Random House, 2008 (1971)
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
r. Seuss was clearly ahead of his time in his concern for the environment when he wrote
, which has recently been reissued and printed on recycled paper.
he beginning looks like a grey and haunted setting for a horror movie as a boy embarks on a quest to find out from the old Once-ler: '
the Lorax? / And why was it there? / And why was it lifted and taken somewhere / from the far end of town where the Grickle-grass grows?
' After he pays '
fifteen cents and a nail and the shell of a great-great-great-grandfather snail
', the boy hears the story by
he Once-ler tells of a glorious place in olden days '
when the grass was still green / and the pond was still wet / and the clouds were still clean
' and he saw for the first time '
The bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees! / Mile after mile in the fresh morning breeze
' - along with Brown Bar-ba-loots, Swomee-Swans and Humming-Fish. What did he do? He began cutting down Truffula Trees and knitting Thneeds from them.
hich is when the Lorax appeared - '
He was shortish. And oldish. / And brownish. And mossy. / And he spoke with a voice / that was sharpish and bossy.
' The Lorax, you see, spoke for the trees. But the Once-ler was much too busy cutting them down, knitting and selling Thneeds, to listen. Next the Lorax spoke for the Brown Bar-ba-loots, who lacked Truffula Fruits to eat. Then the '
' made the Swomee-Swans leave, followed by a Humming-Fish exodus from their polluted pond.
he Once-ler ignored all advice and kept on
his operation ... until the last Truffula Tree was felled. Then the Lorax departed too, leaving a cairn with one word -
. After years of pondering, the Once-ler concludes '
UNLESS someone like you / cares a whole awful lot, / nothing is going to get better, / It's not.
' Indeed it's not and Dr. Seuss serves up in
a lesson that's still timely for all of us.
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