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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is not the 2012 theatrical version of The Lorax -- it's an early 1970s animated version of the Dr. Seuss book that tells a timeless story of humanity's relationship with the land, water, air, and animals that will appeal to kids. There are instances of cartoonish violence as the Truffula Trees are chopped down -- Seussian machines abound -- but the lesson imparted by the Lorax as he speaks for the trees and all of nature should spark positive discussions on what can be done to protect our planet.
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What's the story?
THE LORAX (voiced by Bob Holt) speaks for the Truffula Trees, the Brown Bar-ba-loots, the Humming-Fish, and all of nature. But when the Once-ler (also Holt) opens up a factory, the Truffula Trees are chopped down to supply humanity with Thneeds. As the factory grows along with the demand for Thneeds, the Truffula Trees -- along with the Brown Bar-ba-loots and the Humming-Fish -- all start to disappear, no matter how much the Lorax protests. As the Once-ler and the Lorax argue about progress and profits versus preservation and pristine air, land, and water, their world becomes increasingly more polluted, and it seems as if it's almost too late to save the living things the Lorax speaks for.
Is it any good?
Clearly a product of the ecological movements of the early 1970s, the message of this Dr. Seuss story continues to resonate today. Filled with songs, rhymes, and the distinctive style of Dr. Seuss' animation that has transcended generations, The Lorax is a fast-paced and highly creative parable on the perils of unchecked economic expansion and environmental damage.
Originally a TV special, The Lorax was re-released on DVD to coincide with the 2012 Zac Ephron and Taylor Swift version of the story. For parents, this could present an opportunity to compare and contrast the past and present, in how themes and adaptations of classic children's books are interpreted then and now. Regardless, this version of The Lorax is definitely worth seeing.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the interests of the Lorax and the Once-ler are initially opposed, but eventually the same. Why is that? What lesson did the Once-ler learn in The Lorax?
How is the story similar to and different than other kids' movies with strong messages about the importance of protecting the environment?
What makes this story stand the test of time?
- In theaters: February 14, 1972
- On DVD or streaming: February 14, 2012
- Cast: Athena Lorde, Bob Holt, Eddie Albert
- Director: Hawley Pratt
- Studio: Warner Home Video
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Book Characters, Great Boy Role Models, Science and Nature
- Character Strengths: Courage, Integrity
- Run time: 25 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.