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Oh, the Places You'll Go!

Oh, the Places You'll Go!

by Dr. Seuss
 Table of Contents

Oh, the Places You'll Go! Tone

Take a story’s temperature by studying its tone. Is it hopeful? Cynical? Snarky? Playful?

Non-Lecturey Advice and Empathy

Dr. Seuss has a rare gift. He's able to talk to kids directly through the use of the second voice ("you") without ever sounding like a condescending adult. Parents, take note.

His tone is that of someone who has been there, done that and can talk about his experiences (which he assumes will be your child's experiences because they're pretty universal) in a straightforward, slightly silly manner.

Notice how gently he brings us down from our great heights:

Except when you don't.
Because, sometimes, you
won't.

I'm sorry to say so
but, sadly, it's true
that Bang-ups
and Hang-ups
can happen to you.

You can get all hung up
in a prickle-ly perch.
And your gang will fly on.
You'll be left in a Lurch.
(11−13)

Even when he's shaking up the rhyme, he gives us some consistency with "don't" and "won't," and he uses made up words like "prickle-ly" rather than harsher real worlds like, say, "knife-cutting." We'll have Hang-ups and Bang-ups, but they are as much a part of the rhythm of life as the rhythm of these verses.

And his empathy isn't limited to the bad times. When he gets excited about your child kicking that ball or about, "OH! THE PLACES YOU'LL GO!" (8), he seems just as excited as we are, if not more. Simmer down now, Dr. Seuss.

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