Dr. Seuss's Maybe You Should Fly a Jet! Maybe You Should Be a Vet!
illustrated by Michael J. Smollin
Children's book review by Steve Barancik
Dr. Seuss's book about jobs
Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss) was a very strong advocate in his writing for kids that you have to DO.
Do something with your time. Do something with your life.
In Oh, the Places You'll Go! he assures children that their adult selves will DO lots of things. In I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew he warns them that avoiding confrontation and difficulty on the way to DOing what needs to be DONE isn't worth it. In The King's Stilts he advises on the proper mixture of DOing and playing. In Hunches in Bunches he assures kids that it's normal to feel overwhelmed by all the options facing you.
And in Maybe You Should Fly a Jet! Maybe You Should Be a Vet!, he lays out a lot of those options.
Essentially, Seuss says, "When you grow up, little dude, you're going to have to work!" Then he lays out - in rhyme, of course - what some of those job openings might be.
Would you like to be an actor?
Would you like to run a tractor?
Like to drive a taxicab?...
Or run a big computer lab?
You've got to be someone!
You can't just be a doodler.
You could be a sculptor...
or, perhaps, a noodle noodler.
Seuss relies on illustrator Michael J. Smollin to provide the illustrations here. A noodle noodler is a chef cooking spaghetti. The aforementioned doodler, as it happens, is the only child that appears in the whole book.
All the happy job-doers are adults, which may seem appropriate but does feel unusual for a children's picture book, which much more often feature illustrations of kids and creatures. Perhaps that choice goes some way toward explaining why Maybe You Should Fly a Jet! Maybe You Should Be a Vet! is the rare Seuss book that, as of this writing, is out of print.
But don't despair! It's one of the six books included in Seuss's very affordable (and in print) Big Green Book of Beginner Books. (Look for the link below, along with the other books in the package.) And your library might still carry it as well.
It's also worth noting that Smollin's characters appear exclusively caucasian, and that many - particularly the women - are made to look a heck of a lot like glamorous movie stars for some reason.
In fact, the jet pilot on the cover looks like a circa 1968 stewardess who has been handed control of the plane, though it's a wonder she can even see through her eye makeup! And one of the "job" options Seuss offers girls is that of "bride."
So, yes, this is an imperfect book, but still one with charms, and well worth purchasing as part of the Big Green Book package, which also includes:
(All of which are reviewed on this site.)
Now go DO something!
All the other Dr. Seuss books.
Read more of Steve's reviews.
Best Children's Books - Find, Read or Write home page.