High on style, but rather low on substance, this reads like a wannabe inspirational graduation gift.
Opening with the simple, titular text, “The world belongs to you,” on the verso and a green circle on the recto, ensuing pages hold that “you belong to the world” and describe how this mutual belonging bestows freedoms and limits. Strong graphic art is more or less successful in interpreting the text, though some of the musings—“You are free to be loved. Or not,” for example—suggest a more sophisticated audience than the picture-book form usually implies. The text quoted above is illustrated with a window holding a pot with three plants to express being loved, and then the same window shuttered without the pot to show “not,” just one instance where word and image interdependence is weak. Other pages are perhaps too literal: The page with text saying that learning can hurt sometimes has a big pink bandage above a red droplet of blood.
Ultimately, the book endeavors to send a message of hope and inspiration to its readers, but it ends up looking and reading more like a greeting card than a good picture book. Stick with Marla Frazee’s Walk On (2006), Dr. Seuss’ perennial best-seller Oh the Places You’ll Go (1990), or even Sandra Boynton’s more successful picture-book–cum–greeting-card Yay You! (2001). (Picture book. 4-7)