This adaptation of the Dr. Seuss book about pollution and environmental damage may be a bit heavy for younger kids. But children age six and older, as well as adults, will find much to ponder in its story of capitalist greed gone amok. The Lorax is a creature that once lived in a beautiful paradise, populated by animals and trees. When Mr. Once-Ler comes along and starts cutting down trees to make the profitable (but useless) Thneeds , the Lorax voices concern, saying, "I speak for the trees! Let 'em grow! They say I'm old fashioned and live in the past, but sometimes I think progress progresses too fast." Mr. Once-Ler ignores the Lorax's warnings, and lives to regret it. Eventually, paradise has become a barren wasteland. All the trees are cut down; the factory has closed; the animals, birds, and fish have fled; and the air is polluted. Even the Lorax is gone. The fate of the Lorax is put in the hands of a young child at the end, when the chastened Once-Ler gives him the last tree seed, with the admonition: "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing will change." The themes of capitalism, depletion of resources, and selfish affluence may be a bit heavy for kids under five, but with some parental guidance this makes for an educational and moving tale that can spark family discussions about the importance of respecting the wealth we all inherit from the natural world. --Elisabeth Keating
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