Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Review - The Lorax

The Lorax
by Dr. Seuss
Date: 1971
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 72
Format: e-book
Source: library

Long before "going green" was mainstream, Dr. Seuss's Lorax spoke for the trees and warned of the dangers of disrespecting the environment. In this cautionary rhyming tale, we learn of the Once-ler, who came across a valley of Truffula Trees and Brown Bar-ba-loots ("frisking about in their Bar-ba-loot suits as they played in the shade and ate Truffula Fruits"), and how his harvesting of the tufted trees changed the landscape forever. With the release of the blockbuster film version, the Lorax and his classic tale have educated a new generation of young readers not only about the importance of seeing the beauty in the world around us, but also about our responsibility to protect it.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

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:

Premise: 4/5
Meter: 3/5
Writing: 3/5
Illustrations: 4/5
Originality: 4/5

Enjoyment: 4/5

Overall: 3.71 out of 5

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