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The Lorax is a children’s book written by Dr. Seuss and first published in 1971. It chronicles the plight of the environment and the Lorax, who “speaks for the trees” and confronts the Once-ler, who causes environmental destruction. As in most of Dr. Seuss’s works, most of the creatures mentioned are original to the book.
The story is commonly recognized as a fable concerning the danger of human destruction of the natural environment, using the literary element of personification to create relatable characters for industry (as the Once-ler), the environment (the Truffula trees), and activism (as the Lorax). The story encourages personal care and involvement in making the situation better: “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
The Lorax By Dr. Seuss
At the far end of town
Where the Grickle-grass grows and the wind smells slow-and-sour when it blows and no birds ever sing excepting old crows… is the Street of the Lifted Lorax.
And deep in the Grickle-grass, some people say,
if you look deep enough you can still see, today, where the Lorax once stood
just as long as it could
Before somebody lifted the Lorax away.
What was 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?
The old Once-ler still lives here.
Ask him. He knows.
You won’t see the Once-ler.
Don’t knock at his door.
He stays in his Lerkim on top of his store.
He lurks in his Lerkim, cold under the roof,
where he makes his own clothes
out of miff-muffered moof.
And on special dank midnights in August, he peeks
out of the shutters
and sometimes he speaks and tells how the Lorax was lifted away.
He’ll tell you, perhaps…
if you’re willing to pay.
One the end of a rope he lets down a tin pail and you have to toss in fifteen cents and a nail and the shell of great-great-great-grandfather snail.
Then he pulls up the pail, makes a most careful count to see if you’ve paid him the proper amount.
Then he hides what you paid him away in his Snuvv, his secret strange hole in his gruvvulous glove.
Then he grunts, “I will call you by Whisper-ma-phone, for the secrets I tell are for your ears alone.”
Down slupps the Whisper-ma-Phone to your ear and the old Once-ler’s whispers are not very clear, since they have to come down through a snergelly hose, and he sounds as if he had smallish bees up his nose.
“Now I’ll tell you,” he says, with his teeth sounding gray, “how the Lorax got lifted and taken away…
It all started way back…
such a long, long time back…
Way back in the days when the grass was still green and the pond was still wet and the clouds were still clean, and the song of the Swomee-Swans rang out in space…
One morning, I came to this glorious place.
And I first saw the trees!
The Truffula Trees!
The bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees!
Mile after mile in the fresh morning breeze.
And, under the trees, I saw Brown Bar-ba-loots frisking about in their Bar-ba-loot suits as they played in the shade and ate Truffula Fruits.
From the rippulous pond came the comfortable sound of the Humming-Fish humming while splashing around.
But those trees! Those trees!
Those Truffula Trees!
All my life l’d been searching for trees such as these.
The touch of their tufts was much softer than silk. And they had the sweet smell of fresh butterfly milk.
I felt a great leaping of joy in my heart.
I knew just what I’d do!
I unloaded my cart.
In no time at all, I had built a small shop.
Then I chopped down a Truffula Tree with one chop.
And with great skillful skill and with great speedy speed, I took the soft tuft.
And I knitted a Thneed!
The instant I’d finished, I heard a ga-Zump!
I saw something pop out of the stump of the tree I’d chopped down.
It was sort of a man.
Describe him?… That’s hard. I don’t know if I can.
He was shortish. And oldish. And brownish. And mossy. And he spoke with a voice that was sharpish and bossy.
“Mister!” he said with a sawdusty sneeze, “I am the Lorax.
I speak for the trees.
I speak for the trees, for the trees you have no tongues. And I’m asking you, sir, at the top of lungs” he was very upset as he shouted and puffed “What’s that THING you’ve made out of my Truffula Tuft?”
“Look, Lorax,” I said. “There’s no cause for alarm. I chopped just one tree. I am doing no harm. I’m being quite useful. This thing is a Thneed. A Thneed’s a Fine-Something-That-All-People-Need!
It’s a shirt. It’s a sock. It’s a glove. It’s a hat. But it has other uses. Yes, far beyond that. You can use it for carpets. For pillows! For sheets! Or curtains! Or covers for bicycle seats!”
The Lorax said,
“Sir! You are crazy with greed. There is no one on earth who would buy that fool Thneed!”
But the very next minute I proved he was wrong. For, just at that minutes, a chap came along, and he thought that the Thneed I had knitted was great. He happily bought it for three ninety-eight.
I laughed at the Lorax, “Lorax poor stupid guy!
You never can tell what some people will buy.”
I repeat, ” cried the Lorax,
“I speak for the Trees!”
“I’m busy,” I told him.
“Shut up, if you please.”
I rushed cross the room, and in no time at all, built a radio-phone. I put in a quick call. I called all my brothers and uncles and aunts and I said, “Listen here! Here’s a wonderful chance for the whole Once-ler Faimly to get mighty rich!
Get over here fast! Take the road to North Nitch. Turn left at Weehawken. Sharpe right at South Stitch.”
And, in no time at all, in the factory I built, the whole Once-ler Faimly was working full tilt.
We were all knitting Thneeds just as busy as bees, to the sound of the chopping of Truffula Trees.
Oh! Baby! Oh!
How my business did grow!
Now, chopping one tree at a time was too slow.
So I quickly invented my Super-Axe-Hacker
Which whacked off four Truffula Trees at one smacker.
We were making Thneeds four times as fast as before! And that Lorax?…
He didn’t show up any more.
But the next week he knocked on my new office door.
He snapped, “I’m Lorax who speaks for the trees which you seem to be chopping as fast as you please. But I’m also in charge of the Brown Bar-ba-loots who played in the shade in their Bar-ba-loots suits and happily lived, eating Truffula Fruits.
” Now… Thanks to you hacking my trees to the ground, there’s not enough Truffula Fruit to go round. And my poor Bar-ba-loots are all getting the crummies because they have gas, and no food, in their tummies!
“They loved living here. But I can’t let them stay. They’ll have to find food. And I hope that they may. Good luck, boys,” he cried. And he sent them away.
I, the Once-ler, felt sad as I watched them all go.
But… business is business!
And business must grow regardless of crummies in tummies, you know.
I meant no harm. I most truly did not.
But I had to grow bigger. So bigger I got. I biggered my factory. I biggered my roads.
I biggered my wagons. I biggered the loads of the Thneeds I shipped out. I was shipping them fourth to the South! To the East! To the West! To the North!
I went right on biggering…selling more Thneeds.
And I biggered my money, which everyone needs.
Then again he came back! I was fixing some pipes when that old-nuisance Lorax came back with more gripes.
“I am the Lorax,” he coughed and he whiffed. He sneezed and he snuffled. He snarggled. He sniffed “Once-ler!” he cried with a cruffulous croak. “Once-ler! You’re making such smogulous smoke!
My poor Swomee-Swans…
Why, they can’t sing a note! No one can sing who has smog in his throat.
” And so, “said the Lorax,” _ please pardon my cough _ they cannot live here. So I’m sending them off.
“where will they go?… I don’t hopefully know.
They may have to fly for a month…Or a year… To escape from the smog you’ve smogged-up around here.
“What’s more,” snapped the Lorax. (His dander was up)
“Let me say a few words about Gluppity-Glupp.
Your machinery chugs on, day and night without stop making Gluppity-Glupp. Also Schloppity-Schlopp.
And what do you do with this leftover goo?… I’ll show you. You dirty old Once-ler man, you!
“You’re glumping the pond where the Humming-Fish hummed! No more can they hum, for their gills are all gummed.
So I’m sending them off. Oh, their future is dreary. They’ll walk on their fins and get woefully weary in search of some water that isn’t so smeary. “
And Then I got mad. I yelled terribly mad. I yelled at The Lorax,” Now listen here, Dad! All you do is yap-yap and say, ‘Bad! Bad! Bad! Bad!’ Well, I have my rights, sir, and I’m telling you I intend to go on doing just what I do!
And for Your information, you Lorax, I’m figgering on buggering
turning More Truffula Trees into Thneeds which everyone, EVERYONE, EVERYONE needs! “
And at the very moment, we heard a loud whack! From outside in the fields came a sickening smack of an axe on a tree. Then we heard the tree fall. The very last Truffula Tree of them all!
No more trees. No more Thneeds. No more work to be done. So, in no time, my uncles and aunts, everyone, all waved me good-bye. They jumped into my cars and drove away under the smoke-smuggered stars.
Now all that was left neath the bad-smelling sky was my big empty factory…the Lorax…and I.
The Lorax said nothing. Just gave me a glance…
Just gave me a very sad, sad backward glance…as he lifted himself by the seat of his pants.
And I’ll never forget them grim look on his face when he heisted himself and took leave of this place, through a hole in the smog, without leaving a trace.
And all that the Lorax left here in this mess was a small pile of rocks, with the one word…
“UNLESS.” Whatever that meant, well, I just couldn’t guess
. That was long long ago. But each day since that day I’ve sat here and worried and worried away.
Through the years, while my buildings have fallen apart, I’ve worried about it with all of my heart.
“But now,” says the Once-ler, “Now that you’re here, the word of the Lorax seems perfectly clear.
UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.
” So… Catch!” calls the Once-ler. He lets something fall.”It’s a Truffula Seed. It’s the last one of all!
You’re in charge of the last of the Truffula Seeds. And Truffula Trees are what everyone needs. Plant a new Truffula. Treat it with care. Give it clean water. And feed it fresh air.
Grow a forest. Protect it from axes that hack. Then the Lorax and all of his friends may come back.”
“The Lorax” Book Read Aloud Youtube Video
So what conversation will you have with your child after reading this book?
Some questions you might like to ask are:
The story is written by?
What I Saw Under the trees?
My All life been searching for waht?
Who speaks for Trees?
We Heard whta?
What other conversations or questions might you add? Please leave a comment below.
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