Oh, the Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss

An Excellent Graduation Gift

Oh, the Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss - Book Cover
Oh, the Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss. Random House

Summary of Oh, the Places You'll Go!

Oh, the Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss is one of those Dr. Seuss books that's full of wisdom for children, teens and adults. While the story of going out into the world on your own covers both the highs and lows you may experience, and how best to respond to them, the book does not come across as "preachy." What keeps the story light and fun are Dr. Seuss's fanciful and amusing illustrations, his rhyming style and word play.

Oh, the Places You'll Go! is not only an entertaining children's picture book, it is also an excellent graduation gift for high school and college students.

The Narrator and "You"

The unidentified narrator speaks directly to the reader, addressing readers as "you" throughout the book. The "you" in the story is shown in the illustrations as a boy (young man?) dressed in bright yellow from head to toe, with a yellow stocking cap, jumpsuit and shoes. The bright color makes him stand out in all of the illustrations.

The Illustrations

The boy travels through Dr. Seuss's magical landscapes, with each double-page illustration containing something unusual, from oddly shaped pink trees to exotic fantasy settings and animals. The illustrations, in Seuss's typical comic style, feature soft blues, pink and green and shades of yellow on the pages about the good things that may happen. On the pages about scary and upsetting things that may happen, the colors featured tend to be large swaths of lavender, a deeper blue and black.

The Story

At the story's beginning, the narrator emphasizes, "You have brains in your head. / You have feet in your shoes. / You can steer yourself / any direction you choose." The narrator then goes on to tell the story of what readers are apt to encounter as they go "off and away" through life. This includes the importance of making good choices, not worrying too much, and trying your best but accepting "the Bang-Ups / and Hang-Ups / can happen to you." You may find yourself in a slump and be uncertain of where to go and what to do next.

Confusion can lead to "The Waiting Place," but nothing good will happen until you escape it. You'll have fun and fame - or maybe not. You may be lonely and scared, but if you face your problems and persevere, the narrator assures readers that they will succeed. "Yes! You will indeed! / (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed)."

Publication Information

Random House is the publisher of Dr. Seuss books. Oh, the Places You'll Go! was first published in 1990. The ISBN for the hardcover picture book edition is 9780679805274. There is also a pop-up edition of the book. Oh, the Places You'll Go! is also available as an audio book.

The Author and Illustrator

Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss) was born on March 2, 1904 and died on September 24, 1991.The first Dr. Seuss children's book, And To Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street was published in 1937. Dr. Seuss's career in the field of children's literature lasted more than 50 years. Oh, the Places You'll Go! was the last of the Dr. Seuss books published during his lifetime.

For more information about Theodor Seuss Geisel, his beginning reader books and picture books, a recommended Seuss story collection, his connection to Theo. Lesieg and more, see All About Dr. Seuss and His Books.

Watch a video profile of Dr. Seuss. Learn about the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for Beginning Reader Books and all of the recent winners.

My Recommendation

I recommend Oh, the Places You'll Go! for a wide range of ages. Young children enjoy the rhyming text and word play, along with Dr. Seuss's zany illustrations. The picture book has also become a favorite graduation gift because of its appeal to young people starting out in life after graduating from high school or college. While a positive and "feel good" picture book, part of the appeal of Oh, the Places You'll Go! is that it doesn't sugarcoat the negative aspects of being on your own - fear, loneliness and confusion - instead, presenting them as a natural part of life that may slow you down but that doesn't have to defeat you. This makes ultimate success even sweeter and is an excellent message for children, teens and adults.