Perfect Picture Book Friday is Going Places!

When I was a child, my father brought home a box of Legos. The set held a handful of teeny-tiny plastic bricks, medium bricks, and others that were long, fat, and flat. The instruction booklet showed pictures for possible things the set could build. My sister made a tall, thin house with a steep roof. I built a short house with a flat roof. My Dad built a little plane. After we played with the toys we made, we snapped apart the bricks and saw what else we could build, using only our imaginations to guide us.

Flash forward: I’m married and have a daughter who has received an amazing Lego ship set for her seventh birthday. Her smile is bigger than a crescent moon. She lays out the instructions and stacks the Lego pieces into organized piles. For the next two hours, she builds that ship and sets it adrift in the middle of our coffee table. With a stern face, she instructs her dad and me NOT to touch it, NOT to play with it, and NOT to use the coffee table as she has repurposed it into a museum-grade, display table for her masterpiece.

YEARS have passed. The ship eventually sailed down to the basement where it is resting in drydock with other forgotten toys because…

there was nothing else the instructions said the Lego set could build but a ship.

Taking what we are given and seeing what other possibilities exist is the theme for today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday review.

Title – Going Places – view on Amazon HERE.

Written by – Peter and Paul Reynolds

Illustrated by – Peter Reynolds

Published by – Scholastic Inc. – 2014

Suitable for ages – 3-7

Topics/Theme –  Thinking outside the box (literally).

Opening – Rafael had been waiting all year long for the Going Places contest, a chance to build a go-cart, race it…and win.

When their teacher announced, “Who would like the first kit?” Rafael’s hand shot up.

Why do I like this book? Going Places shows us that some people will see the picture on a kit and follow the instructions EXACTLY, while other kids will say, “That’s nice, but what else can I build?” Peter and Paul Reynolds have created a brilliant story that inspires and encourages everyone, no matter their age, to look waaay outside the box and fly!

Learn more about Peter and Paul Reynolds HERE.

Until next Friday!


  1. ptnozell

    I haven’t read this one yet, but what a wonderful thought -to think outside the box! The Reynolds brothers are brilliant at that!
    I chuckled at your Lego description. We, too, have all of the creations in storage from years of Lego-mania with our son (soon to be 22). In storage bags, surrounded by bubble wrap, these feats of engineering & instruction-following have endured multiple moves & now grace our storage unit. I miss the old days of build-tear down-repeat.

    • Leslie Leibhardt Goodman - Writer

      I’m glad to know I’m not the only one storing Lego creations…LOTS of them! This book by the Reynolds brothers is what I would call life-changing. The message reminds me that if I do things the way everyone else does them (whatever that might be), I will get the same results they do. But if I want something different, I need to do something different.

      • julie rowan zoch

        Applies to all we create, doesn’t it?!

  2. Maria Marshall (@MariaMarshall_)

    I like Peter Reynolds’ books. I haven’t seen this one yet. We never built a go -cart, but we had a freezer box that became many different vessels and locations. I’ll look for this one at the library today.

    • Leslie Leibhardt Goodman - Writer

      I never built a go-cart, either. And after reading “Going Places” I doubt I ever will because I now know what magic can be built by following one’s imagination. I think a good reminder to dig deeper in my own writing – when I’m searching for something to delight the reader rather than give them what they expect– is to post a note beside my laptop that reads: Don’t build a go-cart.

  3. Beth Anderson

    Wonderful review! Watching kids and what they do with a lego set gives real insight into their personality.

    • Leslie Leibhardt Goodman - Writer

      I agree, Beth. And this book, Going Places, is a great book to share with kids of all ages to inspire their minds to possibilities.

  4. julie rowan zoch

    We’ve hosted lego-building events in the bookstore long before I joined the team, but now I am the lucky one who gets paid to make stuff with the kids for 2hrs! Yes, I know how lucky I am! There are pros and cons to the sets, for sure!

  5. viviankirkfield

    Leslie…I am so grateful to you for sharing this story. I LOVE it! And will get a copy for my grandchildren. And I adore the story you started the post with…how very true…those lego sets these days are so specific…we need to encourage kids to expand their minds and THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX…oh yes!!!

    • Leslie Leibhardt Goodman - Writer

      Hi, Vivian,
      What I love about this book is that the message reaches beyond the PB audience. The story encourages me to dig deeper in my writing and not go with the first ideas (read: solutions to MC’s problem). In Going Places, the MC and his friend combine their go-cart kits and build something that requires loads of imagination…they build an airplane! To keep me thinking outside the box, I posted a note beside my laptop which reads: Don’t build the go-cart.

  6. Patricia Tilton

    I love this book — the imagination, creativity and teamwork of the children!

    • Leslie Leibhardt Goodman - Writer

      Yes, teamwork is another one of the messages in this book. It was because of teamwork that the MC and his classmate were able to combine their go-cart kits and make something brilliant.