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The Lorax
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 is the titular

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This article is about the book by Dr. Seuss. For other uses, see Lorax (disambiguation). The Lorax AuthorDr. SeussCountryUnited StatesLanguageEnglishGenreChildren's literaturePublisherRandom HousePublication dateJune 23, 1971 (renewed 1999)Pages64ISBN.mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output .citation q{quotes:"\"""\"""'""'"}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-free a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/65/Lock-green.svg/9px-Lock-green.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d6/Lock-gray-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-gray-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/aa/Lock-red-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-red-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/4c/Wikisource-logo.svg/12px-Wikisource-logo.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{display:none;color:#33aa33;margin-left:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}0-394-82337-0OCLC183127Dewey DecimalLC ClassPZ8.3.G276 LoPreceded by"I Can Write—By Me, Myself" Followed by"Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now!" 

The Lorax is a children's book written by Dr. Seuss and first published in 1971.[1] It chronicles the plight of the environment and the Lorax is the titular character, who "speaks for the trees" and confronts the Once-ler, who causes environmental destruction. As in most Dr. Seuss books, the creatures mentioned are typically unique to the story.

The story is commonly recognized as a fable concerning the danger that corporate greed poses to nature,[not verified in body] using the literary element of personification to create relateable characters for industry (as the Once-ler), the environment (the Truffula trees) and activism (as the Lorax).

It was Dr. Seuss's personal favorite of his books. He was able to create a story addressing industrial/economic and environmental issues without it being dull: "The Lorax came out of me being angry. In The Lorax I was out to attack what I think are evil things and let the chips fall where they might."[2]

  • 1 Plot
  • 2 Inspiration
  • 3 Reception
  • 4 Controversy
  • 5 Adaptations
    • 5.1 1972 television special
    • 5.2 2012 feature film
    • 5.3 Audio books
    • 5.4 Musical
  • 6 See also
  • 7 References

A young unnamed boy living in a polluted area visits a strange isolated man called the Once-ler on the Street of the Lifted Lorax. The boy pays the Once-ler fifteen cents, a nail, and the shell of a great-great-great grandfather snail to hear the legend of how the Lorax was lifted and taken away.

The Once-ler tells the boy of his arrival in a beautiful valley containing a forest of Truffula trees and a range of animals. The Once-ler, having long searched for such a tree as the Truffula, chops one down and uses its silk-like foliage to knit a Thneed, an impossibly versatile garment. The Lorax, who "speaks for the trees" as they have no tongues, emerges from the stump of the Truffula and voices his disapproval both of the sacrifice of the tree and of the Thneed itself. However, the first other person to happen by purchases the Thneed for $3.98, so the Once-ler is encouraged and starts a business making and selling Thneeds.

The Once-ler's small shop soon grows into a factory. The Once-ler's relatives all come to work for him and new vehicles and equipment are brought in to log the Truffula forest and ship out Thneeds. The Lorax appears again to report that the small bear-like Bar-ba-loots, who eat Truffula fruits, are short of food and must be sent away to find more. The Lorax later returns to complain that the factory has polluted the air and the water, forcing the Swomee-Swans and Humming-Fish to migrate as well. The Once-ler is unrepentant and defiantly tells the Lorax that he will keep on "biggering" his business, but at that very moment, one of his machines chops down the very last Truffula tree.

Without raw materials, the factory shuts down and the Once-ler's relatives promptly abandon him. The Lorax says nothing but with one sad backward glance lifts himself into the air "by the seat of his pants" and disappears behind the smoggy clouds. Where he last stood is a small pile of rocks with a single word: "UNLESS". The Once-ler ponders the message for years, in solitude and self-imposed exile.

In the present, as his buildings fall apart around him, the Once-ler at last realizes out loud what the Lorax meant: "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not." He then gives the boy the last Truffula seed and urges him to grow a forest from it, saying that, if the trees can be protected from logging, then the Lorax and all of his friends may come back.


It is believed that a Monterey cypress in La Jolla, California was the inspiration for The Lorax. On June 16, 2019, the tree was reported to have toppled.[3]


Based on a 2007 online poll, the National Education Association named The Lorax one of its "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children".[4] In 2012 it was ranked number 33 among the "Top 100 Picture Books" in a survey published by School Library Journal – the second of five Dr. Seuss books on the list.[1]

In a retrospective critique written in the journal Nature in 2011 upon the 40th anniversary of the book's publication, Emma Marris described the Lorax character as a "parody of a misanthropic ecologist". She called the book "gloomy" and expressed skepticism that its message would resonate with small children in the manner intended. Nevertheless, she praised the book as effective in conveying the consequences of ecological destruction in a way that young children will understand.[5]


In 1988, a small school district in California kept the book on a reading list for second graders, though some in the town claimed the book was unfair to the logging industry.[6][7]

Terri Birkett, a member of a family-owned hardwood flooring factory, authored The Truax,[8] offering a logging-friendly perspective to an anthropomorphic tree known as the Guardbark. This book was published by the National Oak Flooring Manufacturers' Association (NOFMA). Just as in The Lorax, the book consists of a disagreement between two people. The logging industry representative states that they have efficiency and re-seeding efforts. The Guardbark, a personification of the environmentalist movement much as the Once-ler is for big business, refuses to listen and lashes out. But in the end, he is convinced by the logger's arguments. However, this story was criticized for what were viewed as skewed arguments and clear self-interest, particularly a "casual attitude toward endangered species" that answered the Guardbark's concern for them. In addition, the book's approach as a more blatant argument, rather than one worked into a storyline, was also noted.[9][10][11]

The line "I hear things are just as bad up in Lake Erie" was removed more than fourteen years after the story was published, after two research associates from the Ohio Sea Grant Program wrote to Seuss about the clean-up of Lake Erie.[12] The line remains in the home video releases of the television special, in the audiobook read by Rik Mayall, and in the UK edition published by HarperCollins Children's Books.[citation needed]

Adaptations Placard "We speak for the trees", reference to The Lorax, at the People's Climate March (2017). 1972 television special Main article: The Lorax (1972 film)

The book was adapted as an animated musical television special produced by DePatie-Freleng Enterprises, directed by Hawley Pratt and starring the voices of Eddie Albert and Bob Holt. It was first aired by CBS on February 14, 1972. A reference to pollution of Lake Erie was spoken by one of the Humming-Fish as they depart; it remains in DVD releases of the show, although later removed from the book. The special also shows the Once-ler arguing with himself, and asking the Lorax whether shutting down his factory (thus putting hundreds of people out of work) is practical. An abridged version of the special is used in the 1994 TV movie In Search of Dr. Seuss, with Kathy Najimy's reporter character hearing the Once-ler's story.

2012 feature film Main article: The Lorax (film)

On March 2, 2012, Universal Studios and Illumination Entertainment released a 3-D CGI film based upon the book. The release coincided with the 108th birthday of Seuss, who died at 87 in 1991. The cast includes Danny DeVito as the Lorax (who also played Philoctetes in Hercules and Max Medici the Ringmaster in the live-action remake of Dumbo), Zac Efron as Ted (the boy in the book), and Ed Helms as the Once-ler. The film includes several new characters: Rob Riggle as villain Aloysius O'Hare, Betty White as Ted's Grammy Norma, Jenny Slate as Ted's neurotic mother Mrs. Wiggins, and Taylor Swift as Audrey, Ted's romantic interest. The film debuted in the No. 1 spot at the box office, making $70 million, though it received mixed reviews. The film eventually grossed a domestic total of $214,030,500.[13]

Audio books

Two audio readings have been released on CD, one narrated by Ted Danson in the United States (Listening Library, ISBN 978-0-8072-1873-0) and one narrated by Rik Mayall in the United Kingdom (HarperCollins, ISBN 978-0-00-715705-1).


A musical adaptation of The Lorax was originally included in script for the Broadway musical Seussical, but was cut before the show opened.[14]

From December 2, 2015, to January 16, 2016, a musical version of the book ran at the Old Vic theatre in London, with former Noah and the Whale frontman Charlie Fink, who also wrote the music for the production.[15]

See also
  • Deforestation
  • Revegetation
  1. ^ a b Bird, Elizabeth (July 6, 2012). "Top 100 Picture Books Poll Results". A Fuse No. 8 Production. Blog. School Library Journal (blog.schoollibraryjournal.com). Retrieved August 22, 2012.
  2. ^ Lisa Lebduska. "Rethinking Human Need: Seuss's The Lorax." Children's Literature Association Quarterly 19.4 (1994): 170-176. Project MUSE. Web. October 20, 2014. <http://muse.jhu.edu/>.
  3. ^ https://www.cnn.com/2019/06/16/us/lorax-tree-falls-trnd/index.html
  4. ^ National Education Association (2007). "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children". Retrieved August 22, 2012.
  5. ^ Marris, Emma (2011). "In retrospect: The Lorax". Nature. 476 (7359): 148–149. Bibcode:2011Natur.476..148M. doi:10.1038/476148a.
  6. ^ "California: Chopping Down Dr. Seuss". Time. October 2, 1989.
  7. ^ "A Boy Sides with Dr. Seuss's Lorax, and Puts a Town at Loggerheads – Vol. 32 No. 17". October 23, 1989. Retrieved October 13, 2017.
  8. ^ "Truax". Terri Birkett. National Oak Flooring Manufacturers' Association (NOFMA) Environmental Committee. (PDF).
  9. ^ "The People-Centered Development Forum - Living Economies Forum". Archived from the original on May 9, 2002. Retrieved January 18, 2017.
  10. ^ "What's A Truax? Well I'm So Glad You Asked, Let Me Tell You! - Ann Arbor District Library". Retrieved January 18, 2017.
  11. ^ "Green Eggs & Sham? 10/16/2001. The Daily Show With Jon Stewart. "According to Terri Birkett, a popular Dr. Seuss character is being used to teach children to hate the wood products industry".
  12. ^ Morgan, Judith (1995). Dr. Seuss & Mr. Geisel: A Biography. Random House. p. 276. ISBN 9780679416869.
  13. ^ The Lorax at Box Office Mojo
  14. ^ Jones, Kenneth (June 1, 2007). "Ahrens & Flaherty Double Bill of Musicals Pairs Lorax and Emperor's New Clothes". Playbill. Retrieved December 26, 2014.
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 2, 2015. Retrieved July 1, 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  • v
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Dr. SeussCharacters
  • The Cat in the Hat
  • The Grinch
  • Horton the Elephant
  • Bartholomew Cubbins
  • The Lorax
  • And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street
  • The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins
  • The King's Stilts
  • The Seven Lady Godivas
  • Horton Hatches the Egg
  • McElligot's Pool
  • Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose
  • Bartholomew and the Oobleck
  • If I Ran the Zoo
  • Scrambled Eggs Super!
  • Horton Hears a Who!
  • On Beyond Zebra!
  • If I Ran the Circus
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
  • The Cat in the Hat
  • The Cat in the Hat Comes Back
  • Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories
  • Happy Birthday to You!
  • Green Eggs and Ham
  • One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
  • The Sneetches and Other Stories
  • Dr. Seuss's Sleep Book
  • Dr. Seuss's ABC
  • Hop on Pop
  • Fox in Socks
  • I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew
  • I Wish That I Had Duck Feet 1
  • Come over to My House 1
  • The Foot Book
  • I Can Lick 30 Tigers Today! and Other Stories
  • My Book about ME
  • Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?: Dr. Seuss's Book of Wonderful Noises!
  • The Lorax
  • Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now!
  • Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?
  • The Shape of Me and Other Stuff
  • There's a Wocket in My Pocket
  • Great Day for Up!
  • Wacky Wednesday 1
  • Oh, the Thinks You Can Think!
  • The Cat's Quizzer
  • I Can Read with My Eyes Shut!
  • Oh Say Can You Say?
  • Hunches in Bunches
  • The Butter Battle Book
  • You're Only Old Once!
  • I Am Not Going to Get Up Today!
  • Oh, the Places You'll Go!
  • Daisy-Head Mayzie 2
  • My Many Colored Days 2
  • Hooray for Diffendoofer Day! 2
  • The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories 2
  • Horton and the Kwuggerbug and More Lost Stories 2
  • What Pet Should I Get? 2
  • Horse Museum 2
AdaptationsTelevision series
  • The Gerald McBoing-Boing Show (1956–1957)
  • The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss (1996–1998)
    • episodes
  • Gerald McBoing-Boing (2005–2007)
  • The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! (2010–2018)
    • episodes
  • Green Eggs and Ham (2019)
Television specials
  • Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966)
  • Horton Hears a Who! (1970)
  • The Cat in the Hat (1971)
  • The Lorax (1972)
  • Dr. Seuss on the Loose (1973)
  • The Hoober-Bloob Highway (1975)
  • Halloween Is Grinch Night (1977)
  • Pontoffel Pock, Where Are You? (1980)
  • The Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat (1982)
  • The Butter Battle Book (1989)
  • In Search of Dr. Seuss (1994)
  • Daisy-Head Mayzie (1995)
  • Horton Hatches the Egg (short; 1942)
  • Gerald McBoing-Boing (short; 1950)
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
  • The Cat in the Hat (2003)
  • Horton Hears a Who! (2008)
  • The Lorax (2012)
  • The Grinch (2018)
  • The Cat in the Hat (TBA)
Video games
  • Dr. Seuss' Fix-Up the Mix-Up Puzzler (1984)
  • The Grinch (2000)
  • The Cat in the Hat (2003)
  • Dr. Seuss: Green Eggs and Ham (2003)
  • Dr. Seuss: How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (2007)
Other media
  • Welcome (Russian short film)
  • Seussical (musical)
  • Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical
  • "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" (song)
  • The Lorax (play)
Other works
  • Private Snafu
  • The Pocket Book of Boners
  • Your Job in Germany
  • Our Job in Japan
  • Design for Death
  • The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T.
  • Hejji
  • Society of Red Tape Cutters
  • Flit
  • A Fish out of Water
  • Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum
  • Beginner Books
  • Dr. Seuss Goes to War
  • The Secret Art of Dr. Seuss
  • Dr. Seuss National Memorial
  • Geisel Award
  • Geisel Library
  • Geisel School of Medicine
  • Helen Palmer
  • PM
  • Political messages of Dr. Seuss
  • Read Across America
  • Seuss Landing
1 as "Theo. LeSieg".   2 Posthumous.



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