Traditional Thursdays: The Lorax

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The Lorax is a book that Dr. Seuss published in 1971. I first heard this story in fourth grade when I went to a theatre camp and performed the tale. The story transcends time; a movie version of The Lorax came out in theaters in 2012 and was very popular. It is an amazing story with an even better message: unless someone who cares tries to make a change, the world will not get better.

The story begins with the narrator talking about how in town one can still see places where the Lorax used to be. However, the Once-ler is the only one who remembers the story of the Lorax, so the narrator encourages the young boy to go talk to the Once-ler to get the full story. The Once-ler then becomes the narrator and talks about when it first came to town and discovered the amazing Truffula trees. The Once-ler began to cut down these trees to make and sell thneeds. As soon as the Once-ler started cutting down the trees, the Lorax appeared and told it to stop the deforestation. The Once-ler would not stop because it was making money off of thneeds.

All the animals in the town had to migrate because of all the pollution the Once-ler’s factories produced. As each animal had to leave, the Lorax warned the Once-ler. As soon as the last Truffula tree was cut down, the Lorax sadly left the town. At this point in the story, the Once-ler returns to the present and gives the boy the last Truffula tree seed and tells him that unless people like him care a lot, nothing is going to change. If the boy plants the seed, the Once-ler thinks that maybe the Lorax and his animal friends will return to the town.

The illustrations in this book are absolutely stunning. The bright colors of the Truffula trees emphasize the fact that while nature is preserved, life is good. However, as soon as the Once-ler begins to chop down the trees and release pollution, the pictures become darker and less colorful. The pictures are not as cheerful, which embodies the idea that nature needs to be respected. The images are simple, but they are memorable. I think the simplicity of the images almost makes the story more realistic because it shows how easy it is for pollution to take over the environment.

         

I do not think there are many books written about conservation, so I love that this book is still popular today. Conservation will always be important, and including important topics in children’s books ensures that children will not be ignorant to these important issues. I believe the major theme of this book is that anyone can make a change as long as he/she cares. Children need to know that if they do not like something, they have the ability to change it. I feel like sometimes children think that only adults can make lasting changes, but certainly they can as well. I believe that The Lorax encourages children to stand up for what they believe in and make change.

I love the story of The Lorax, and since it has remained well-loved in society for almost 45 years, I have a feeling it is here to stay.

By: Emily Barker

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