Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

You Choose!

You Choose!

Pippa Goodhart
Illustrator:  Nick Sharratt 
Novelty Picture Book
For ages 4 to 6
Random House UK, 2009   ISBN: 978-0552560351

In life, much of the time, we are not able to do or to have what we want. We have to compromise, accept, and even make do. Imagine what it would be like if you could have anything and go anywhere you wanted. What an adventure you could have!

In this book choosing what we want, no matter how outrageous our choice is, is encouraged. Using a series of questions, the author invites us to choose, among other things, the places, family and friends, and the home that we would like to have in our lives. A pair of children and a cat joins us for our “You Choose” adventure, telling us what they would choose.

The author starts us off by asking, “If you could go anywhere, where would you go?” and below the text there is a full double page spread showing us mountains, forests, a sea, a jungle, a city, a desert, a coastal town, a volcano, a tropical island, a rural area, a castle, and more. It is up to us to decide which of these locations looks the most appealing.

Next we get to choose our family and friends. We are presented with a whole wall of portraits to choose from, and there are pictures of all kinds of people. Some are ordinary children and grownups from around the world, while others are a little different. For example, there is a Viking, Santa, a pirate, a caveman, a grumpy looking wizard, a superhero, and a fairy.

The next set of pages gives us the opportunity to choose our preferred living space. Again, some of the homes that we see are relatively ordinary. They are the kinds of places you might see in your everyday life. Then there are the ones that are a little more exciting. If you are the kind of person who likes the idea of living in an unconventional building then this is the page for you. Here you will find, among other things, a lighthouse, a pink castle, a cave, an old-fashioned gypsy caravan, a wee mushroom house, and a teepee.

Homes need furnishings, and picking those furnishings is what you get to do next. There are the usual chairs and tables of course, but there are also things like a purple grand piano, an Egyptian sarcophagus, a fountain, a carousel, and a swimming pool.

After setting up house we go on to choose the mode of transport we would prefer to use, the food we would eat, the clothes we would wear, the pet (or pets) we would have, the job we would do, the hobbies we would have, and finally the place where we would sleep when we are tired.

In addition to being able to explore the book with its colorful artwork, readers also get to create their own adventure story. They are presented with a story and picture frieze that they can add stickers to so that the narrative of their adventure is completed using elements that they choose.