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.
Very, very good review.
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 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.