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The Lorax

Is it my imagination or has this Dr. Seuss birthday been promoted like no other? Naturally, it has something to do with the fact that the feature-length film The Lorax, based on the Seuss book, hits the theaters today.

A few weeks ago in opinion piece in the New York Times, Nicholas Kristof reported on a 4th grade class that was disappointed that the film’s website had no conservation information or tips. The students started a petition, which quickly went viral. By the time they took it to Universal Studios it had more than 57,000 signatures—enough to get the studio to make some changes to the site. The petition is in the form of a short video and well worth viewing with students.

Of course, there are other ways to celebrate the day, including reading a Seuss book or two. The National Education Association is showcasing The Lorax as part of its Read Across America Day and offers information and activity suggestions on its site. But if art and illustration are more aligned with your mood today, I recommend taking a look at Betsy Bird’s “Seussification Project.” Betsy challenged artists to “re-illustrate any Dr. Seuss book in the style of another illustrator.” The resulting images are absolutely wonderful and it’s lots of fun to try to guess the artists’ identities. (There are clues in the pictures and a who’s who is posted.)

To commemorate the day, Oceanhouse Media is offering 25 Seuss apps (for iOS and Android) at reduced prices through March 8th and the Lorax Garden and Dr. Seuss Band for free. Follow the links to download these games.

We thought today would be the perfect day to introduce The Lorax app to our audience. You’ll find the review below.

Title: The Lorax
Author: Dr. Seuss
Publisher: Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L. P.
Developer: Oceanhouse Media, LLC
Platform: iOS, requires 3.0 or later ; Android
Version: iOS 1.08.1; Android
Price: $.99 through March 8th

PreS-Gr 3-Since it’s publication in 1971, The Lorax (Random), with it’s fantastical scenes and characters and delightful Seussian language and rhythm, has been a favorite with children. It’s  clear conservation message, made all the more powerful by the suggestion that change begins with one person (here a child) and an idea (represented by the seed of a Trufulla tree), is as timely today as it was 40 years ago.

Screen shot from 'The Lorax' (Seuss) Oceanhouse Media

The story progresses fluidly in each of the three operating modes. In “Auto Play” and “Read to Me” the narrator’s voice reflects the destructive Once-ler’s determination to chop down every tree in sight, weariness and worry once they are gone, and finally hope as he passes the last Truffala seed to a young boy and instructs him on how to nurture it (“clean water,” “fresh air”).

Background sounds—the  squawk of a bird, the rattle of a window, the plink of a coin—and a pleasing melody enhance the telling. An app—and a message—for all  collections—Daryl Grabarek, School Library Journal.