, on You Go First

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books (June 13, 2023)
  • Length: 48 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781665911511
  • Grades: P - 3
  • Ages: 4 - 8

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Raves and Reviews

A CCBC 2024 Choices Picture Book

A 2024 Charlotte Zolotow Highly Commended title

"Both extremely funny and spot-on sensitive."

– Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

"A charming view of friendship and encouragement to try new things. Recommended for early readers and social-emotional learning teachers."

School Library Journal

"In a second match-up from collaborators Bernstein and Rosenthal, character-forward playground vignettes, rendered in sturdy pencil outlines and cheery digital color, are comically in sync with the interplay and mood of the deadpan, emotionally astute narration and dialogue."

– Publishers Weekly

"Rosenthal’s pastel-hued, cartoon-style illustrations add warmth, humor, and nuance. Many books for young children explore conquering fear, but fewer contextualize how one’s fear can dampen someone else’s good time; this book adds something fresh to the shelf."

– Horn Book Magazine

Awards and Honors

  • Charlotte Zolotow Highly Commended

Resources and Downloads

High Resolution Images

More books from this author: Ariel Bernstein

More books from this illustrator: Marc Rosenthal