Some people think this 1971 book, The Lorax, by Dr. Seuss, attempts
to influence children to think of the logging industry in a negative
Actually, it is a story of what happens when people are careless and wasteful of earth's natural resources.
What is the Lorax? Why was it there? Why is it gone? These are questions asked at the beginning of the book.
The old Once-ler, who lives at the far end of town is the only one who knows. But you have to pay him to find out! He never comes out of his house, but he sometimes peeks out and speaks of how things used to be.
It was a long time ago, he says, a time when the grass was still green. And then he tells of the Truffula Trees, and how beautiful it all was back then.
It was at that time that the Once-ler got an idea. He built a shop and went into business making Thneeds from the tufts from the Truffula Trees. As soon as he had chopped down the first tree, something popped out of the stump.
This 'something', the story tells us, was "sort of a man". He tells the Once-ler that he is the Lorax, and that he speaks for the trees, because they cannot speak for themselves. He is very upset, but the Once-ler doesn't listen to him.
His Thneeds are selling, so he cuts down more and more trees. He puts his whole family to work. He invents a machine that cuts many trees at a time. The Once-ler is very busy and has not seen the Lorax for a week.
Then one day the he comes knocking on the office door. This time he tells the Once-ler about the Brown Bar-ba-loots, who played in the shade, and ate the fruit from the Truffula Trees. And now there is not enough to go around.
The Once-ler never meant any harm, and is sad that the Brown Bar-ba-loots must now leave and search for food elsewhere, but business must grow! And it did. It grew bigger, and bigger, and bigger still!
Never mind the lack of good food, clean water, and clean air.
And then the last Truffula Tree fell! Now what?
But there is one more seed....
This story shows what can happen when greed gets the better of common sense. It hurts everyone. Not only the Brown Bar-ba-loots, but the Once-ler and his family, as well. He lost his business. His relatives who worked for him left. His factory sits empty.
This book was banned in Laytonville, CA Unified School District 1989 because some believed it "criminalized the forest industry".