I was reading The Lorax by Dr. Seuss to my son tonight, and as the rhyming text rolled off my tongue in sing-song waves I couldn’t help but marvel at the literary brilliance that was Theodor Seuss Geisel.
The Lorax is not one of his better known books, but it has always been my favorite. It’s very much an ode to the dangers of greed and unfettered progress, and as a kid I always loved books and songs with a moral message. I was an anti-capitalist, environmentalist Liberal long before I knew what one was. My dad used to play his guitar to my brother and I every night before bed and one of our favorite songs was an old folk tune called “Throw out your TV”, which tells you a lot about my alternative childhood.
But back to Dr. Seuss. If you have children and you are not reading them Dr. Seuss, then get thee to a book store!
Never has there been a children’s writer who could tell such imaginative stories, draw amazing technicolor graphics that make the characters come alive on the page, whilst also delivering a positive moral message that is too clever and crazy to be preachy.
However, your reading style and rhythm is crucial when introducing your children to Dr. Seuss. If you don’t put expression into the words it just won’t be the same, so relax, maybe have a gargle, do some vocal exercises, throw yourself into character and embrace this roller coaster reading task. Your children will love it, you can immerse yourself in the magic of childhood once more, and best of all, you’ll be instilling a love of words and books. A love that will feed the mind, nurture the soul and keep your children company through the long years ahead.
Some of my best friends have been characters in books, and today I’d like you to meet one. His name is The Lorax.
“The instant I’d finished, I heard a ga-Zump!
I saw something pop out of the stump
of the tree I’d chopped down. It was sort of a man.
Describe him? …..That’s hard. I don’t know if I can.
He was shortish. And oldish.
And brownish. And mossy.
And he spoke with a voice
that was sharpish and bossy.”
And just to show you why I love The Lorax so much, I’ll leave you with a few of his inspirational words.
“UNLESS someone like you
cares a whole awful lot,
nothing is going to get better.
And THAT is why I worship at the altar of Dr. Seuss.
Excerpts from The Lorax by Dr. Seuss