Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax Inspires Kids to Hug a Tree

Two publications show us the way… to care for trees this Arbor Day!

Lorax-Forest-Service-LaunchWith Earth Day yesterday and Arbor Day this Friday, April 26, and all week as National Parks Week, this is the perfect time to do something to help a tree grow or plant something new to celebrate the miracle of spring. If there are little ones in your life—children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews or friends of kids that you love—it’s a good time to teach them to love trees, plants, and flowers, too.

Image: The head of the Forest Service with the Lorax for the launch of the U.S. Forest Service’s Discover the Forest program which aims to inspire tweens (aged 8-12) and their parents to re-connect with nature, experiencing it first-hand. The campaign brings to life the joy and excitement kids have when they discover the wonders of nature, helping create interest in their environment and a lifelong relationship with it. Photo credit: U.S. Forest Service

The best way to get kids to appreciate nature, according to Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax Curriculum Guide, is to take them outdoors—and “according to the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, children in the U.S. spend 50% less time outdoors than they did 20 years ago.” To counter the initial cries of “I want TV”, however, it helps to give kids directed activities when they go outside.

The U.S. Forest Service and the Ad Council have developed a partnership with Project Learning Tree and Universal Pictures to create an educational curriculum plan based on “The Lorax” film and story. The curriculum supports the Forest Service’s “Discover the Forest” campaign (See image caption above).


Image: “Plant a Tree” page 21 from the Lorax Classroom Guide.

Teachers can download for FREE the complete classroom guide of Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax Curriculum Guide as a PDF, or can download the individual activities to use in class (as long as it is for educational, and not commercial, purposes). There’s an interactive map of places you can go in the United States that have campgrounds, national forests, state campgrounds, etc. There’s a page of games and activities such as how to use a compass, take a virtual hike, create a leaf rubbing or become a Jr. Forest Ranger on the Web site.

The printed teacher’s guide has tests, bibliographies for the students, labs (plant a tree with the Lorax), and student pages for various grade levels (I saw K-4 and 6-8). Families are encouraged to use these activities, too.


Why would Anyone Cut a Tree Down? continues the ecological and conservation-minded discussion you might want to pursue with your kids or students this week.

However, this volume approaches conservation from a silvicultural perspective, rather than the Lorax’ perspective of promoting a child’s approach of nature generally. The age range for the publication is 8 and up, and the material might be a bit young for older middle school children—so its material is more directed to a specific age range. The Forest Service published this document also, and the authors are a writer/ editor / educator with the Forest Service and an illustrator with previous experience illustrating tree guides.

The book shows children the life cycle of trees, the need to remove sick trees, the uses for wood from cut trees, and types of trees that are dangerous, all so beautifully illustrated by Juliette Watts that they make the lessons come alive.

Purchase a copy from the GPO U.S. Government Online Bookstore, and flop under a tree canopy to read the story and appreciate all the gifts that nature has to give us.

As Dr. Seuss wrote, “Now that you’re here, the word of the Lorax seems perfectly clear. UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”  It’s up to us (and the Forest Service and its partners) to encourage children to care a whole awful lot about our trees and forests. Using these publications is good a way to make that happen!

How can I find these publications?

1) Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax Curriculum Guide

  • You can find it via our PURL (Permanent URL)
  • Locate it through GPO’s Catalog of Government Publications CGP catalog record. GPO has cataloged both the print and the electronic versions to make things “a whole awful lot better” for the Federal Depository libraries that got it in the April 2013 record load.
  • Find it in a federal depository library near you.

2) Why would Anyone Cut a Tree Down?

  • Purchase it on GPO’s U.S. Government Online Bookstore.
  • Buy it at GPO’s Main (retail) Bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday-Friday, 8:30am to 4pm Eastern Time, except Federal holidays. Call (202) 512-0132 for information.
  • Find it in a Federal Depository library.

About the Author(s):

Adapted by Government Book Talk Editor and U.S. Government Online Bookstore Manager Michele Bartram from a post written for the FDLP Community Blog by guest blogger Jennifer Davis from GPO’s Library Services & Content Management Division that supports the Federal Depository Libraries Program (FDLP).

14 Responses to Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax Inspires Kids to Hug a Tree

  1. Avni says:

    Amazing work .The Lorax is a book full of colourful illustrations and bizarre creatures that need to be saved as well as Dr Seuss’s trademark rhyming text; this is a wonderful book that is a favorite of children and adults alike.Thanks for sharing this beautiful blog.


  2. […] posts “Oh, say, can you tree? American Christmas tree traditions,” “Pruning Trees” and “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax Inspires Kids to Hug a Tree” for more information on these […]


  3. Danny Fasel says:

    This is one of my favorite movies. Me and my daughter always watch this.. I always remind her why trees are important and what harm it can bring if we cut our trees.


  4. Robert Apolinar says:

    Thanks for sharing this! Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax you rock. My kids love the oak trees!


  5. Pamela Turner says:

    Thank you for sharing the information about Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax Curriculum Guide.


  6. […] Read our review of these free and low-cost kids’ books and teacher’s guides on trees from the US Forest Service on our Government Book Talk blog in honor of Arbor Day this Friday, April 26: https://govbooktalk.gpo.gov/2013/04/23/dr-seuss-the-lorax-inspires-kids-to-hug-a-tree/ […]


  7. Byron says:

    Great post. I watched the Lorax with my kids the other day. We planted an oak tree in our back yard.


  8. armansyahardanis says:

    Planting, Maintaining, And Loving The Trees…..

    Happy Earth Day…!!! This time is remembering to all the people in the world, in this planet, that recovering our damaged environment must be done. And most of the people have known it. Good Luck..!


  9. Diana Ross says:

    I love this whole article:) I love trees and used to climb them, name them and claim them in my neighborhood as a child. When I die, I want my ashes to be mixed with the soil and planted with a Mighty Oak tree, so that I can live another 100 years! And all the acorns that drop, will be the happy tears for my children and grandchildren, and all that come to visit me under my branches:)


    • GPOBookstore says:

      Diana- Thanks so much for your lovely note! When my beloved Grandmother Sally passed away a few years ago, she asked for her ashes to be planted under her favorite tree at our friends’ ranch in the gorgeous Red River Gorge in Kentucky. She said her favorite memories growing up were going there and communing with nature, which led to a lifelong love of plants and trees of all kinds, which she lovingly shared with all of us. We are happy knowing she rests with Mother Nature who welcomes her as a kindred spirit, I’m sure. Thanks again for reminding us that valuing nature is a gift to be passed on to future generations.


      • Grand Angel says:

        I have purchased a tree in honor of someone who passed & I can’t think of a better way to honor their memory . Bringing new life to the planet is a beautiful way of showing children that life is a cycle in which death isn’t the end.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: