The Lorax Hardcover – Aug 12 1971
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When Dr. Seuss gets serious, you know it must be important. Published in 1971, and perhaps inspired by the "save our planet" mindset of the 1960s, The Lorax is an ecological warning that still rings true today amidst the dangers of clear-cutting, pollution, and disregard for the earth's environment. In The Lorax, we find what we've come to expect from the illustrious doctor: brilliantly whimsical rhymes, delightfully original creatures, and weirdly undulating illustrations. But here there is also something more--a powerful message that Seuss implores both adults and children to heed.
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)
Review, USA Today, April 22, 2008:
"The Lorax. . . has been a perennial favorite of kids and parents since it was published in 1971."
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Top Customer Reviews
What I liked and disliked about it: I liked the funny, interesting names like Lorax and Once-ler. I liked the Truffula trees - they look like long stumps with hair. I didn't like that the Once-ler was cutting the trees because the trees were pretty. The end was good because the Once-ler learned his lesson and felt bad about cutting down the trees. I liked how the Once-ler used the word "biggering" to talk about how his Thneed company was growing. I felt sad when all the trees and animals were gone and I hope that with one seed, it can all come back.
I didn't like how the Once-ler was talking to the Lorax. I think I'm getting too old for Dr. Seuss books because the stories are too short; but I still like watching the movies.
My bottom line: I think littler kids like kindergarten kids and maybe kids in Grades 1 and 2 would like this book, but I still liked it.
What I liked and disliked about it: I really liked the Thneeds and how he made a whole shop of Thneeds - I really want a Thneed! I would use it as a pillow, or blanket, or a chair, or a couch, or a house, or as a rope to catch someone bad. I like how the Lorax just popped out of the tree stump, but he was bossy and mad. The Truffula trees were funny and cool. It didn't bother me that the trees were getting cut because it was making Thneeds and I liked how the Once-ler's stuff had the words "Once-ler" on it like his wagon and store. The Bar-ba-loots were funny with the way they climbed trees and ate berries. I liked how the city looked like when none of the Truffula trees were cut down. I also liked the telephone that the Once-ler dropped out of his house to talk to the little boy. I could use one of those to talk to my sister. I like the Once-ler's house and how you use ladders to get to another floor. I really like the cover and the drawings of the city.
I didn't like it when the Once-ler said "Shut up!" and when he called him "stupid".
My bottom line: I think every kid in my kindergarten class would LOVE this book. I can't wait to see the movie.
What I liked and disliked about it: I thought I had read every Dr. Seuss book as a child. Well, I must admit that I don't remember reading the Lorax. Perhaps it might have gone right over my head (as may be somewhat evident by my kids' reviews - did my son REALLY say he wanted a Thneed!? Sigh...) I LOVED this book! As I was reading it, all I was thinking is that this is a simple story with such a strong message.
The illustrations of the Truffula trees and all the critters make you fall in love with this fantasy world. These images stand in stark contrast to the grey, drab, stripped-down environment pictured at the beginning and end of the book. The story effectively shows the deterioriation of the environment as the Once-ler gets greedier and greedier (love the use of the term "biggering" to describe his increasing greed). We turn pages to see less and less trees as the story progresses. We witness the migration of the Bar-ba-loots who rely on the berries of the Truffula tree. We are incredulous as the Once-ler turns a blind eye to the Swomee-Swans who cannot breathe with the smog created by the factory. We are saddened when the Humming-Fish must "walk on their fins" as their pond becomes inhabitable. But none of this compares to that final moment when the last Truffula tree is felled and the Lorax takes his leave.
But, thankfully we are not left hanging, Dr. Seuss delivers us hope at the very end. Oh, so well done!! Bravo, Dr. Seuss, bravo.
As mentioned above by my children, the Once-ler's treatment of the Lorax is pretty harsh and some of the language is quite strong. However, compared to the dialogue that occurs in real life between greedy corporations and environmental groups, I find this language quite tame and relatively respectful. Ok, it's quite disrespectful, but the idea is that the Once-ler is the villain so it just makes him that much more so when he's mean to that poor little Lorax.
My bottom line: I was pleasantly surprised by this book, but I'm a bit perplexed by what I should say for a recommendation. The message of the book clearly went over my pro-Thneed son's five-year old head, but my eight year-old daughter felt that the book was a bit too simple for her. I LOVED it. I will recommend this book for 3 to 7 year olds but be prepared to really discuss the message in the book - - otherwise you may find yourself trolling ebay for a "Thneed".
The cold hard facts are that all the trees are being cut down. Pretty soon there will be none! That is depressing! Deal with it! Teaching children about it may help to stop this process! 18 million trees are being cut down a day in the U.S. That is startling. In ten years when you can't breathe, you will wish you listened to the Lorax 20 years ago!
My kindergarteners love it! It is all in how you approach it. Teach them to LOVE our earth and it won't be depressing. Excellent book and puppet and concept!!!!!!!!!!!
The story begins when a boy comes to the home of a peculair creature called Once-ler. The boy wants to know about something called the Lorax; "what it was", and "why it was there". After paying the Once-ler a small fee, he narrates the story for the boy. The pictures incorperated into the story are also poignant; for, as we see in the beginning, the small town in which the Once-ler lives is very grey and barren.
However, as the Once-ler begins his story, the pictures become brighter, more cheerful, and colorful, as we see how the town once looked, long, long ago. There were animals, birds, green grass ... and trees!
The Once-ler says, "I came to this glorious place. And I first saw the trees. The Truffula trees". Transfixed by these trees, the Once-ler cuts one down to make a "Thneed". Now, a Thneed is supposed to be a useful thing, which people can find many uses for. Shortly after the first tree is cut down, the Lorax appears. He explains that he talks on behalf of the trees, because the trees cannot talk for themselves. "They have no tongues".
The Lorax is very upset at what the Once-ler has done. But the Once-ler ignores him, and continues to cut down the trees to make Thneeds, until all the trees have been cut down. This action, of cutting down the trees, building a factory to make the thneeds, and releasing waste residue into the water is greatly illustrated in the pictures, showing the cause and effect of polluting the environment.
Eventually the pictures return to the grey, morbid colors we see in the beginning. The Lorax has had to make all the birds, animals and fish leave the town before they die of hunger and starvation, and before they choke to death on all the smog generated by the Once-ler's factory.
As we can clearly see in "The Lorax", Dr. Seuss is making a very defined political statement about how humans have manipulated and destroyed our natural surroundings for their own personal greed. "The Lorax" was written in 1971, in the hayday of environmental activism, and one year after the first Earth Day.
Still, Dr. Suess does not make this story into a gloomy one. He gives us hope. The Once-ler tosses down a seed to the boy; the one last remaining Truffula seed. With this one seed, Dr. Seuss tells us the possiblities are endless, and hope is not lost.
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