The Lorax is Dr. Seuss's 30th book.
The boy comes to a dark, desolate corner of town that is called "the Street of the Lifted Lorax," to learn who the Lorax was and how he got "lifted and taken away." Through a "whisper-ma-phone," the Once-ler tells the boy what happened. When the Once-ler first arrived at this place, it was a beautiful, sunny forest where the Swomee-Swans sang, the Humming-Fish hummed, and the Brown Bar-ba-loots played in the shade while eating the fruit of the Truffula Trees, colorful woolly trees spread throughout the area.
Enchanted by these gorgeous trees, the Once-ler built a small shop, where he chopped down a tree and knitted a Thneed, an odd-looking but versatile garment that he insisted "everyone needs." Out of the stump popped a strange little man called the Lorax, who claimed "I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues." The Lorax first scoffed at the Once-ler's creation, until someone came along and bought it. Spurred by greed, the Once-ler invited all his relatives to town where they started a huge Thneed-making business, chopping down Truffula Trees left and right, much to the Lorax's distress.
The skies gradually got darker and more polluted, forcing the Lorax to send the Bar-ba-loots, the swans, and the fish off in search of a better place to live. The Once-ler, while upset to see the animals go, dismissed the Lorax's pleadings until the last Truffula Tree got chopped down, leaving the Once-ler alone with the Lorax and a failed business in a desolate place under a dark smoggy sky. With a "sad backward glance," the Lorax picked himself up by the "seat of his pants" and floated away through a hole in the smog. At the end of the story, the Once-ler reveals that he has one last Truffula seed left, and instructs the boy to start a new forest so that "the Lorax and all of his friends may come back."
The book has strong environmental themes, especially regarding issues such as deforestation, and air and water pollution. It also speaks strongly against greed, and the capitalist system.
On July 28, 2009, it was announced that Universal Studios and Illumination Entertainment are teaming up to produce a 3-D, CGI film based upon the book. It will be co-directed by Chris Renaud, Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio, with Paul & Daurio writing the script. Mike Fleming writes in Variety that "the picture is targeted for a March 2, 2012 release, which falls on the birthday of Dr. Seuss, who died in 1991." Zac Efron plays "Ted", a renamed character named after Dr.Seuss. Taylor Swift plays "Audrey", a new character named after Seuss' widow, Audrey Geisel, who is the producer of the film, respectively. In the 80s, DFE Films produced a CBS special called The Lorax.
- The Lorax was once challenged by a school district on the grounds that it "criminalizes the forestry industry."
- Recently, a statue of the Lorax was stolen from Mrs. Seuss' estate.
- The voiceover actors for the animated film recorded their scenes while surrounded with character art and video screens displaying content from the Lorax to immerse them in the story.