The Lorax

Picture Book

Bibliographic Information: Geisel, Theodore Seuss. The Lorax. New York: Random House, 1971.

Plot Description:
A boy explores a run-down property on the edge of a polluted town that used to have the Lorax. To find out even what the Lorax was, you have to ask the Once-ler, who lives there and seldom tells the tale. Long ago, the grass was green, colorful Truffula Trees grew, and animals played. The Once-ler unloaded his wagon and cut down a tree, turning the soft foilage into clothes. A small man appeared out of the stump of the tree an announced he was the Lorax and spoke for the trees, demanding to know why the tree had been chopped down. The Once-ler showed him his creation; the Lorax said no one would buy it, but a man came by and bought it. The Lorax implored him to not hurt the trees, but the Once-ler ignored him and called his family, informing them of the chance to get rich. They cut down many trees and turned them into products to sell. The Lorax returns, speaking for the animals that lived because of the trees, and who were starving because of the deforestation. The Once-ler watched them leave, building his business. The Lorax returned, saying that the birds couldn’t sing because of the smog in the air. The Once-ler watched them leave, too, and the Lorax dragged him through his factory, complaining about the toxic runoff, which was forcing the fish to leave. They looked out and saw the last Truffula tree being chopped down. Afterwards, the Once-ler’s family drove away since there was no more work. The Lorax grimly flew off, leaving behind a pedestal with the word UNLESS. The Once-ler watched the buildings fall apart and worried ever since. He gave the boy a seed, the last Truffula Tree seed, and implored him to take care of it, because unless someone like the boy cared, nothing would ever get better.

Quantitative Reading Level: Lexile: 560; Accelerated Reader: 3.1

Qualitative Reading Analysis:
This book is written mainly in first person, from the Once-ler’s point of view. It focuses on the problems of deforestation.

Content Area: English, Nature

  • Content Area Standard:
  • CCSS for Literature for K-5: #1 Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text; #3 Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges; #7 Explain how specific aspects of a text’s illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story; #10 Read and comprehend literature in grade level text complexity range.
  • CCSS for Informational Text for K-5: #6 Distinguish between information provided by pictures or other illustrations and information provided by the words in a text; #7 Use the illustrations and details in a text to describe its key ideas.
  • CCSS for Foundational Skills for K-5:  #4 Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

Curriculum suggestions:
This is a great book to use in English Language Arts Curriculum. It explores themes like regret and nature.


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