It is a difficult task to teach children (and adults alike actually) about the importance of the environment and the trees and yada yada. The moment anyone mentions environment depletion/deforestation/water pollution/ anything of that sort, yawns and looks of boredom come your way. But the ever creative Dr. Seuss came up with a plan to tackle this problem. The solution is ‘The Lorax’!
A typical Dr. Seuss book, filled with colourful pictures and rhymes, it uses personification to put across its point. The environment is portrayed by Lorax and the industry as Once-ler. It highlights the problem of corporate greed and the effects of the same on nature. The main theme of this book is the age-old question of balancing out economic intentions vis-a-vie environment protection. To think of an idea as such in 1971, by Dr. Seuss is commendable, to say the least.
It starts off with a young boy visiting an old man, the Once-ler, who is living alone at the edge of town. The boy pays the Once-ler fifteen cents, a nail, and the shell of a great-great-great grandfather snail to explain why the area is in such a run-down state. The Once-ler explains to the boy how he once arrived in a beautiful, pristine valley containing happy, playful fauna (Brown Bar-ba-loots, Swomee Swans and Humming Fish) that spent their days romping around blissfully among “Truffula trees“. The Once-ler proceeded to cut down the Truffula trees to gather raw material to knit “Thneeds“, a ridiculously versatile invention of his, “which everyone needs“. Thneeds could be used as a shirt, a sock, a glove, a hat, a carpet, a pillow, a sheet, a curtain, a seat cover, and a countless number of other things. And when he does that, he summons the titular Lorax who warns the Once-ler against mindless and needless production of the Thneeds that will eventually ruin the area. But the Once-ler ignores him and continues his production. This leads the area to die and decay.
The Lorax, depressed etches one word, “unless” and then leaves forever. The Once-ler is left to ponder on this one word and find a way to bring back the diversity and beauty that claimed this area. The Lorax’s message is loud and clear, unless someone cares, there is no hope and nothing will improve. And that is the message we all take back, that unless we care and make an effort to do your part, there can be change in the situation.
The book is endearing and witty. Though it seems childish and immature, the book has a strong message. The strongest suit is how it is made the book appealable to everyone and conveyed a message as simple as environmental degradation in a imaginative and interesting way. The vivid pictures too add to the charm of the book.
I would ask everyone to give this book a try, it would make for a fun read on any day and leave you feeling refreshed. A new twist on an old tale, this is (though not so new as the book was published in 1971!).
If you find the book interesting, buy from Amazon or Flipkart here: