Written and Illustrated by Sandra Boynton
Simon & Schuster, 2013
You did it! You’re done!
You made it! You’re through!
The plot in a nutshell: A celebration of a milestone and a look to the future.
The book starts with a picture of a bear on top of a mountain, celebrating a recent achievement. Then the question of ‘what next?’ is posed and his smile slips a little. It’s suggested that the best plan is to examine all the choices and come up with a plan that works for you. It goes on to examine the different paths you can take and the ways you can get there. You’re urged to be introspective and think about your honest preferences in where you live, what you do and who you surround yourself with. There’s a reminder that it’s a good idea to stop and appreciate the small things once in a while and an encouraging ending that whatever you do will be wonderful, because it’s you doing it.
Bookshelf favorite Sandra Boynton gives us a lot of wisdom wrapped up in easy to read rhymes and her traditional whimsical animal drawings. It would be almost impossible to review this book and not draw a comparison to the Dr. Seuss classic, Oh, the Places You’ll Go. They’re both great gifts for recent graduates or for anyone who may find themselves at one of life’s crossroads. In fact, the book even comes with a ‘Congratulations!’ gift tag on the opening page, with a space to write who the gift is to and from. Although it may be geared toward adults, the rhymes and illustrations are still perfect for kids and it’s never too early to instill the message to make life choices based on your true judgement.
It would be easy for a book like this to feel trite, but Ms. Boynton never lets that happen. She applies her offbeat sense of humor and comical style to both the pictures and the text, and suggests that every possible path can be a good one, as long as it works for you. There’s no judgement, for instance, in the comparison between the person who is climbing a mountain and the one who is simply reading about mountains (while enjoying delicious chocolate). Having been a fan of hers for well over half my life, it was a particular thrill to meet her at Inspiration Day.
And what did we learn? What I take away from this book is that when making plans for the rest of your life, it’s important to look at what you really want and go with your heart.