Wow, wonderful! Congratulations and cheers!! Well done and well deserved!
As my agent loves to repeat more often than I care to hear, it is very difficult to enter the trade book market as a new illustrator and it takes time and patience. Every path is different and you may have the right alignment of skills and stars and chances and get that entry sooner rather than later (I wish you that!), but it helps to arm yourself with the knowledge that it may take some time.
Everything else is what my agent would call „stepping stones“.
I did two educational books before signing with my agent. Yes, the timelines are too fast to make anything really worthwhile (5 weeks and 6 weeks respectively for the two I illustrated) and the pay was lousy (though I am sure she would have gotten me better conditions if she had handled them). My agent is not interested particularly in pitching me for educational (I think she doesn’t feel she gets enough money for my time ;-)), but she is getting me some pretty cool contracts in advertisement (companies like to do children books too, apparently!).
Meanwhile, she is trying to sell my own book as well as helping me to develop a new one. At the beginning I was disappointed that trade market book deals were not forthcoming, but now I am actually happy of how things are moving. I am gaining book experience (just finishing my fourth picture book) and realizing that I really needed it. The jobs are getting progressively more interesting and I am building some track record.
And, yes, she really thinks this helps to move into trade books and it’s clearly her goal too, which is comforting. In my experience, working with an agent is a partnershaft and a dialogue. I feel it´s a partnershaft where both parties have the goal of building a successful illustrator career - one party happens to know a lot more about the business than the other, so I need to trust her. And she needs to trust me that I will always do my best, no matter what jobs we take.
If you get this feeling of mutual trust it´s a good sign - although heaven knows I was not always happy with what she told me (especially when she critiques my stories ;-)).