Who Will Speak For The Lorax?

 

A long time ago, in a sweet serene dale,
Dr. Seuss wrote “The Lorax,” a wonderful tale,
About truffulas, Oncelers, a thneed and a plan,
And of course of a small, squat, mustachioed man.

Then some big-shots in Hollywood liked what they’d seen,
And decided The Lorax should be on the screen!
They would spare no expense, they’d promote cross the land,
So that furry and orange could be their new brand!

They put ads up on billboards that list all their stars,
Hawking toys, meals, and t-shirts, and gas-guzzling cars,
And the latter is what has folks all up in arms,
The hypocrisy rankling, And raising alarms,

While the irony of it’s not lost on yours truly,
There’s something else that I find much more unruly.
The ad’s contradiction is worth some distress,
But “The Lorax” is part of a much bigger mess.

See, “The Lorax” is short, though it packs quite a punch,
It’s a simple, quick story; yet the suits had a hunch,
They saw Seuss’s brief tale, and then they got to figuring
On biggering and BIGGERING and BIGGERING and BIGGERING

“It has to be longer! We’ll have to secure,
Some new subplots! A love story! Villains for sure!
At least ninety minutes! That’s how long it should last!
Make it like all the others! We’ll need a big cast!”

“It’s a short guy who squawks?”
They thought it would be neato,
To have the main star
Played by Danny DeVito,
And just to be sure,
If one star underwhelms,
They went down to “The Office,”
And picked up Ed Helms,

“Throw in two vapid popstars,
To attract all the tweens,
Bring in that demographic,
We’ll use any means!”
And if that Twilight method did not set things right,
They’d cover all bases, and add Betty White.

And with all those new characters, what did they do?
Just achieve less with many than Seuss did with two.
Those execs took that story. They tried to expand,
And turned it to something that’s typically bland.

Far from the yarn told with Seuss’s precision,
They had littered the tale with each change and revision,
“Make each film inoffensive! And fill it with fluff!”
As if such simple parables aren’t enough.

Well maybe they thought Seuss’s words were too old,
But just think – did this new story need to be told?
Do they think that there’s something the author left out?
Or some point he forgot to tell people about?

No, it’s all about tickets, it’s all about more,
And they think we’ll come out if we’ve heard it before,
Meanwhile truly new stories will rarely be shown,
After all who’d invest in something so unknown?

But once, a brave man,
Who feared no reprisal,
And who loved to write nonsense,
Named Theodore Geisel,
Penned some wonderful books,
We’re now free to peruse,
He came up with a pen name,
Called himself Dr. Seuss,

His ideas were untested,
His words a bit wacky,
Some thought he was crazy,
Some thought him just tacky,
Still his writing for kids was the sort that enchants,
What if no one had dared to go give him a chance?

And while he wrote tales of the Onceler’s great thneed,
He dreamed parents and children would sit down to read,
That they’d giggle and laugh and love each rhyming tome,
While they shared in those stories, together at home.

See, while fine movie gloss can be really quite nice,
And while some folks will share it with you for a price,
No matter what kind of a job that they did,
It just can’t compare to those books plus a kid.

The film might be pretty; it could be well-done,
But if you read together you’ll have much more fun,
Since while Hollywood actors are the studio’s choices,
They cannot compare to my dad’s funny voices.

And what’s more important — the time that we’d share,
Instead of bright screens where we’d just sit and stare,
Dr. Seuss wrote those fables, he meant them this way,
I don’t think there’s much more for a movie to say.

So go find a copy, give it a look,
Call in your family, and open a book,
Go read Seuss’s own story, see the pictures he’s drawn,
So The Lorax and all of his friends, may live on.

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8 Responses to Who Will Speak For The Lorax?

  1. Jessica says:

    Awesome poem.

  2. Mac says:

    I’m almost 60 now and have always been a huge fan of Dr. Seuss. My children learned their alphabet with the Dr’s ABC book (BIG m, little m, many mumbling mice, making midnight music in the moonlight, mighty nice!) and taught them to read, by age 3, using Hop On Pop. I was appalled how Hollywood ruined The Cat in the Hat and I refuse to see The Lorax. The Dr. is all about the rhymes, the nonsense language and the artwork and how almost every book has a lesson to learn, something that Hollywood doesn’t understand now and never will.

    • Andrew says:

      Glad to hear of another family that taught kids to love reading through Dr. Seuss. My parents were big on reading to my sister and me, and it certainly improved our literacy at a young age.

      One of the things that’s apparent in the film adaptations of Suess’s works is that there’s a certain magic he distilled in those books that is very difficult to recreate in another medium. I think Chuck Jones did it best with his “Grinch Who Stole Christmas” cartoon, but it’s a tough task that more than one adaptation has failed to live up to.

  3. First, I have to ask how long it took you to write the post. It’s so impressive… the sort of thing I wish I had done but would never dedicate the time! Well done!

    I ama huge Seuss fan and have tried to get my kids to love him too. I’ve read “Yurtle” and “Mulberry Street” to their classes at school.

    My fear would be that kids wouldn’t want to read the books because the movie exists but I read “Cat in the Hat” to my daughter’s kindergarden class last week and they loved it. So maybe we worry too much.. :) While the “hollywood treatment” may pull kids away from the book for a couple of years, after that it just becomes an old movie that the next group of kids won’t want to watch. The book, however, will live on. :)

    • Andrew says:

      It’s hard to put a firm number on how long the poem took, as I sort of built it up sporadically over a couple of days until I felt like I’d framed everything I wanted to say. Thank you very much for the compliment.

      Yertle and Mulberry Street are both great. My Dad often read “Six by Seuss” to me as a child, and when my sister and I grew up, he would read them at a local elementary school. Reading to young kids is such a good deed. Teaching them to love the written word, and, particularly with Dr. Seuss, helping them be imaginative is great gift to give children. I do hope Suess’s timeless books outlast their mediocre silver screen offspring.

  4. Linda Torbert says:

    I too was greatly dismayed by the Cat in the Hat movie. It could have been so well done. I hope Lorax is not butchered likewise.

  5. Cat says:

    The idea of being read to by one’s father really struck a chord with me: growing up, my dad would read my brother and me The Hobbit. It’s one of my most cherished memories, and I still love listening to my dad read. That may actually be one of the saddest losses of our technology-rich world: too few people read books together nowadays.

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