Disclaimer: I am currently attempting to watch the 2011 Jane Eyre since I’ve had the netflix dvd for 3 days now and would like to be able to get my next dvd, I will do my hardest to not confuse Jane Eyre with The Lorax. If I suddenly wonder if the Once-ler is haunting Jane Eyre’s happiness, you will understand I am sure.
Now…the reason for my title. Originally, I was attempting to read Les Miserables. Then Saturday, Amelia woke with a cough. No big deal. Called the doctor’s office to be sure, but we all felt it was an upper resp infection. 4 hours later, my daughter is laying semi-conscious on the couch laboring to breath, panting in short breaths with a fever. Another nurse call was made, this one telling me to get to the er after steaming Amelia in the bathroom first. This was my first time in almost 5 years of needing to go to the ER for Amelia. As you can imagine, this caused a great amount of fear and stress on Greg and I’s part. We were sent home with an inhaler and super duty amoxicillin. And we spent the next 3 days in a haze of medicine giving (ibuprofen alternated with tylenol for fever, amoxicillin twice a day, her inhaler every couple of hours and benadryl from time to time for relief of some of the symptoms) and random demands for a piece of toast. Exhortations to eat, drink. Getting her to rouse from the couch for a bath. Basically my brain allowed me to the joy of watching tv as it was too tired to do anything else (I became oddly addicted to Gordon Ramsey’s Hotels from Hell and Hoarding during this time). So, there went Les Mis finishing. Then I decided, well I can do Charlotte’s Web, Amelia’s better enough for me to be able to read Charlotte’s Web. I began it. One chapter or two into it, Amelia in a burst of unforeseen energy ran it into her pit of do….um room and I have been unable to retrieve it. There went Charlotte’s Web. Luckily! I was able to track down her copy of The Lorax and read that for today. Technically I have read it before, but not as a kid, only as a parent reading it to her child. And I can assure you, there is an actual difference between reading a story to your child for their enjoyment and reading it to yourself for your own review.
The Lorax is a favorite of Lydia Millet.
I’ve heard that many state that Dr Seuss wrote The Lorax as an eco statement. That might be the case. The thing I love about Seuss is that he never talks down to kids. I grew up reading ALL the time, and as such ran across more than one “morality” tale for kids. The plot usually was “Little Jane is bad and doesn’t listen. Little Jane gets sent to horrible orphan….oh wait sorry that’s Jane Eyre 😛 haha jk. Honestly though, the plot usually was some kid be bops along and is generally a good kid. But they don’t listen to the well meaning adults in their lives or the goody goody friends they have and DIRE CONSEQUENCES OCCUR. But then some good grown up comes along and rescues them from themselves and they learn THE IMPORTANT LESSON OF LISTENING TO YOUR ELDERS. Or some such crap. Seuss never made me feel that way and still doesn’t as an adult.
The thing I look for in any story is _the story_. I love any sort of narrative device, any sort of genre, IF THE STORY IS GOOD. I don’t care about the fact that some author uses some fancy narrative trick, if there isn’t a good story behind that trick, the book is crap. Seuss fulfills my good story love quite well.
The “nonsense” words he uses helps. Thneeds are what the Truffula trees are used to make. The Once-Ler comes and sees an idyllic place with beautiful Truffula trees and beautiful creatures cavorting around. He manages to make a Thneed (the thing everyone needs!) from a Truffula tree and begins mass producing Thneeds, cutting down Truffula trees. A little round mossy looking guy named the Lorax comes to warn him. But the Once-Ler doesn’t listen. Until the very last truffula tree falls. Then the Lorax leaves a rock with the word Unless inscribed on it and disappears. The way Seuss makes it a story that needs searched out by a young boy going to a house on the outskirts and paying with a variety of things including a nail, then the story itself with the nonsense words that end up being very lyrical when reading aloud. When it comes off my tongue while reading to Amelia, it has a feel of a fairy tale, not just a story book. I loved having the experience of both reading this to a child for the first time and reading it individually as an adult.
I also am really happy that Dr Seuss ended up on these lists, even if it was just once with one book. I think people forget about Dr. Seuss when listing favorite books. I mean, they’re _kids’_ books right? The literary devices and language that Seuss uses though, make him an author whose books shouldn’t be forgotten merely because one now can read War and Peace.