Reading Level: Ages 4-8
Our world seems to have unlimited resources to children. They don’t always understand why we want them to make responsible decisions with purchases, recycling, and conserving resources. Since they can’t always see the big picture about conserving resources for the common good, The Lorax can help them visualize a world without resources. We all want to sustain our beautiful planet for generations to come, and the Lorax motivates us to action. The message of caring for our planet is clearly and emotionally stated in this fantasy with all-too-real consequences for our carelessness. After reading this book together, your family can create solid plans for making a difference in the world. We can all make a difference, one person at a time. Use this guide to initiate a discussion about rights and responsibilities as well.
ASK: Natural resources are things in nature that we use. We all (everyone on earth) share natural resources. It is everyone’s responsibility to take care of them. What would happen if we (or some people) didn’t take care of natural resources? Should we have laws about taking care of natural resources?
SHOW: Look outside your window at the trees, sky, flowers, and any other natural resources in your view. Do you see pollution? Maybe all the natural resources are pushed out of the way for human purposes.
CONNECT: We are going to read a story about a business that didn’t pay attention to warnings about taking care of the natural resources.
ASK: What was great about the area before the Once-ler cut down the first tree/started his business? What did the Lorax warn him about? What happened next?
SHOW: Compare the colors before and after the Thneed factory grew large.
CONNECT: What symptoms do we have in our world of overuse of resources?
ASK: All citizens have the right to pursue happiness in their own way, as long as they do not infringe on the rights of others. Think about the actions of the Once-ler. Did he make choices for the common good or just for the happiness of ONE? Did he infringe on the rights of others? What damage did he do? When did he realize his mistakes? Did he ever feel bad about what he was doing? How did he justify what he was doing?
SHOW AND CONNECT : The last page and talk about the hope for the future in this book and in our world. What should we be doing to protect our environment? What does it mean for us (personally) to care for the environment? What does “UNLESS” mean?
- Grow a plant in a pot and take care of it. Transplant it outside when the weather is right for it. Or give each member of the family a house plant to care for. Talk about the proper care and environment for the plant.
- On one side of a piece of paper, write “tree” and on the other side, write “water.” List or draw things that we get from trees (paper, wood, shade, fruit, etc.). Talk about ways we can save trees (recycle, reduce, reuse). List or draw ways we use water. Talk about ways we can save water.
- Make a book about the conservation of natural resources. Make a cover out of recycled paper (cereal box, wrapping paper, wallpaper scraps, etc.) and staple in several half sheets of paper. Write about different natural resources and ideas for taking care of them, conserving our use, and enjoying their beauty. You may spend several pages on each resource (trees, water, air, oil, soil, etc.).
- Read the book 50 Simple Things Kids Can do to Save the Earth.(Bt Bound, 1999) ISBN: 0833544721V
- Make a poster to hang in a common area that teaches about caring for the earth.
- Draw some Truffula Trees using bright markers or paint.
- Look at a tree outside and draw or paint it using lots of details.
- Make a leaf rubbing.
- Make a list of all the things that could be recycled. How does recycling in your home benefit the common good?
- Think of ten things that make you happy. Do any of these ten things interfere with the happiness of others?
- For older children: Pretend the city is bringing the Once-ler and his Thneed business to court because the business has been dumping waste into the local river and polluting the air. Set up a mock trial with several friends or family members that will include defending this business, prosecuting this business, and deciding this case in a court of law.