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The Lorax

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"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.

His classic cautionary tale is now available in an irresistible mini-edition, perfect for backpack or briefcase, for Arbor Day, Earth Day, and every day.

72 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 1971

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About the author

Dr. Seuss

836 books17.3k followers
Theodor Seuss Geisel was born 2 March 1904 in Springfield, Massachusetts. He graduated Dartmouth College in 1925, and proceeded on to Oxford University with the intent of acquiring a doctorate in literature. At Oxford he met Helen Palmer, who he wed in 1927. He returned from Europe in 1927, and began working for a magazine called Judge, the leading humor magazine in America at the time, submitting both cartoons and humorous articles for them. Additionally, he was submitting cartoons to Life, Vanity Fair and Liberty. In some of his works, he'd made reference to an insecticide called Flit. These references gained notice, and led to a contract to draw comic ads for Flit. This association lasted 17 years, gained him national exposure, and coined the catchphrase "Quick, Henry, the Flit!"

In 1936 on the way to a vacation in Europe, listening to the rhythm of the ship's engines, he came up with And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, which was then promptly rejected by the first 43 publishers he showed it to. Eventually in 1937 a friend published the book for him, and it went on to at least moderate success.

During World War II, Geisel joined the army and was sent to Hollywood. Captain Geisel would write for Frank Capra's Signal Corps Unit (for which he won the Legion of Merit) and do documentaries (he won Oscar's for Hitler Lives and Design for Death). He also created a cartoon called Gerald McBoing-Boing which also won him an Oscar.

In May of 1954, Life published a report concerning illiteracy among school children. The report said, among other things, that children were having trouble to read because their books were boring. This inspired Geisel's publisher, and prompted him to send Geisel a list of 400 words he felt were important, asked him to cut the list to 250 words (the publishers idea of how many words at one time a first grader could absorb), and write a book. Nine months later, Geisel, using 220 of the words given to him published The Cat in the Hat , which went on to instant success.

In 1960 Bennett Cerf bet Geisel $50 that he couldn't write an entire book using only fifty words. The result was Green Eggs and Ham . Cerf never paid the $50 from the bet.

Helen Palmer Geisel died in 1967. Theodor Geisel married Audrey Stone Diamond in 1968. Theodor Seuss Geisel died 24 September 1991.

Also worked under the pen name: Theo Le Sieg

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5 stars
194,161 (58%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 4,843 reviews
Profile Image for Michael Finocchiaro.
Author 3 books5,539 followers
October 8, 2019
Now who would have thought that Seuss back in the 60’s would have already been concerned about the destruction of the environment – so much so that he wrote this incredible and addictive story (asked for by my son two to three times a week). My kid is always asking me about the Once-ler “Why can’t we see his body? Why did he make the Barba-loots go away? Why did he cut down the Truffula tree? What is a Thneed?” The lessons are so simple and yet so subtle here – and it is great on so many different levels. The Thneed question makes me almost blush because I have so many thneeds (iPhone, iPad, Mac, Cinema Display, PS3, etc). Who else would have thought of such a perfect word like thneeds. Or sluppity slupp and gloopity gloop. Tonight my son wanted me to show him a Whisper-ma-phone and to hear a snargley voice. What can I say? It is a story that I can STRONGLY recommend to anyone reading this blog and especially to the kids of my readers. I just hope that the UNLESS will be applicable to the generation after ours with our Valdeses and Fukushimas…of course are not directly the fault of our generation but then our generation hasn’t really made headway in preventing these disasters either.
I just hope that I don’t glow in the dark as I walk through the grickle grass eating humming fish sushi.
May 6, 2015
January 2015

A one-paragraph review of a children's book I didn't like has generated more trolls and their inevitable sock puppet alteregos than any other of my reviews, I've lost count of the number of them. I delete some of their comments, some delete their own (and their profiles), some GR do. But what is there about this review or about the book that generates this kind of over-the-top reaction from obviously mentally-unstable individuals?
_____

Maybe I'm just not a Dr. Seuss person but I hated this book. Boring story, stupid words that didn't entertain and even though it was meant for a child rather than me, my son hardly ever looked at it growing up, so its sits on the shelf still quite pristine.

Funny thing is that this is only a comment on a kiddies' book - yet it has engendered so much nastiness from several people all of whom appear to be alteregos of Michael. He has made it his business to take people (not me alone) to task for not enjoying this book even to the extent of making personal remarks. He himself enjoys it so much he's made a society (IRL not virtually) to promote its aims as thought it were a kind of bible. Luckily the other reviewers are more rational and measured in their response and don't feel the need to make rude personal remarks. Each to his own. This isn't for me.

May 2010

I was just looking through my reviews and noticed that Corky and two other characters (the same person?) have deleted their reviews and their IDs. Interesting.....
Profile Image for Archit.
824 reviews3,224 followers
February 9, 2017


Oh Lorax, what did we make of your world.


Your beasts that were,

The trees that were dear.


The Lorax project is a commendable effort on behalf of Dr. Seuss Enterprise and Random House.

Apprises the children of the fact that they just might be the last generation seeing a lot of things.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,566 reviews56.6k followers
September 25, 2019
The Lorax, Dr. Seuss
The Lorax is a children's book written by Dr. Seuss and first published in 1971. It chronicles the plight of the environment and the Lorax is the titular character, who "speaks for the trees" and confronts the Once-ler, who causes environmental destruction. As in most Dr. Seuss books, the creatures mentioned are typically unique to the story. A young unnamed boy living in a polluted area visits a strange isolated man called the Once-ler on the Street of the Lifted Lorax. The boy pays the Once-ler fifteen cents, a nail, and the shell of a great-great-great grandfather snail to hear the legend of how the Lorax was lifted and taken away. ...

تاریخ نخستین نگرش: روز بیست و پنجم ماه سپتامبر سال 2008 میلادی
عنوان: لوراکس؛ زیوس (سوس، سئوس)؛ مترجم: رضی هیرمندی؛ تهران: افق، کتابهای فندق، 1386؛ در 48 ص؛ مصور؛ شابک: 9789643694197؛ گروه سنی: ب، ج؛ چاپ دوم: تهران: نشر افق، کتابهای فندق‏‫، 1392؛ در 70 ص، شابک: 9789643699215؛ موضوع: داستانهای طنز (خنده دار) برای کودکان - از نویسندگان ایالات متحده امریکا - سده 20 م
عنوان: لوراکس؛ نویسنده: سئوس؛ مترجم: راحله مرادی؛ تهران: آشنایی‏‫، 1389؛ در 56 ص؛ مصور، رنگی، شابک: 9789647063647؛ ‬چاپ دوم 1394؛ چاپ سوم 1396؛

رخدادهای زیست محیطی را برای کودکان بازگو میکندد، درباره درخت مهربانی به نام «لوراکس» است، که نسلش توسط بازرگانی سودجو به خطر میافتد، اما داستان را پسرکی بنام «تد» میچرخاند، که برای بدست آوردن دختر آرزوهایش باید به خواسته ی او تن دهد تا ....؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Tim.
74 reviews5 followers
April 18, 2008
You can have your Silent Spring and Inconvenient Truth. The Lorax and his lesson of unless is, to me, the most moving piece of environmental literature ever. It shows that a) good children's literature doesn't have to be simplistic or happy to be effective and b) that you certainly need not be a member of a political group to appreciate the message that our drive to industrialize must not happen at the expense of our planet.
Profile Image for Alejandro.
1,127 reviews3,551 followers
May 1, 2017
Another of the very best books by Dr. Seuss!


IT'S NOT TOO LATE!!!

UNLESS someone like you.

cares a whole awful lot,

nothing is going to get better.

It’s not.

This is one other of the best ever tales by Dr. Seuss.

Like, The Sneetches was crafted in the 60s, it’s not wonder that The Lorax was conceived in 1971, since it was the decade where ecology finally became a relevant issue in the conscience of people.

A powerful story showing in a very open way, how grimm will be our future (and sadly, forty-five years later, we are still in the same trouble) if we let that our woods would be lost without control at the expense of making stuff that we really don’t need or that we’d be able to supply in other ways.

But it’s not too late yet!!!

If each of us, make our contribution in one way or another, not matter how small, we still being able to help our planet’s nature, and then…

…the Lorax will return!


Profile Image for Paul Haspel.
543 reviews66 followers
April 29, 2022
The Lorax still speaks for the trees; and thank heaven he does, because his message has never been more relevant. Written in 1971 – two years after the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland caught fire; one year after the first celebration of Earth Day – Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax conveys a desperately needed environmentalist message to a world that may, or may not, care to listen.

Dull greys, browns, and purples predominate in the book’s early pages: a small boy negotiates his way through a bleak landscape where “the wind smells slow-and-sour when it blows/and no birds ever sing excepting old crows” (p. 1). The boy follows the Street of the Lifted Lorax in search of a story that he knows he needs to hear. His informant, the Once-ler, is well-named; Dr. Seuss takes the reassuring “Once upon a time” that traditionally begins a children’s story, and gives it a menacing edge.

The Once-ler, who, in another splendid example of Dr. Seuss’s talent for evocative coinages, “lurks in his Lerkim” outside of town, will tell the story of the Lorax, “perhaps…/if you’re willing to pay” (p. 4). Once the toll has been paid and checked for correctness – “fifteen cents/and a nail/and the shell of a great-great-great-/grandfather snail” (p. 6) – he will tell you the story, “for the secrets I tell are for your ears alone” (p. 9).

We have given our coins to Charon, the ferryman of the River Styx, and it is time for our descent into the abyss. In The Lorax, as in many of his books, Dr. Seuss evokes the archetypes of classical myth; but this time, that subtext is linked with an environmentalist message, and comes through with particular clarity. We enter a new kind of Hades, a modern world-of-the-dead, and learn how and why it died.

We never see the Once-ler’s face – only his green arms that may or may not symbolize “the green” that so many people spend their lives pursuing. In the flashback narrative that takes up the major portion of The Lorax, the Once-ler arrives in an earthly paradise for which Dr. Seuss immediately switches to a brightly coloured palette – greens, blues, oranges, yellows, and pinks: colours found in nature. The most notable features of this Edenic landscape are “The bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees!/Mile after mile in the fresh morning breeze” (p. 12).

The Once-ler calls it a “glorious place” (p. 12) because of the beauty of the landscape – land animals called Bar-ba-loots enjoying the fruit of the Truffula Trees; Humming-Fish swimming happily in the pond; Swomer-Swans singing joyously as they fly overhead. Yet the Once-ler focuses on the commercial opportunity that the Truffula Trees present: “The touch of their tufts/was much softer than silk./And they had the sweet smell/of fresh butterfly milk” (p. 16).

The Once-ler chops down a Truffula Tree, knits from it an object called a Thneed, and by that means causes the first appearance of the Lorax – a character that has become so famous in so many media that it was refreshing to see the character again in the book where he first came to life so many years ago, to meet him anew. In Dr. Seuss’s words, “He was shortish. And oldish./And brownish. And mossy./And he spoke with a voice/that was sharpish and bossy” (p. 21).

In his sharpish, bossy voice, the Lorax quickly pronounces a set of lines that once propelled him into his own state of Seussian immortality, right alongside the Grinch and the Cat in the Hat: “I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees./I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues” (p. 23). More to the point, the Lorax has an eminently practical question for the Once-ler: "What’s that THING you’ve made out of my Truffula tuft?" (p. 23)

Undaunted, the Once-ler proudly proclaims the merits of his all-new, all-purpose consumer product, the Thneed: “A Thneed’s a Fine-Something-That-All-People Need!/It’s a shirt. It’s a sock. It’s a glove./It’s a hat./But it has other uses. Yes, far beyond that./You can use it for carpets. For pillows! For sheets!/Or curtains! Or covers for bicycle seats!” (p. 24) The Thneed, of course, is a perfect emblem for modern marketing in our consumerist society. You don’t sell people something that they already need; rather, you invent a product that no one really needs, and then create the need for it.

NOW how much would you pay? But wait! There’s still more! Operators are standing by!

The Lorax’s assessment that the Once-ler is “crazy with greed” (p. 24) is accurate; sadly, his belief that “There is no one on earth/who would buy that fool Thneed!” (p. 24) is not. Some person comes along and purchases the first Thneed for $3.98. (That’s in 1971 prices, mind you; in adjusted dollars, today a Thneed would set you back $23.95 or so.) The Once-ler, flush with his initial success, smugly notes that “You never can tell what some people will buy” (p. 26).

Dismissing the Lorax’s attempts to speak for the trees with a brusque “I’m busy….Shut up, if you please” (p. 29), the Once-ler calls in his whole family; and quicker than you can say “new markets,” the Once-ler family factory is rapidly expanding, turning out an ever-growing number of Thneeds. Making more Thneeds, of course, involves cutting down more Truffula Trees; and the relentlessly enterprising Once-ler swiftly devises a “Super-Axe-Hacker/which whacked off four Truffula Trees at one smacker” (p. 33), quadrupling the rate of Thneed production.

This seems as good a place as any to mention that the annual rate of Amazon rainforest deforestation has been as high as 10,588 square miles of rainforest per year – an area roughly the size of my home state of Maryland. The Amazon rainforest generates 20 percent of the world’s oxygen. I mention these facts only for the benefit of those readers who might assume that nothing like the events of The Lorax is happening in real life.

Meanwhile, back in the (theoretically) fictional world of The Lorax, the environmental impact of Thneedism is felt quickly. The Brown Bar-ba-loots, the land animals that fed upon Truffula Fruits, have nothing to eat, and the Lorax must send them away in hopes of finding a new home where they will not starve. The Once-ler suffers a momentary pang of remorse, but then soothes his conscience by reflecting that “business is business!/And business must grow/regardless of crummies in tummies, you know” (p. 37). A man’s gotta make a livin’. How much harm has that tired old rationalization already done? How much more harm will it do in the future?

The air and water suffer as the land has suffered; and the sweet-voiced Swomer-Swans must follow the Brown Bar-ba-loots out of their homeland and into an uncertain future. So must the once-happy Humming-Fish; their water hopelessly polluted by the grotesque by-products of the Thneed-industrial complex, they must “walk on their fins and get woefully dreary/in search of some water that isn’t so smeary” (p. 47). Dr. Seuss, always gentle in his consideration of the children who were and are his primary audience, glides over the fact that most fish (aside from species like the snakehead and the walking catfish) don’t have the option of “walking on their fins”; they just remain in the polluted water, swimming until they die.

No spoiler alert will be required, I trust, if I state that the Once-ler’s dedication to “biggering,” growing his business bigger and bigger, results in environmental disaster; the Once-ler’s family leaves him, waving as they drive away in their matching “You Need a Thneed”-mobiles, and the saddened Lorax ascends upward “through a hole in the smog, without leaving a trace” (p. 55), leaving behind him only “a small pile of rocks, with the one word…/’UNLESS’” (p. 56). Finally stricken with real remorse, the Once-ler tells the boy who has come to hear the story that “UNLESS someone like you/cares a whole awful lot,/nothing is going to get better./It’s not” (p. 58). The story ends on a note of guarded optimism, with the Once-ler giving the boy a gift that has the potential to change things for the better.

Reputedly Dr. Seuss's favourite among all his books, The Lorax covers a lot of ground in 61 pages. There have, of course, been TV and movie versions of The Lorax – the 1972 animated TV special narrated by Eddie Albert, and the 2012 computer-animated feature film with Zac Efron, Taylor Swift, Betty White, and Danny DeVito as the Lorax. But I hope that those adaptations will lead people back to Dr. Seuss’s original book, which has a power of its own. I only wonder whether, in later years, The Lorax will be read as a warning that was heeded in time – or as an epitaph.
Profile Image for Kevin.
495 reviews83 followers
August 14, 2021
This book became a topic of discussion at my office when one of my far-right coworkers referred to it as “subversive literature”. Now that I know that it pisses off evangelistic conservatives I am making it my mission to promote it (t-shirts, bumper stickers, etc) ad nauseam…
Profile Image for persephone ☾.
465 reviews2,053 followers
February 20, 2022
a critique of capitalism and environmental activism, all of that in a childrens' book ?? this man was doing God's work
Profile Image for Karina.
820 reviews
June 2, 2019
I have continuously read this book since watching the film bc I believe in its message about saving Mother Earth and the trees. I am not a tree hugger but I love my toilet paper and my paperback books and I believe all our God given gifts should be treasured and saved esp from these greedy, nasty corporations that only care about the money coming in.

That being said, I'm not into all the rhyming thneads and so on but the kiddoes love it. They are the target and I hope they come to understand the message, if not the crazy rhymes.
Profile Image for [S] Bibliophage.
950 reviews858 followers
December 4, 2017


I saw the movie adaptation of this classic children's story on 2012. What I liked about the movie version is that there's a closure to the story while the readers were leave to their own imagination on what happened. Both the book and movie adaptation are highly recommended because it reminds us to care on our environment.
Profile Image for Gary.
941 reviews205 followers
April 2, 2020
Should teach children not to be greedy and what the evils of unbridled capitalism do tobeautiful things.
Profile Image for Ronyell.
955 reviews322 followers
August 23, 2012
“The Lorax” is one of Dr. Seuss’ most memorable books as it is about the importance of taking care of all of the trees in the world. “The Lorax” may have some controversial issues, but it is still a great book for both children and adults to treasure for many years.

Dr. Seuss’ story about how chopping down too many trees can destroy the Earth’s environment is truly powerful and moving as it realistically portrays what can happen to the environment when trees are cut down through Dr. Seuss’ childish world. Dr. Seuss’ illustrations as always are extremely creative and inventive especially when we are first introduced to the land of the Truffula trees, the land is colourful and peaceful looking, but when the once-ler starts cutting down all the Truffula trees, the land looks dark and bleak, representing the pollution that is caused from cutting down the trees.

Parents should know that even though I personally do not see anything wrong with this book, this book was considered extremely controversial due to the fact that many people believed that the book was trying to promote the idea that industrialization is a bad thing. Personally, I think that this book was just trying to discuss about the issues of environmentalism and that cutting down too many trees can cause pollution on the earth.

“The Lorax” is one of the greatest books about the issues of environmentalism that kids will understand perfectly and will definitely be evolved into one of the greatest cult classics to ever come to the world of children’s books. I would recommend this book to children ages five and up due to the controversial material about whether or not industrialization is a good or bad thing for the world that small children might not understand.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog
Profile Image for ♥ℂĦℝΪՖƬΪℕÅ.
230 reviews3,933 followers
November 13, 2018
5 A wonderful story with a POWERFUL message! ★'s

“I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees. I speak for the trees for the trees have no tongues.”

Oh. My. Goodness! *in a singsong voice* I love, I love, I loovvve, The Lorax :) Seriously though this book right here is so so special! I know I say this like all the time but whatever... this is another one of my FAVORITE Dr. Seuss books. I mean HELLO it's Dr. Seuss for crying out loud, of course, it's amazing. I love all of his crazy, weird, cute, unique and special characters he's able to bring to life. They all are truly something else. In all honesty though The Lorax has got to be Dr. Seuss's most serious of all his books, he really tones down all the silliness that's in his other books and really tries to drive his point across. Point being we need care about our environment and that we have got to treat it right! To help drive this point the illustrations start out so bleak and lifeless, in all shades of greys and then once the story gets going the colors turn so vivid and bright and beautiful, just to fade back into grey as the trees start getting cut down :( The illustrations are incredible! If your looking to read something goofy this isn't it but if you're interested in reading something with a powerful message... Look no further for you have found it.

“It's not about what it is, it's about what it can become.”


*The movie was brilliant!! I have seen it so many times it's not even funny and now thanks to writing this review I must... I MUST. Watch it again tonight! haha*


Profile Image for Melly.
32 reviews1 follower
February 7, 2023
Incredible! I really didn’t expect to get so much out of this little kids book!! This is fun to read but also has some moving messages about what really matters in life. I think this will become a favourite Dr Seuss book for me 😊
Profile Image for Prabhjot Kaur.
1,046 reviews148 followers
May 20, 2021
"Mister!" he said with a sawdusty sneeze,
"I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees.
I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues.
And I'm asking you, sir, at the top of my lungs." -
he was very upset as he shouted and puffed -
"What's that THING you've made out of my Truffula tuft?"


A wonderful book about teaching kids about the environmental impacts of cutting trees and polluting the lakes for our selfish needs. It has amazing rhyming with gorgeous illustrations and a very important and thought-provoking message.

5 stars
Profile Image for Kellie O'Connor.
162 reviews18 followers
July 10, 2022
First of all,I have to tell you that I have always loved Dr. Seuss!! I haven't read this book for many years and I loved it all over again 🤗 .
. It's a fantastic, beautiful book about how The Onceler is chopping down special trees in the forest to get rich making Thneeds. The Lorax keeps telling him to stop because The Lorax wants to save the trees. The animals,birds and fish who live in the forest depend on these special trees to survive!! There's a word at end of the story to make us all think! The word is UNLESS! This is the only word The Loax leaves. To find out the meaning,I would love to have you read this book!.
I recommend this emotionally moving book to kids of all ages!! 💖
Profile Image for Robert Bickers.
29 reviews38 followers
September 16, 2011
Ok, so it's a heavy-handed enviromental terror-tale. It's also the Seuss book that stuck with me the longest. Of all the books I read as a little kid, it's the one that I still remember making me feel something.

I'm a conservationist-not an environmentalist by any stretch. The Lorax didn't teach me to hate industry or chew on organically-sustainable bark. It taught me to care about nature. To this day, decades after I read and re-read it, the drawing of the barren wasteland still gets to me.
Profile Image for Michelle [Helen Geek].
1,772 reviews402 followers
March 3, 2012
Hate to see less than 5 Stars for a Seuss!

I'm taking my Grand-girl to the the movie [her first IMAX] today and remembered I should rate in GR.

I was raised on Seuss, my kids were raised on Seuss and now a third generation. What is not to love?

Happy Reading!
Profile Image for Trish.
1,931 reviews3,403 followers
November 28, 2016
I love books by Dr. Seuss in general, but The Lorax is definitely and by far my absolute favourite!

Now, for any who have seen the film and not read the book yet, I should say that the book is slightly different, because the story is slightly shorter, which would not have worked for a movie.

Nevertheless, or maybe exactly because of this, the book with its' magnificently cute drawings and wonderful rhymes is even more beautiful.
A very important book to teach people (not just kids) about the importance of nature and the consequences of our actions!
Profile Image for Ken.
2,164 reviews1,322 followers
February 4, 2022
Dr. Seuss's longlasting appeal of fun rhymes and strikingly colourful pictures alongside important impactful messages still feel so relevant today.

The simple notion of an entrepreneur discovering a popular product through the Truffula trees.
Despite constant warnings from The Lorax, the man continues to alter the local ecosystem by chopping down more trees at a faster speed to quicken his profits.

The quirky fun works will instantly appeal to young readers, though its the colourful imagery that gets grey and grey that makes the most impact.
The damage done to the environment for capitalism is a heavy but profound message that highlights why these books are still so important for readers of all ages.
Profile Image for Masoud Irannejad.
171 reviews112 followers
May 6, 2019
انیمیشنی به همین نام ساخته شده که انصافا خوب ساخته شده ، به نظرم از کتابش هم بهتره
Profile Image for La Coccinelle.
2,245 reviews3,563 followers
December 10, 2019
I didn't think I'd read this one, but as I turned the pages, the memories started to come back to me. It was the Brown Bar-ba-loots that stuck in my head for some reason...

In any case, this is a rather modern-sounding tale about conservation. It's just as appropriate for today's audiences as it would have been when it was first published. The Lorax contains a story within a story told by a mysterious character called the Once-ler, who tells of a time when Truffula Trees grew plentiful, supplying the Brown Bar-ba-loots with shade and food. But the Once-ler figures out that he can knit with the tufts of the Truffula Trees, and this spells the end of the natural paradise. A creature called the Lorax, who speaks for the trees, warns the Once-ler that he's doing harm... but the Once-ler cares only about money.

I found the writing in this a bit iffy, and the meter isn't as strong as it is in some of Dr. Seuss's other books. Still, the message is important enough that I'm willing to overlook some of these issues.

The story ends with a bit of hope, but the depiction of what happens from unchecked industry and greed is bleak. It's definitely a timely tale, and one that is perfectly appropriate--necessary, even--for today's kids.

Quotable moment:

Profile Image for Andrea.
633 reviews15 followers
October 28, 2007
So, I understand that this book was written a long time ago, before this kind of environmental fairy tale was popularized, and perhaps when it was needed more. But it still seems like a total straw man (hello? can't you just plant your own grove of sustainable truffula trees?). And does the Lorax have to be such a jerk about everything? Maybe he could propose some sort of compromise . . . I guess as a kids' book it's supposed to be simple for kids to understand, but kids aren't that dumb. I like a lot of Dr. Seuss, but any time he's trying to get across any kind of message (even a good one) it just rubs me the wrong way.
Profile Image for Skylar Burris.
Author 20 books230 followers
May 28, 2008
This gets five stars for being beautifully written, and one for being heavy handed, which averages out to four for me. I'm a conservationist, but there is no nuance in The Lorax's presentation of environmentalism: the book simply demonizes business.

The Once-ler is an extreme negative caricature of the capitalist: what he offers society as an entrepreneur is not valuable in any way, he has no regard for anything but his own profit, and he proceeds with reckless abandon. Of course, in a world that is not an emotionally manipulative moral fable, the Once-ler would have planted many more Truffula trees LONG before they became extinct, because when a resource is profitable and replenishable, any capitalist with even half a brain replenishes it. On the other hand, I suppose the Lorax could be said also to be an extreme negative caricature of the environmentalist: he pops on the scene sporadically to scold with righteous indignation, offers no compromise, accomplishes nothing, leaves the costs of realizing his cause to others, and literally flies by the seat of his pants. (And yet I've never heard an environmentalist complain about the Lorax's lack of complexity.)

Nevertheless, despite its caricatures and lack of nuance, I cannot deny the overall quality and effect of the story. The mood setting is phenomenal, and I'm always amazed that the Dr. Seuss books, no matter how long, hold my preschooler's attention the entire time. Other books half that long would not do so. I don't remember particularly caring about this one when I read it as a child. As an adult, however, from a purely literary perspective, it strikes me as being among his best. It's a superbly effective piece of propaganda, and, if I weren’t so concerned about balance, compromise, and critical thinking, I'd give it five stars. Perhaps, however, I shouldn't be so concerned: after all, isn't most children's literature painted in sweeping strokes of black and white? Children don't think with the critical faculties of adults, and what is my daughter really going to take away from this? (A) Capitalism is evil and I should never start my own business, or (B) I should plant a tree! I hope it will be only (B), and (B) is not a bad thing at all.
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