It’s time for the ‘A-Z challenge’- a post every day in April (except Sundays) working up through the alphabet. This year I will be writing about books that I read before I started this blog, that were important to me in some way. The vast majority are ones I still have on my bookshelf today, despite a move in house and sometimes many years since I first read it.
D is for Dr
Book: the Lorax by Dr Seuss
What is it about:
A young man finds a wonderful wood full of happy animals, and trees which have a special kind of leaf that can be made into a Thneed which has a myriad of uses. Despite the warnings of the Lorax, a creature who speaks for the trees, the man sets up a business selling Thneeds. His business grows and grows. He and his town become prosperous, but the woodland is destroyed, and the pollution from the Thneed factories wreaks havoc on nature. Eventually there are no more trees, and his business crumbles.
When I first read this book:
I think I actually watched the 2012 film first.
I read many Dr Seus books as a child- Fox in Sox, a fairly long book compared to his others, was my favorite. It was full of tongue twisters and we would make a game out of saying them as quickly as we could.
Why it is important to me:
I decided to write about the Lorax even though others were my childhood stories, because there was a part in it that really made me think. The young man starts out a bit down on his luck. He is pleasant, he has a romantic connection with a girl, and we sympathise with him. As he becomes successful, we can see that he is doing some good with the increased money etc, but we can also see that he is blind to the negative effects. After a confrontation with the Lorax, he sings a song asking “how bad can I be”, in which he lists his accomplishments and the good things about what he is doing. This however is juxtaposed by the scenes in the background- the destruction of nature, the animals who become homeless and starving, the pollution clogging up the sky and water ways.
What I think is striking, is that noone ever thinks of themselves as the bad guy. Could any of us be the villain in somebodies story and not know it? I think that although most of us haven’t destroyed whole tracts of country or killed whole villages or anything huge like that, we all make decisions that are good for ourselves even though they may not be the best thing for others. How do we police ourselves?
Who should read it:
Anyone who likes Dr Seuss, children’s picture books, or stories about the environment.