The Mindful Merchant

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An Oldie But A Green Goodie March 1, 2010

Filed under: children,education,environment,environmentally friendly,green books,parenting — MindfulMerchant @ 11:45 pm

 

200px-The_Lorax Sometimes it is hard to buy gifts for children. I cannot keep up with what are “in” toys… dolls that look like their owners or cars that change into robots. Throw in concerns about toxic plastics/paint, choking hazards, excess packaging, product recalls and it is enough to suck all the fun out of gift giving. I like to buy our family’s  favourite books as presents.  Our eldest daughter thinks that books are “boooring gifts”. <said with the eye roll>  How can you go wrong with a great story?

I rely on books to help with parenting challenges too.  Afraid of the toilet flushing? What is wrong with Grampa?  Off to the library I go to find a book. Thank goodness for stories that explain a challenge in an uncomplicated, encouraging way.

There is a lack of good children’s books about earth friendly action.  Environmental issues are not always cheerful, but a story for young people told with graphic photos of oil slick coated birds and clear-cut forests is frightening. (The book I describe I found in the early reader section ages 3+)   It is difficult to find a positive message without a preachy/scary tone. 

We are experiencing a Dr. Seuss revival in our house.  Our youngest daughter is enjoying reading his books all on her own. I dug out my childhood collection and made a surprising discovery. I forgot about The Lorax by Dr. Seuss!  It is a whimsical story about conserving the earth’s resources and it is wonderful.  Forty years later the message continues to resonate. It is about losing Brown Bar-ba-loots,  Truffula Trees and Swomee-Swans and the forests they inhabit. It is rhyming fun with colourful illustrations and catchy “Seuss-isms”.

 

 

Here is an excerpt

 

“But now,” says the Once-ler,

“Now that you’re here,

The word of the Lorax seems perfectly clear.

UNLESS someone like you

Cares a whole awful lot,

Nothing is going to get better.

It’s not.

 

“SO…Catch!” calls the Once-ler.

He lets something fall.

“It’s a Truffula Seed.

It’s the last one of all!

You’re in charge of the last of the Truffula Seeds.

And Truffula Trees are what everyone needs.

Plant a new Truffula. Treat it with care.

Give it clean water. And feed it fresh air.

Grow a forest. Protect it from axes that hack.

Then the Lorax

And all of his friends

May come back.”

 

 

Warning: The Dr. uses the word “stupid” and “shut-up” in the story.  (Gasp!)  

 

New publications of The Lorax print on recycled paper.  Random House, Conservation International and Dr. Seuss Enterprises launched an initiative on Earth Day 2008. It is an effort to raise awareness of environmental issues and inspire earthy friendly action worldwide. There is an interactive website too with games and information for kids of all ages. www.loraxproject.com

If you are looking for a good green story for the little reader in your life…I recommend this book.  Do you have a favourite?  Please share  :) 

 

 

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20 Responses to “An Oldie But A Green Goodie”

  1. Finola Says:

    My husband is an ecologist, and when he graduated, the people who worked in his lab with him gave him The Lorax as a gift. Now my girls love this one too.

    I laughed at your “language warning”. I have read to my girls some of my favourites from when I was a kid…Bobbsey Twins, Enid Blyton etc, and find so surprised at some of the wording. I don’t tend to censor, but I do a lot of explaining. 🙂

    • That is a cool graduation gift! Your Bobbsey Twins and Enid Blyton comments make me smile…I loved them too! (although I’m having a hard time selling them to my daughter) lol Did you ever read Trixie Belden books? That was another OLD series.

      • Finola Says:

        I LOVED Trixie Beldon. And I thought I was the only one who had ever heard of those ones….fun, what else was there?
        As for Enid Blyton, I loved the Famous Five, but my absolute favourite were the girls boarding school books – Mallory Towers and the O’Sullivan Twins. I read them when visiting family in Ireland as a kid, but they were always hard to find around here.
        Oh, I just ordered a used copy of a book called What the Witch Left which is now out of print. I hope when I re-read this one it doesn’t disappoint!

        • I’ve never met anyone else who read Trixie Beldon!!! Too funny. I have not read the other books…but will keep my eye out for that series too. Thanks.

  2. I always give books too. I agree that so many books with “messages” seem so preachy, and I tend to stay away from them. One old book of mine from when I was a kid that amazed me for it’s “ahead of it’s time” environmental slant was “The Wombles” – a series of books about furry creatures whose job was to clean up the planet after the messy humans, and only one little girl can see them. It was a bit preachy too but I loved it as a kid.

    Laughing at Finola’s comment about Enid Blyton – I LOVE(D) the Famous Five, but they are definitely a bit “dated” upon re-reading.

    • I have never heard of the “The Wombles”. Will keep an eye out for it at the used book sales- good place to find our old favs. I also laughed at Finola’s comment…loved reading the books too! Ahh memories 🙂

  3. Karen Says:

    I LOVE children’s books and Dr. Seuss are the best!! My favourite is “Oh, The Places You’ll Go”. It teaches such great life lessons. It’s a great read no matter what age you are. I just pulled it off the book shelf and put it on my son’s bed for him to read tonight. Laura, if you remember you gave it to him when he was born 10 years ago.

  4. LH Says:

    Wow – blast from the past. I read Enid Blyton’s Mallory Towers and St. Clare’s series’ when I was a kid and I got them in England. Didn’t know anyone here had even heard of them. As for Dr. Seuss, we already have about 8 of his books for our son but I hadn’t heard of the Lorax. Nothing is more fun to read out loud than Dr. S, so this one goes on my list.

    • I only read the Famous Five series… just googled Enid Blyton and cannot believe how many books she wrote. Amazing. I’ve been smiling all day thanks to everyone’s comments about childhood favourites, Brings back good memories. Hope your son likes the Lorax. 🙂

  5. meanie Says:

    the giving tree. gawd it chokes me up.

  6. Not to sound too old, but I think kids toys were much better when I was young. Now they all look cheap and boring. For me it was the occasional My Little Pony and Barbie, but mostly puzzles and games and booksbooksbooks.

    The Lorax was definitely a favourite!

    • My parents still have some of our old toys and they were built to last. Don’t feel old…My Little Pony wasn’t invented when I was little. lol Nice to meet you Raggedy Sarah 🙂

  7. XUP Says:

    I thought the Bobbsey Twins had been pretty much outlawed these days for their extreme racism? Some of my daughter’s favourite books were anything by Robert Munsch or Eric Carle, and the Little House on the Prarie series

    • Finola Says:

      Bobbsey Twins probably were outlawed. I haven’t seen new copies in the bookstores at all. My husband’s parents kept every toy and book from his and his siblings’ childhood, so our copies are from the 70s. In the one that I read to my kids, there were indeed racist references that I ended up skipping over.

      • I had no idea the Bobbsey Twins were racist (mortified!)… I read them so long ago up at the cottage and couldn’t tell you anything about them except that they were mysteries I enjoyed. (?) 😦 The Trixie Beldons I can’t sell to my daughter even though she loves Nancy Drew and detective stories. The only books I kept from my childhood is the little House on the Prairie Series and the Chronicles of Narnia (STILL love them)

    • My kids love Robert Munsch too. I have never been able to get through “I love you forever” without crying. It’s so good. Thanks for explaining why I couldn’t find Bobbsey Twins books…I had NO idea they were racist. (mortified!) I can’t tell you what any of the stories were about…I just liked reading them up at my cottage in the summer when I ran out of Nancy Drews & Hardy Boys.


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