Dr. Seuss has stuck a knife in my heart. I felt totally depressed at the end of this 24-minute story of The Lorax -who speaks for the trees. This is the story of the Lorax, and his beautiful unspoiled forest, and how it is totally destroyed by a Once-ler and his Thneed making factory. The Lorax is the voice of the trees, because they can’t speak for themselves, and tries to explain to the Once-ler that he must take care of the trees/environment, to no avail.
This made for TV cartoon, based on a Dr. Seuss story that was published in 1971, takes us to the heart of environmental issues that we as a society are still struggling with today, over 40 years later (can anyone say visionary?). It presents the grim reality of how humans move in, take over, and ruin environments as we see fit, in order to feed our greedy nature. Is this harsh? Yes – but Dr. Seuss has presented us with a kid friendly way to talk about being a little gentler to our planet.
My kids are studying the industrial revolution in school right now, and they saw parallels between that and this cartoon. They really said that it opened their eyes to how we (humans) like to damage beautiful places in the name of progress. Dr. Seuss cleverly never shows us the Once-ler’s face, only his green Grinch-like arms. We are always left wondering who it is, my kids really wanted to ‘put a face’ to this destroyer, but as he is left anonymous, it is clear that Seuss wants us to be able to put any face to this creature (be it an individual or a large corporation).
We all really enjoyed the bright Dr. Seuss colours, the names, and the inventive creations that show up in this story. Also worth checking out on this family Blu-ray DVD set are the special features with a couple of other Dr. Seuss stories Pontoffel Pock and His Magic Piano, and Butter Battle Book, both stories will get you talking.
If you would like your children to be lifelong environmentalists, have them watch this show, and be prepared to talk a lot afterward.