'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Monday 6 December 2021

Review: Oh, The Places You'll Go!


Today is your day.

You’re off to great places!

You’re off and away!’

With these words and a little yellow person scribbled onto the first page as only Dr Seuss can, this absolute cracker of a book begins.

In classic Dr Seuss rhyme, Oh, The Places You'll Go! gathers us up, boldly sweeping us into a journey that feels incredibly significant and optimistic. We are invited to step up, work hard and put everything we have into living our best life – even though we are bound to fail at times. It would be tempting to call this a self-help book, but it’s not. It’s more versatile than that.  

Speaking directly to the reader, the author takes us by the hand and gently coaxes us to colourful and exotic lands. We ride on elephant-like creatures to places where we are celebrated and adored by the whole wide world. We are the gold medalists of our own lives and we are glorious!

Except when we’re not.

At times, the text and images bring us into those shiver-inducing bleak, black holes where the atmosphere is thick and we are prisoners in tiny little boats on enormous, rough seas. The author pulls no punches in taking us to dark and scary places through text, illustrations and metaphor. Yet even in these bad patches we feel safe enough, because we’re in expert hands.

We come out of the darkness into the candy-striped, boom-band-playing lightness and are on our way to wonder again! Textbook 101 for motivation and optimism!

I have given copies of this darling book to dozens of people in my lifetime. It’s wonderful for young adults as they embark on a new or significant part of life. For children who need to be reminded that they are capable and worthy. And for adults who are feeling a little small, or who need a reminder of the magic and mystery in life. Four-year olds will enjoy the rhyme and pictures. The rest of us (children into their nineties and beyond) might just benefit from the generous and unbridled optimism in this, Dr Seuss’ final book. 

Title: Oh, the places you’ll go!
Author/Illustrator: Dr Seuss
Publisher: HarperCollins, $8.95
Publication Date: 22 August, 2016
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9780008201487
For ages: 4+
Type: Picture book