Children usually do not realize that the internal dialogue in the mind is a source of confusion and distraction for almost everyone. The great strength of this book is to make that psychological reality tangible and to address ways to deal with it. You also give the parent a chance to share her or his perspective on internal voices. The book's key point is that you should consider all the perspectives that occur to you, compare them, and choose a good one to pursue.
"Do you ever sit and fidget
when you don't know what to do . . . ?"
"My trouble was I had a mind.
But I couldn't make it up."
"Oh, you get so many hunches . . . ."
In the story, the hunches include one to do homework, another to go play video games, yet another to fix the rusting bicycle, while another suggests a bathroom break. As the hunches build, the decision gets harder. Thinking about it just adds more hunches.
The key point is:
"Make your mind up! . . .
Only you can make your mind up!"
The suggested method is to split yourself into several people and to decide what to do by letting each one represent a hunch. To me, that's a variation on the Benjamin Franklin method of putting each choice down on a piece of paper with a list of the pros and cons for each. Then compare the lists.
If everyone learned that method at a young age, it would be wonderful! A lot of adults still need to learn this lesson, so don't limit your gift giving of this book to youngsters!
After you finish this book, I suggest that you encourage your child to verbalize his or her urges. Then talk to her or him about how he or she is sorting it all out.
Take the best choice, rather than the most impulsive one!
on July 7, 2001
I ADORE Dr. Seuss. In fact, I'm pretty sure that his work is the source of a sizeable chunk of my love for language in general, and for poetry. In fact, I think my love for Shakespeare started as a child, with Dr. Suess. This stuff was really profound for me.
But I have to say, if Geisel really did write this one, he was NOT in top form. The music of his language is missing - some of the verses are downright clunky, and the usual depth is lost in horrific lines like "... together we'll trot to some real cool spot and play a few video games."
Maybe he was trying to be contemporary. And some of the illustrations here really ARE wonderful, but I have to say, this Seuss lover (who now spends as much as an hour and a half a day reading the stuff to his own daughter, who love it) finds this one way off the mark.