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When it comes to parenting, I have only few rules and one of them is ensuring that my daughter becomes a book lover. I was reading books to her all the while she was in my womb. And I have been reading books to her all the while she has been out. I am often asked as to which book I prefer to read with her. Kids like bright pictures, so we read Eric Carle’s books. Kids like uncomplicated stories, so we read Where the Wild Things Are.
But more than the pictures and the story, what drive kids crazy are silliness, absurdity and insanity, something which is not prescriptive at all. They love when characters do things they are not allowed to do, when characters fall again and again and when they speak gibberish that no one can understand. And if there is one series of books that fulfills all of these criteria together, that’s Dr. Seuss. Won’t you agree?
Dr. Seuss world is an imaginary world where people and animals are hybrid, they have names that wouldn’t have heard before and they live in places you won’t dare going to. But Dr. Seuss takes you there anyway. You meet people living on a tiny speck, you meet strange creatures named Ichabod and Zizzer-Zazzer-Zuzz and you meet siblings caught in the house on a rainy day. Every time I read the books with my daughter, it seems that a new area of her imagination has been unlocked. She runs around the house having pretend adventure with her new pretend friends from the book.
However, we parents don’t get silliness, right? We will wonder as to “why should I read a book to the child just so that she/he can act silly? Aren’t they enough silly already?” We would rather have them read something more valuable or something laden with life lessons.
And that is where Oh, the Places You’ll Go! scores. The genius that he was, Oh the Places You’ll Go! is a perfect balance between silliness and life lessons. The book is about our life journey and how unpredictable, uncertain and thus disappointment it could be. But still, we all have the choice to just stop or to keep marching on. If we decide to keep marching on, at last we will persevere and survive through it all. The optimism is unflinching, pictures are funky and words are upbeat.
I can bet that you and your child will like the book. This book will give you the perfect bonding moments that every parent needs. I am also sure that you might question if children can understand the message that the book carries. May be not all, however, they will be able to understand much of it.
Excerpts from the book –
“You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.”
“I’m sorry to say so
But, sadly, it’s true
can happen to you.”
“Somehow you’ll escape
all that waiting and staying
You’ll find the bright places
where Boom Bands are playing.
With banner flip-flapping,
once more you’ll ride high!
Ready for anything under the sky.
Ready because you’re that kind of a guy!”
“Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done!
There are points to be scored. There are games to be won.”
It is important that when you read a book with your child, you immerse yourself in it completely. For instance, when I and my daughter read a book, we read out the book with loud peppiness and draw our own versions of the pictures. We talk about our real life experiences, thinking about when all what the book talks about happened to us as well. For at least a week after reading the book, we keep using its quotes and apply the message in our daily lives.
This became our anthem after reading Oh, the Places You’ll Go!, we sang it whenever we could. It still is –
“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.”
(This blog was first published at my parenting blog at MyCity4Kids) The day my daughter was born, the comparison started. Her forehead was compared to my husband; her nose was compared to mine. As time passed by, her activities were scrutinized and were connected with […]