Thursday, March 5, 2015

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 320

Picture Book: The Lorax

Author & Illustrator: Dr. Seuss

Summary: This ecological story begins with a boy wandering onto The Street of the Lifted Lorax. The boy wonders, "What was the Lorax? Why was it lifted?" The old Once-ler who lives nearby knows. Back when the grass was green and the sky was clean, the beautiful Truffula Trees grew. When the Once-ler arrived, he was thrilled by the trees. They met all of his needs for making his Thneeds. When the first tree was chopped down, a creature crawled out of the Truffula’s trunk claiming he was the Lorax who spoke for the trees. The Lorax begged the Once-ler not to cut down any more trees, but the Once-ler ignored him. The trees came down swiftly, and the animals departed. The Once-ler responded to the Lorax, “Business is business! And Business must grow.” The Lorax returned to complain about the smog and polluted pond just as the last Truffula tree fell. The Lorax lifted himself into the sky and departed, but not before leaving behind a pile of stones on which he had written, “Unless.” "What does it mean?" the boy asks. The Once-ler responds, “Unless someone like you cares an awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” Then he gives the boy the last Truffula seed and urges him to plant it and protect it. Perhaps the Lorax and the animals will come back.

Hanna’s Comments: When unpacking this story with children, you’ll need to help them understand how this book does and does not reflect your present reality. Steer the conversation away from a simplified view. Yes, there are people who do terrible damage to the environment in order to sell a product, but there are some safeguards in place that often work.  People do need jobs and products. Consider alternate ways the Once-ler might have begun his business, ways that were more sustainable and respectful to the environment. Then talk about how God created humans to solve problems not create them, although too often it seems that problems are inevitable. Talk about your audience’s role in protecting and improving your environment now and in the future. You might even want to get into the difficult subject of humans having dominion over the other creatures as specified in Genesis. Please note the length of this book.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Random House, 1971

Age & Grade Appropriateness: 5 and up, K and up

# of Pages: 72

Available in Spanish? Yes

Formats other than Book: Tablet, Audio, A video is available on Youtube.com and there is a feature length animated version that I would recommend. Also, Random House has created a website full of Dr. Seuss activities and information. Here’s the link: www.seussville.com.

PBT Category: Classic

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abundance/bounty, abuse/abuse of power, action, beauty, brokenness, care of creation, change, choices/decisions, consequences, consumerism/consumption/riches, creation, death, eggs/seeds, the environment/nature, flowers/leaves/trees, greed/selfishness, guilt, harvest, hope, humanity, mistakes, money, pollution, power, protecting/protection, reverence, sacrifice, sin

Scripture Connections: God created the earth and its creatures. Humans were made in God’s image and were given dominion over the other creatures (Genesis 1:24-26); ask the beasts, and they will teach you (Job 12:7)

Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to a group of children who are concerned about how humans are negatively affecting God’s creation.