Skip to comments.Don't Read "The Lorax" to your kids
Posted on 03/26/2009 7:28:20 AM PDT by reaganaut1
I read "The Lorax" by Dr. Seuss yesterday evening to my 5-year-old. My wife had borrowed it from the library. I was expecting an amusing kid's book like "Green Eggs and Ham" (also by Seuss), but what I got was tiresome environmental, anti-business agit-prop. Ugh. Almost everyone on Amazon has given it 5 stars -- no wonder Obama is president.
I think the language in the book is dumb, too. Why invent words like "biggerer" (used repeatedly) instead of using the word "bigger".
It's too bad I need to screen children's books for political indoctrination. I wonder if there are sites where conservative parents have recommended books.
Try Robert the Rose Horse. My daughter loves it (I really ham up the “sound effects”) and the libs hate it (it has guns).
Here is an Amazon review from Jeffrey Gray explaining what is wrong with the book:
So far, the reviews for “The Lorax” seem to be from good little environmentalists, giving 5-star reviews in lockstep, and spouting their enviro-friendly platitudes.
I, however, as an unashamed pro-capitalist conservative, have a vastly different opinion. I’m going to focus on the issue of the Truffula Trees, because from them come two fundamental flaws in this book, flaws which the entire work rests upon.
“The Lorax” works off of two false premises:
1. The product made from the Truffula Trees is a Thneed, a product of infinite uses that the Once-ler claims “everybody needs.” However, Dr. Seuss is seeming to imply that we’re not supposed to listen to the Once-ler, and the Thneed is useless compared to leaving the Truffula Trees standing. The big problem here is that real trees produce something which we all *do* need: wood. Just looking around me, my door, my bed frame, my shelves, not to mention my house itself, are made out of wood. Real trees produce something that everybody does need, something without which a lot of things would be extremely different. Thus, in implying that no use comes out of cutting down the Truffula Trees, Seuss is giving the reader a wholly incorrect view of trees and logging.
2. This is the false premise which, since I came to a realization of it, has steamed me the most. At the end of the book, the last Truffula Tree is cut down, and the Once-ler’s business shuts down. Dr. Seuss views the Truffula Trees as a zero-sum resource, as though there is a limited, irreplaceable supply of them. However, especially considering that the Once-ler gives the little boy the last Truffula seed at the end, I am utterly flabbergasted at the fact that, throughout the entire ordeal, the Once-ler never thought to plant more Truffula Trees to replace the ones he cut down, or, in fact, to *add* to the amount. If the Once-ler expected to keep making Thneeds forever without planting more Truffula Trees, then he was an extremely bad businessman. In the lumber and logging industry, trees are always replanted, and many additional trees are also planted. (I’ve driven through an entire forest of 20-year-old trees in British Columbia, so don’t tell me that trees are an irreplaceable, zero-sum resource.) Planting more Truffula Trees would, of course, have also solved the problem of the brown Bar-Ba-Loots, because they’d still have shade and fruit.
By creating a world where the Thneeds made from Truffula Trees are supposedly actually useless and pointless, and where nobody thinks of the possibility of planting more Truffula Trees to replace or augment the supply, Dr. Seuss gives naive, impressionable children a wholly false view of environmental issues, effectively indoctrinating them, through preachy, mawkish, emotionally manipulative text and illustrations, to believe that: 1.) the environment is pretty and peaceful and serene and should never be touched, period; and 2.) all people who try to make money off of natural resources are “greedy” and “evil.” (Both ideas approach socialist/Marxist territory, since they involve someone, ultimately the government, forcing people not to touch the environment, and arbitrating how people can and cannot make a living.)
The character I dislike the most is, in fact, the Lorax, who whines and kvetches about how the Once-ler can’t touch his beautiful Truffula Trees, under any circumstances, and how the Once-ler cannot make a living from selling a useful product because of this. To me, he’s a wonderful embodiment of the whiny, intolerant environmentalists we have to listen to every time the environment is “threatened.”
There is a difference between responsible care of the environment, and “keep everything *exactly* the way it was, as if mankind never existed!” “The Lorax,” to me, takes the latter position. I give it two stars, only because of Seuss’ signature illustrations and invented words and names, which aren’t even at their best here.
I don’t care if what I say is politically incorrect; I’m thinking for myself, and this is what I believe.
I grew up with the stuff, but didn’t realize how I was being indoctrinated until I saw it again in my 20’s. Suess really went off the deep end towards the end. One of his last books, “The Big Butter Battle” was his most overt, leftist, relativist, anti-war, anti-Reagan piece of children’s propoganda out there.
Obama is a buggerer.
Try Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose for a conservative view of parasites aloing for a free ride and how they can destriy an enterprise if they are not ruthlessly left on their own.
Aw c’mon, it ain’t too bad. It describes things in Red China quite well I think.
Propaganda can be useful as a learning tool. Same with TV -- watch (what's safe to watch) with them, and point out the PC absurdities, with much humor.
Make it fun!
Suess was a commie
Very, very good review.
My 21-year-old daughter has a group game she likes to play with friends. They spend about ten minutes in Barnes and Noble or some other large bookstore hunting for the most overt politically-correct book each can find and then declare a winner. She says she usually wins and her secret is she heads directly to the children’s book section.
a truffula tree in post 11!!
I recently went to an out-of-the-way library in the countryside when at grandma's house....all those great books from my childhood there there - characters with guns, mostly people (not cutsey animals), right, wrong, etc.
In our leftist library (where I've heard librarians discuss their hatred of George Bush with patrons), all the kids books are modern, moral relativist, and on and on. The movie selection similarly reflects the leftist bias.
Here's a thought for you: analyze Curious George. The books confuse an animal with a child (what moral responsibility does an animal have, versus a child?). The animal, George, constantly disobeys the Man in the Yellow Hat, causes havoc or a mess, but, because it all works out in the end, his initial outright disobedience is just fine. What kind of lesson is that? So, as long as you rebel against proper authority and get away with it, that's fine?
Oh, please! The Lorax is fine. It rails against wanton destruction of the earth’s resources, simply for personal gain. Those actions are against all notions of faithful stewardship of God’s Creation, anyway. Why not use it as a teaching tool about caring for the world God created for us, while still being able to produce goods for ourselves and others?
Geisel was a collectivist commie. As a child, I didn't care for them, preferring Curious George, or just about anything else. The Butter Battle Book was another example of his "politics as children's entertainment."
I know, it stinks.
wait a few years and there will be better books. Just don’t count on public schools and libraries to highlight them.
Our latest BOrders Bookstore game consists of turning over all the obama books we can find, then tmiing how long it takes the leftie Code pink chicks to turn them back over. WE experiemented with turning over Anne Colter books...but those never seemed to get fixed.
AND for the record...Levin’s new book can’t be bought at BOrders...They only ordered 3 copies...And those were sold in 2 minutes...and they aren’t getting another order in for a month. We asked them to order it for us online through their “Borders Book Distribution Network”...They could get us a copy shipped to our house in 3 weeks. *Snicker*
Dr Suess (Theodor Geisel) was a master propagandist and was notorious for his support of socialist causes. Dduring the Second World War, he mde some really effective short featuress against the Nazi regime of Germany, never seeing the really close parallels between the international Socialism of Marx and the National Socialism of Germany.
He truly, sincerely believed, that socialism would work, if only the right people were administrating it.
Unfortunately, the “right people” have never been put at the head of any socialist movement.
I am going to get that book for myself and my father whom I’m traveling to visit in a month. I may have to search harder for it than I assumed. Thanks for the heads-up.
Seuss was clearheaded on a couple things. I don’t have the ability to post it right now but google the image “Dr Seuss Appeaser” . It is basically Churchill’s “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile hoping it will eat him last” with Seuss creatures with swatstikas on them.
We said "It's ok dad, we know it's sh!t".
To which he replied "Don't say that word till you're 18".
Thanks for the link. I just watched the cartoon. I don’t see anything wrong with it. What’s wrong with stewardship? What’s wrong with teaching against pollution, greed, and waste? Nothing’s wrong with it in my book.
As long as they throw in a couple of references to how bad socialism/communism is...I agree.
It doesn’t say anything about socialism, but it does seem to comment on groupthink, mass hysteria. And it’s simply foolish to pretend that our natural resources are safe in an environment of unchecked commerce. It simply isn’t true.
But flip side, my mom never read his books because she felt that he DISLIKED KIDS and promoted exactly what you say...a philosophy that does not belong in a kids head. '
Suggestion for improvement: “I AM THE GORAX”
Hopefully every Mother knows “The Lorax” was written when the good doctor had veered off into Commie land. I knew it.
It is a knee jerk book, but it solved a problem in our house. When we had brocolli (which my daughter hated), we would steam the stems and present them to our daughter as truffula trees. They were suddenly good thanks to the Lorax.
A few years later she finally noted the connection between her having truffulas and us having brocolli every time. LOL.
“So, as long as you rebel against proper authority and get away with it, that’s fine? “
Worked pretty well for our Founding Fathers.
bring back little black sambo !!!
I wish there was a column or a list of good books for kids that would not have any liberal propaganda or things that our not of our value system. Does anyone know of any?
Is there some newspaper or magazine column that informs us about good books, movies and tv shows and warns us about the not-so-good ones?
Why is the print and electronic media dominated by the metrolib values? When you stand at the supermarket checkout, so much of what we see is part of this lib media empire. Almost all magazines, for instance, are published in New York City. The rest of the countries mores are shaped by two cities —New York and Hollywood. We need to do more to keep our values from being destroyed.
Maybe freerepublic could start a book and movie review by freeper posters. If that can’t be done, maybe individual posters can just begin naming some good books/movies and encouraging others to also contribute.
The Lorax is perfectly suitable book for any child. Past comments prove to be unintelligent, and border on fear mongering. The Lorax shows the repercussions greed can cause out of ignorance for the physical world. The book does have extreme situations, but this is a children’s book, so you have to give the book a break for ending so soon without more detail put into the storyline. My parents are Right-Winged, but still they let me read this book when I was young, showing the open-mind a parent should have when guiding a child’s upbringing. Don’t keep you child in a closet by giving reading them material that fits your own political agenda; rather let them enjoy all sorts of literature as a child. When they grow up they can make their own decisions rationally.
I’m in full agreement with SirSchmoopy. In fact it’s almost everything I had intended to post. I would like to add that Seuss invents biggered because bigger is an adverb. He need a verb in present (biggering) and past tense. If you read it to your kids as “I bigger my factory” you are teaching them incorrectly. At least Seuss’ invention was grammatically correct.
I once thought as you did about environmental issues, but have since changed for a view point that sits better with my conscience. The Lorax portrays a message of what happens when we take for granted the God given gifts we have been given. We were put here to enjoy, take care of, and live among all God’s creations. That is not to say that we should never cut down a tree or drill for oil but your conscience will tell you that it is immoral to recklessly destroy the environment.
I believe that is a sensible viewpoint... we should not uselessly and wastefully destroy our environment. The issue is about what legislation should be in place regarding environmental protection.
The answer to that question is relatively simple and is found by studying virtue ethics. Aristotle states that virtue is the mean between two extremes, and is acquired by practice. How is one able to practice virtue if it is illegal to commit vice?
This could get into an argument between tyranny and anarchy based on what vice is defined as but for this simple purpose I will assume that we have defined a very base level of socially accepted virtue that is widely accepted as being immoral to go below that level and as such illegal. Spectrums of vice and virtue still exist above the bounds of the law and I believe that is where this issue falls.
In conclusion, I disagree with most environmental legislation but for very different reasons.
Also I’m glad to hear parents are still reading to their kids! haha
I have to agree with you on this comment: “There is a difference between responsible care of the environment, and keep everything *exactly* the way it was”
But seriously? Have you forgotten you breathe oxygen? Just saying. Trees have more use than wood. (Honestly I like things made out of wood rather than plastic crap that breaks after 5 minutes from being made.)
I like this comment.
Plus its always good to read to your children. :D
I always read "The Lorax" as a "Tragedy of the Commons" for kids.
When nobody or "everybody" owns a resource then nobody has any incentive to take care of it. Why would he replant the Truffula Trees? They are not his so it is not in his interest to replant just so someone else can harvest.
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