Children’s books: lessons from the Lorax

The feeling of sinking into a good book for me is a real form of relaxation. The pleasure of turning a page and feeling the emotions that the book draws you to is something which I love. These days though I’m reading kids’ books more often than not, and lots of them. “Mummy, read a book”, says Max frequently through the day! It’s awesome and we’re confident (and hopeful!) that Max will and does get, a similar feeling of satisfaction from a good yarn and a real page turner.

 

It’s interesting though to think about both the messages and the morals that are so prevalent in kids’ books. The damsel in distress with long flowing hair and accompanying pretty dress to match getting swept up by the equally good-looking prince frequents kids’ books. The boy who likes construction sites, pirates and dinosaurs. The little girl who likes fairies, princesses and baking. Sometimes it’s a bit hard on my brain and heart. There are however some incredible books in shops and in our amazing public libraries which go beyond stereotypes.

Highly recommend ‘The Lorax’ for both Young and Old

One book which has is both a good read and has fantastic messages is the Lorax by none other than the genius that is Dr. Seuss. The book is about the Lorax, a wee creature who sprouts out of the truffula trees stumps and speaks out for the plight of the whole ecosystem! The object of the Lorax’s anger is the greedy ‘Once-ler’ the opportunist with $ signs in his eyes. The Once-ler puts self-interest and profit ahead of all else in cutting down the trees at a rate of knots. In the process the Oncer-ler creates an empire out truffula tree products.

 

The Lorax ‘who speaks for the trees’ try’s in vain to get the Once-ler to stop his growing operation. Quickly there are no truffula trees left and no wildlife either. What is left is a polluted dark and dreary land which little life and little hope.

Lessons from old mate the Lorax

First published in 1971, The Lorax is a timely reminder to us all that we must care for the environment and others. If we continue to take, take, take there will be nothing left just as the Lorax warned. The Lorax didn’t say anything about global warming. I can’t help but think if Dr Suess had written it 40 years later and in light of current spate of environmental calamities he might have!!

 

The Lorax also points out that you are the person that can make a difference and be the catalyst for the greater good. The Lorax fled the land when all the truffula trees were destroyed. He left a simple message behind “UNLESS”. It took the toxic Once-ler years to figure out what that meant however he did come to understand the intrinsic value of the environment. And his moment of clarity was….

“UNLESS someone like you, cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

So Max and friends, we must see beyond today and think about tomorrow.

More than princesses and toads…

Whilst I will always love Snow White and Cinderella we need to really think about what we are feeding our kids minds. Read to them and try to read to them with messages that inspire both you and our future generations.

 

So inspired by The Lorax (and others) as a family we have been doing our little bit. We want to plant more native trees and make a better environment for our own flora and fauna. Together we are up to about the 150 mark for trees planted in 2017. We have a few big weekends planned to see if we can’t crack 1000 this year. In doing so I figure we are investing in our future, Max’s mind and his heart and taking a bit of CO2 out of the atmosphere in the process. We reckon the Lorax would be proud. Thanks Dr Suess!

Side Note…

This is by no means intended to be a subliminal political message (NZ General Election next week), simply my thoughts for you today!

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