Oh, the Places You’ll Go! has been inspirational to thousands of readers. Dr. Seuss sets a positive view towards the unknown future, without being preachy and without balmy optimism. Unlike The Cat in the Hat books, this no-nonsense work puts Seuss’s classic approach to rhythm and rhyme to a superior use —that of facing life well.
After briefly setting the topic, Seuss (Theodor and Audrey Geisel) immediately presents the most important, inescapable and necessary premise that any person setting forth in life must grasp:
- “You can steer yourself any direction you choose.“
But, Seuss is not suggesting a Pollyanna world of whim. He soon suggests how to face life’s troubles…
[Note: If you are buying this book for yourself, don't read on –but come back after you've finished reading it. This is one "Dr. Seuss" book that deserves to be in any home, regardless of reading interest.]
…Seuss points out that troubles are a fact of life.
- “I’m sorry to say so
but, sadly, it’s true
can happen to you.“
But, when faced with trouble Seuss’s advice is more meaningful than stoic coping. There are right and wrong ways to cope. Seuss first focuses on the psychological matter of choosing a route to recovery, though it may be fraught with doubt and confusion:
- “Simple it’s not, I’m afraid you will find,
for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.“
Forlorn in the face of their problems, some may even get trapped in a “waiting place“, but “That’s not for you!” you have to move on, “There is fun to be done.” Real fun is what you do, not what you wait for, not whatever happens.
That is how to deal with life, even if you feel completely alone, and so scared that you don’t want to go on. The best thing to do, even when quite exhausted, is “face up to your problems / whatever they are“. Then, get
- on your Mountain
and… get on your way!
There is always more fun to be done in the fray.
For a while there was an educational fad of learning to read by the Look-Say method, which involved recognizing whole words rather than their phonetic structure. The Dr. Seuss books were considered excellent reading primers for this method. Children should experience at least some Dr. Seuss titles, however, the full review of The Cat in the Hat discusses why they should not be used as reading primers.
One can read a short biography of Dr. Seuss here.