on July 8, 2001
Dr. Seuss isn't just for the pre-school set, but you probably already knew that. This book of brightly colored illustrations and whimsical rhymes makes the perfect gift for anyone setting out on a new adventure, so buy copies for every high school and college graduate on your list. As Seuss tells us "There is fun to be done!" and this joyous ode to personal fulfillment tells you how to meet up with it while combating fear, loneliness, and confusion. After all, what better advice could anyone give a new grad than to say "You have brains in your head, you have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose." This is inspired good fun, sure to please everyone.
on November 22, 2000
As I embark on yet ANOTHER new chapter of my life, I find I am constantly questioning my every move, encountering new crossroads and rebuilding my somewhat depleting self-belief. Last night my best friend Shannon called me on the phone asking if she could read me a bedtime story. It's been more than 20 years since someone asked me if they could read to me before bed but I instantly reverted to my childhood and out of habit curled up in bed and asked 'what's the book called' before she even opened a page. As the words flowed through her lips, I was dumbfounded at how closely it related to my own life ... it was like Dr. Seuss wrote ME a book. Oh, the Places You'll Go answered EVERY question I have been asking myself for months. All my 'what ifs' 'ands' or 'buts' are no more. All too soon, Shannon came to the end and closed the book, I was speechless and tearful but ironically, I had new zest and energy pumping through my veins ... I wanted to jump to my feet and scream 'I'm going to do it ... I'm going to climb to the top!!! Dr. Seuss makes reference to people in the 'waiting period' where so many of us stay out of fear ... I'm not scared any more!!! No matter how old one is when they pick up this book, it will reflect on their present life and put it into perspective. The next time you find yourself 'questioning', pick up Oh, the Places You'll Go, or better yet have someone read it outloud .. listen to the words, let them seep through your pours and I guarantee ... Dr. Seuss will inspire :)
Researchers constantly find that reading to children is valuable in a variety of ways, not least of which are instilling a love of reading and improved reading skills. With better parent-child bonding from reading, your child will also be more emotionally secure and able to relate better to others. Intellectual performance will expand as well. Spending time together watching television fails as a substitute.
To help other parents apply this advice, as a parent of four I consulted an expert, our youngest child, and asked her to share with me her favorite books that were read to her as a young child. Oh, the Places You'll Go! was one of her picks.
This book describes a future filled with unlimited potential ('you can steer any direction you choose'), success ('you'll pass the whole gang and you'll soon take the lead'), set-backs ('you can get all hung up on a prickle-ly perch'), and overcoming obstacles ('somehow you'll escape all that waiting and staying').
Many will mischaracterize this book. Since it starts with the words, 'Congratulations! Today is your day.', some will see it only in the context of some special event. At one level, it could certainly be a graduation present for a high school or college grad. At another level, it can be given to those who are moving on from one school to another. You can also see it as a gift for any transition, even if from one grade to the next.
But, I think that the more important application of this book is in setting a standard of parental beliefs for your child about one's child's future life. Psychologists in book after book tell us that parents tend not to be supportive enough, and that teenagers and adult children feel that they have never lived up to their parents' standards. This book can play a very important role in conveying what those standards are and making them match up nicely with what will probably occur in your child's life. That's a tremendous resource, and one that all of us should avail outselves of! In particular, the end says, 'And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.). Notice, that the guarantee comes after faithfully pointing out that the path to success is never straight, that there will be setbacks, and that there will be self-doubt and delays. Hearing that guarantee in the context of the likely difficulties makes one realize that optimism and perserverance are what is being encouraged here. Also, setbacks and delays are merely that ... not failure or failing to meet parental standards.
Psychologists tell us that those who believe they can succeed will put up twice the effort of those who doubt their success.
So after thinking about it, I propose that the day to give this book to someone who has never seen it before is on the darkest day of their life, when all seems bleak and impossible. It may make all of the difference. The gift will be all the more meaningful if you (or someone else) read this book to them when they were younger.
With your children, the right time to introduce this book is as young as possible, so that the belief in their success and the realistic challenges of success will be grounded as soon and as deeply as possible.
So you may give this book as a gift to the same child many times in a lifetime. But don't leave out those who need it who are not your children! They need it even more if their parents did not read Oh, the Places You'll Go! to them as a child!
After you have read this book to your child or given it as a gift to someone else, consider the other ways that you can appropriately boost the self-confidence of that person. Telling a story about your own setbacks and how you overcame them may help. Making yourself more human will also bring you closer together!
on October 25, 1999
I gave this book to my cousin when she graduated from high school. Unfortunately I was late in shipping it to her as she had joined the Army Reserves and was already in boot camp, so her Mother had to forward the book to her. There was a policy that recruits could not receive packages while in boot camp,so her Drill Sergeant made her open the package in his presence. He read the book and was so moved that he asked her to read it aloud to the entire platoon. When she finished, they all had tears in their eyes. She said it was the perfect message for the new recruits. All future graduates will receive a copy of OH THE PLACES YOU'LL GO! from me. Thank you Dr. Seuss, you are a genius!
on July 24, 1999
I first heard this book read on a radio program while driving, I had tears in my eyes and knew that I had to buy this as a graduation present for my daughter who was to be graduating from college in a week. My descision was based on the fact that she learned to read using Dr. Suess before entering kindergarten, why not end her scholastic career with Dr. Suess. She loved and apprecatied the gift and I'm sure she'll share it over and over with her nieces and nephews and her own children someday. It's so to the point, you have shoes on your feet and brains in your head....
on February 24, 2011
I didn't receive this book upon graduation or success, or during any sort of right of passage moment. This book was read to me when I was on the verge of suicide. My depression had put blinders on me, and I could see it in the distance as a warm, easy option that I could take and no one would be mad or disappointed, or at least not so's I'd notice. Then my friend read this book to me.
At first I rolled my eyes. "Why congratulate? Today ISN'T my day. Today is garbage." It continued on about how well I would do and all the nifty things I'll accomplish, and how I would continuously meet with success.
Except when I don't. Because sometimes, I won't.
She read about confusion and horror. She read about being in a slump, about having to wait, about being alone and how it makes you see things that scare you. I cried.
"But on you will go
though the weather be foul.
On you will go
though your enemies prowl.
On you will go
though the Hakken-Kraks howl.
Onward up many
a frightening creek,
though your arms may get sore
and your sneakers may leak.
On and on you will hike,
And I know you'll hike far
and face up to your problems
whatever they are."
Buy this book. Read it to someone you care about, not at their highest point, but their lowest. At that moment these are the words that can save a life. I know that they saved mine.
Thank you for reading.
I read this book to my children so many times, and they loved the inspiration, as well as learning about challenges, that CAN be overcome. The book has great illustrations, and is a great read, while it teaches valuable life lessons.
Preparing our children to persevere, discover their dreams, and to keep going even if times get tough is what this book is all about.
Highly recommended to help children learn that they CAN make their own dreams come true. An Inspiring and Enjoyable Read!
on July 2, 2000
I recieved this book from a special teacher as I graduated from high school. I had never read it, so I eagerly opened the cover to see what lied inside. I found it such an excellent and moving book about life that I thought Dr. Seuss wrote it specifically for me. The truth about life is there are always obstacles to overcome, but still "you will move mountains." His lively and comical words are just as indispensable as his wonderfully colored and creative illustrations. A truly magnificent book because it is about something we all have to go through:life. A great gift for people beginning new phases in thier life or a rewarding read just for yourself. Remember "Life is a Great Balancing Act" and you can succeed even if you fall into the Slump for awhile or visit the Waiting Place for quite some time. Soon again you will be off in your balloon and "Oh, the places you'll go!"
on September 30, 1997
This book was used in our graduation (from high school) speech! This was so relevent to our life that it was amazing. Dr. Seuss books were fun because of the rhymes when we were all younger but now we see how the "real world" relates to these hilarious little kids stories. I always loved to read "The Cat In The Hat" when I was young. Now "Oh, The Places You'll Go" has become my all time favorite. I would suggest buying it as a gift for anyone, including yourself. I know that my children are going to have so many books by Dr. Seuss that it will be scary but I want them to know how great his books are.
on May 17, 2005
It's graduation time, so I'll be buying a copy of Oh, the Places You'll Go! for the two high school graduates we know this year. It's a great book for these young adults as they begin a new life passage. It's all about going out and finding your way in life, weathering its storms, and being in charge of and taking responsibility for your life and how it turns out. It begins...
Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away!
Isn't that a great beginning for anyone starting anew? Remember the old saying, "Today is the first day of the rest of your life?" It certainly fits here. This book was originally published in 1990 and has more text than many of Dr. Seuss books that are aimed at very young audiences (I know a 90-year-old who still loves Dr. Seuss's books). The book is 56 pages long (unnumbered) with illustrations as bizarre and wonderful as only Theodor Seuss Geisel could draw them. I also appreciate that on the back cover of this book is the entire list of Dr. Seuss books in the order in which they were written.
Carolyn Rowe Hill