The Lorax by Dr Seuss

A few pages into the The Lorax the colourful illustrations transport you into a fictional world filled with “Truffula Trees” that provide shade for the “Brown bar-ba-loots” that play underneath, and where “Swomee-Swans” sing and “Humming Fish” hum.

However, all that changes when one greedy character, the “Once-ler”, arrives. After strolling into town, it doesn’t take long for the Once-ler to create a “Thneed”.

“Everybody needs a Thneed,” he says. Creating a Thneed requires him to cut down a Truffula Tree. (A Thneed, in case you’re wondering, is described by the Once-ler as “A  Fine Something That All  People Need. It’s a shirt. It’s a sock. It’s a glove. It’s a hat … but is has other uses. Yes, far beyond that …”).

As he chops his first tree down to make a Thneed, the Lorax appears and tells him to stop. But what does the Once-ler choose to do? He ignores this advice, believing he is doing no harm. Filled with great greed, his business grows and grows, and one by one the trees come down. As the Truffula Trees disappear so too does their colour, and the township begins to transcend into darkness.

As wagons leave the factory filled with Thneeds, the Lorax once again appears and begins to send each creature off, one by one, explaining it is no longer a place they should be. The Lorax warns the Once-ler again, but he still won’t listen and fuelled by greed continues to cut down trees.

Then, after the final tree comes down with a thud, the factory the Once-ler created grinds to a halt; and so too does the town. No longer do the Swomee-Swans sing, the Humming Fish hum or the Brown-bar-ba-loots play. With all signs of life having disappeared, the Lorax leaves the Once-ler alone in the dark. The Lorax’s final parting word is written on a pile of rocks “… UNLESS”. The reader is then invited to follow the Once-ler’s journey to discover what is meant by this parting message.

Dr Seuss wrote The Lorax in 1971. He was an outstanding author who wrote stories using his imagination. The Lorax helps kids understand the importance of stewardship of creation.

Creation is a gift from God, and it is our responsibility to look after this gift. We are not only looking after creation for ourselves but for all people and animals around the world. The Lorax shows that we do not need to continually have more and more things. We need to make small changes in our daily lives to look after creation. It reminds us that it is important to be more, rather than having more.

We think children would enjoy this book because of the nonsense language and rhyme that engages the audience into a world of silliness and humour, while delivering a powerful message. It encourages children to become involved in a conversation about the environment and look for different ways to care and respect it now and for the future.

It is amazing to think The Lorax was written 49 years ago addressing industrial and environmental issues that are still being discussed today.

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