Review of Woo Hoo! You’re Doing Great!

Woo Hoo! You’re Doing Great! Woo Hoo! You’re Doing Great!
by Sandra Boynton; illus. by the author
Preschool    Little, Brown    40 pp.
4/23    9780316486798    $17.99

Self-help gets the Sandra ­Boynton ­treatment with energetic antics, ­deadpan humor, and ear-pleasing rhyme. “Have you been feeling kind of low? / A little lost? / A little slow?” A ­well-meaning, loud-squawking chicken acts as a personal pep squad to ­Boynton’s familiar ­menagerie. “THERE’S SURELY NOTHING MORE ­FANTASTIC THAN SOMEONE WHO’S ­ENTHUSIASTIC!” the shouty narrator insists, proceeding to cheer on a roller-skating pig, ballet-dancing hippos, and others. But some ­activities—taking a nap, for instance—are best accomplished without a cheering section (“You. Woke. Me. Up!”), and the tale takes a turn as the chicken suffers an identity crisis: “Oh no!!! I made a mistake!!! I’m no good at this!!!” A mouse friend provides reassurance about mistake-making and own-bucket-filling through rest, self-care, and positive self-talk. The words of wisdom are at an appropriately preschool-ish level but can be taken to heart by anyone. Lest the message come across as heavy-handed, the endpapers close (as they opened) with the chicken’s extremely loud and boisterous cries of “WOO HOO!”

From the March/April 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Elissa Gershowitz

Elissa Gershowitz is editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc. She holds an MA from the Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons University and a BA from Oberlin College.

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