Visiting the first annual Children’s Art & Literary Festival, a friend and I began at the “nickel” (National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature) to view an exhibit of original rough sketches, preliminary crayon drawings, and final pen-and-ink line art for the book The Lorax, by Theodor (“Ted”) Seuss Geisel a.k.a. Dr. Seuss. The accompanying brochure mentions Geisel quoted in Parenting magazine in 1987 saying about The Lorax, “It’s one of the few things I ever set out to do that was straight propaganda…it was the hardest thing I have ever done…” It also tells about how he made a trip to Africa to find inspiration for the characters and landscape in the book. The look of the Umbrella Thorn Acacia Tree inspired the “truffula trees.”
My favorite things about Dr. Seuss books are the words he makes up, the rhyme, and the humor. See all these in the below quotes from The Lorax:
“I’m being quite useful. This thing is a Thneed.
A Thneed’s a Fine-Something-That-All-People-Need!”
Oh! Baby! Oh!
How my business did grow!
Now, chopping one tree
at a time was too slow.
So I quickly invented my Super-Axe-Hacker
which whacked off four Truffula Trees at one smacker.
We were making Thneeds
four times as fast as before!
And that Lorax?…
He didn’t show up anymore.
I am the Lorax! I speak for the trees,
Which you seem to be chopping as fast as you please;
But I also speak for the brown Barbaloots,
Who frolicked and played in their Barbaloot suits,
Happily eating Truffula fruits.
Now, since you’ve chopped the trees to the ground
There’s not enough Truffula fruit to go ’round!
And my poor Barbaloots are all feeling the crummies
Because they have gas, and no food, in their tummies.
Find more information about this year’s festival here: Children’s Art & Literacy Festival