The Lorax is a children’s book, by Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel). The book has been a curiosity, and has continued to increase in popularity since it was first published in 1971. But, there has also been debate about the place… Where is it? When? And, what creature is this?
Where is it?
The easy answer is to read what Dr. Seuss writes:
“Near the town of Nanyuki
No Grickle-grass grows
And the wind smells fast and sweet when it blows.
Nevertheless some scholars propose
That this is the home of the Lorax.”
But, where is that place? Is it fanciful? Does it matter?
Or is the message of conservationism more important? Perhaps it could be anywhere, at any time. It could be in any of our cities or towns, even in our back yard.
What if The Lorax Was Inspired By A Place?
Now, Nathaniel Dominy is revisiting the origins of The Lorax for a new study, published in Nature Ecology & Evolution (with Sandra Winters, Donald E. Pease and James P. Higham). Evidently, Geisel intended to write an “environmental book for children” when he sat down and penned The Lorax while at the Mount Kenya Safari Club in 1970. It was in Kenya where he would have also seen the patas monkey (Erythrocebus patas), the source-critter for the Lorax-character.
Perhaps it really doesn’t matter if the story is based on a real place and time. It may be enough to say that deforestation is happening everywhere, and that the potential for collapse is imminent. But, no matter what your stance on the book, its origins, and the many controversies related to its message, every reader can see the message of hope.