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.
“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 :)