The Lorax (Classic Seuss)
"UNLESS someone like you…cares a whole awful lot…nothing is going to get better…It’s not."
Long before saving the earth became a global concern, Dr. Seuss, speaking through his character the Lorax, warned against mindless progress and the danger it posed to the earth’s natural beauty.
"The big, colorful pictures and the fun images, word plays and rhymes make this an amusing exposition of the ecology crisis."—School Library Journal. Illus. in full color.
About the Author(s)
Dr. Seuss was born Theodor Geisel in Springfield, Massachusetts on March 2, 1904. After attending Dartmouth College and Oxford University, he began a career in advertising. His advertising cartoons, featuring Quick, Henry, the Flit!, appeared in several leading American magazines. Dr. Seuss’s first children’s book, And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street, hit the market in 1937, and the world of children’s literature was changed forever! In 1957, Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat became the prototype for one of Random House’s best- selling series, Beginner Books. This popular series combined engaging stories with outrageous illustrations and playful sounds to teach basic reading skills. Brilliant, playful, and always respectful of children, Dr. Seuss charmed his way into the consciousness of four generations of youngsters and parents. In the process, he helped kids learn to read.
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1984 and three Academy Awards, Seuss was the author and illustrator of 44 children’s books, some of which have been made into audiocassettes, animated television specials, and videos for children of all ages. Even after his death in 1991, Dr. Seuss continues to be the best-selling author of children’s books in the world.
An Important Book, August 9, 2000
Seuss, a former editorial caroonist, turns in a most compelling message with this parable about corporate greed and environmental destruction. Many adults remember this book from their childhoods, and I strongly suggest that they reread it every now and again. Seuss begins with a very engaging premise to draw the reader in – an old mysterious person locked in a tower in a ruined wastelend that will tell you a story if you ask carefully. The story he tells is of himself in the past, when he came to a thriving environment and set up shop exploiting the resources of the area. This draws the Jeremiads of the Lorax, who points out the ill consequences at every turn. The narrator ignores them, not out of ill will towards the environment but out of ignorance and the belief that he can do whatever he likes anyhow. In the end, the place is utterly destroyed and all its creatures leave, including the Loraz who departs with an infinite sadness on his face. The story sounds like a dark one, but somehow Seuss’s whimsical rhymes and drawings make it more palatable, though it speaks harsh truths. The ending is superb and offers hope – a small boy is given the last seed of the disappeared trees, and asked to do what he can to renew the land. May we all do the same to the best of our abilities!
The now remorseful Once-ler–our faceless, bodiless narrator–tells the story himself. Long ago this enterprising villain chances upon a place filled with wondrous Truffula Trees, Swomee-Swans, Brown Bar-ba- loots, and Humming-Fishes. Bewitched by the beauty of the Truffula Tree tufts, he greedily chops them down to produce and mass-market Thneeds. ("It’s a shirt. It’s a sock. It’s a glove. It’s a hat.") As the trees swiftly disappear and the denizens leave for greener pastures, the fuzzy yellow Lorax (who speaks for the trees "for the trees have no tongues") repeatedly warns the Once-ler, but his words of wisdom are for naught. Finally the Lorax extricates himself from the scorched earth (by the seat of his own furry pants), leaving only a rock engraved "UNLESS." Thus, with his own colorful version of a compelling morality play, Dr. Seuss teaches readers not to fool with Mother Nature. But as you might expect from Seuss, all hope is not lost–the Once-ler has saved a single Truffula Tree seed! Our fate now rests in the hands of a caring child, who becomes our last chance for a clean, green future. (Ages 4 to 8)