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

Friday 26 May 2023

Review: When Things Aren't Going Right, Go Left

An important, delightful and inviting book about making choices and finding our own path of least resistance, this is an inspiring work for all ages (and particularly suited to 4 – 8 year olds).

‘One day, for no particular reason, nothing was going right. Absolutely, positively, nothing was going right. So… I decided to go left.’

We are all exposed to the burdens, fears, challenges and frustrations of life – none of us is immune. This book empowers us to recognise when things aren’t going well, and to make the choice to get up and pick ourselves a brand new road.

The words are engaging and conversational with a warm, friendly and intimate feel. The illustrations give us a sense of the emotional intensity of the narrative by initially using   a sombre and muted colour palette to create a potent atmosphere -  lending a sense of gravitas and the unknown. Together, the storyline and pictures work seamlessly to keep the reader turning pages. 

The illustrations are funny and delightful. We range through a sense of gloomy colour and tone, to ultimately walk into a vibrant, sunny world of warmth and light. The little critters along the way are simply hilarious. In fact, the entire journey through the book is actually like moving from a rainy, gloomy day into the friendly sunlight.

That is not to say that this is a ‘let’s all dance naked in the wood with no worries’ type of story. It is definitely not! However, it is profoundly anchored in the hope and optimism that we all have as children and often lose somewhere along the way.

There’s the sense that this will be one of those wonderful books in the vein of Dr Seuss’ ‘Oh, The Places You’ll Go’ in terms of its capacity to transcend age limits and be appropriate for all manner of situations. I can see it being gifted to teens and young adults as they leave home for work/study/adventure, or to anyone who is at a crossroads or making an important life decision. It’s definitely one for all ages.

Highly recommended.

Title: When Things Aren’t Going Right, Go Left
Author: Marc Colagiovanni
Illustrator: Peter H Reynolds
Publisher: Scholastic $19.99
Publication Date: March 2023
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781761294310
For ages: 4 - 8
Type: Picture Book