The Lorax (Dr. Seuss)

Banned Books Week Day 5: Hello, everyone! We continue Banned Books Week with today’s pick, The Lorax by Dr. Seuss, a classic story about the importance of conservation.

In a dark, industrial wasteland, a small boy finds the Once-ler, an old hermit who tells him the story of when the landscape was filled with clear skies, lively animals and, most wonderful of all, the Truffula trees. The Once-ler came to this place and began chopping down the trees to make “thneeds,” an all-purpose garment, despite the pleas of The Lorax, a creature who speaks for the trees. The Once-ler’s greed and short-sightedness blind him until all the animals must leave, the sky is choked with smog, and lastly, the very last Truffula tree is chopped down. Regretful of his actions, the Once-ler gives the boy he tells his story to a gift, the last Truffula seed, and implores him to care for it and learn from the Once-ler’s mistakes.

The Lorax was banned in 1989 in a California school district because parents felt that it was “unfairly biased against the logging industry.” In fact, a hardwood flooring company authored a rebuttal, The Truax, that was logging-friendly – and universally panned by critics.

The Lorax is a classic tale that is just as poignant today as when it was written. It’s a great cautionary tale with a sad yet hopeful ending that sticks with you, and a must-read for all children. That being said, I would wait until they’re a bit older than JJ: the book is way too long for a baby bookworm, and while she loved the brightly-colored illustrations when the forest was healthy, the dark and dismal drawings of the Once-ler’s aftermath did not interest her (funny thing, that). Overall, however, Baby Bookworm approved!

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