The thing about advice is that everyone likes to give their two cents’ worth, but not many people would actually take it — at least enough to change anything that they were already doing or about to do — even if they did ask for it in the first place. Which is fine, since everyone is free to make their own decisions. The problem comes, of course, when advice is proffered when none was sought.
In fact, one of the surest ways to be inundated by unsolicited advice — and from the most random sources at that — is to get pregnant (to be continued when the baby is out). For some reason, everyone seems to have an irrepressible urge to opine on what pregnant women and parents ought to, or ought not to, be doing. Of course, such advice usually comes from well-meaning people with good intentions — who genuinely believe that you will benefit in some way from their sage wisdom. (Though there will always be the few who’ll confuse bragging with giving advice, but that’s another story.)
As such, most people can empathise with the hapless hippo in You Should, You Should!, who’s happily minding his own business when, one by one, the other animals decide to offer him unsolicited advice on what to do and how to walk, dance, sing and even eat ‘better’.
Alas, being overly acquiescent, the hippo listens to all of them — to unfortunate results. But when an over-enthusiastic giraffe finds fault with something that the hippo can’t change about himself, he decides that it’s time to make a stand.
Written in direct speech that rhymes throughout, this is a humorous book that will resonate with kids (especially since they are always being told what to do as well); it also has an important message about respecting other people and being true to yourself, instead of succumbing to peer pressure and/or blindly following bad advice. After all, sometimes, the best advice on advice is not to listen to a word of it — or, if you must, to take it with a pinch of salt.