Updated: Jan 20, 2019
Thanks to Penguin Random House for sending me a copy of this book for the purposes of review:
As a loyal fan of Jacqueline Woodson’s chapter books from her iconic 2014 release Brown Girl Dreaming to her brand-new, stirring masterpiece in the upcoming Harbor Me, I found myself rather excited and nervous at the prospect of reading one of her picture books. Even though her catalog of picture books ranges far and wide from Each Kindness to Visiting Day, I had never read one of her picture books before and doing so seemed like a daunting task. Woodson is known for her thematic elements and layered storytelling, attributes that don’t seem to fit well within that of a picture book. However, even with these stereotyped perspectives in place, The Day You Begin is a stirring and touching story that plays on both its simplicity and complexity to great effect with its lavish and inventive illustrations that bolster its story far past the finish line.
From the very first page, it becomes immediately clear that The Day You Begin is lavishly beautiful in its illustrations, which are done by artist Rafael López. The images on display boast a diverse range of color and easily rank as one of the best illustrated children’s books for the entire year.