The Lorax

What's Pictured: (Above) "Way back in the days when the grass was green . . . ," pencil and crayon on tracing paper, from The Lorax, Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library, TM & © Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P. All Rights Reserved.

Theodor Seuss Geisel (1904-1991), better known by his pen name, Dr. Seuss, is one of the best-loved children’s book authors of all time. Employing enormous imagination, silly rhymes, and whimsical illustrations, he was perhaps the first author to make reading fun, both for kids and their parents.

Filled with good humor, many books by Geisel taught important lessons like the value of treating people fairly, the benefits of open-mindedness, and the amazing things you can achieve if you believe in yourself. Some stories, such as The Lorax, even expressed Geisel’s personal views on social and political issues. Published in 1971, before protecting the earth became a global concern, Dr. Seuss spoke through his character, the Lorax, who “spoke for the trees,” warning against mindless progress and the danger it poses to the planet. Today, this book is celebrated as one that educated and inspired a new generation to preserve our natural resources. On loan from the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library, Austin, TX, Joslyn’s exhibition presents preliminary crayon drawings and final pen and ink line art that tell the complete story of The Lorax.

A doodler at heart, Geisel often remarked that he never really learned to draw. His school notebooks included bizarre creatures framing sporadic class notes. Over the years, his illustrations brought a visual realization to his fantastic, imaginary worlds. He created every rough sketch, preliminary drawing, final line drawing, and finished work for each page of every project he illustrated. The color sketches and line art on view at Joslyn, along with the typewritten story Geisel affixed to the pages, provide a fascinating look at the early development of a Dr. Seuss classic.

Sponsored by Webster Family Foundation.

Truffula Tree Project: A UNO Service Learning Academy Collaboration

A “Truffula Tree” is coming to Joslyn’s Discovery Garden, October 8 through November 8, 2013. Guided by the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s (UNO) Service Learning Academy, this project is a collaboration among Blackburn Alternative High School, Skinner Magnet Center, and Peter Kiewit Institute (PKI) students. Artist and Master Blacksmith Elmo Diaz is leading the Blackburn students in the creation of the metal structure. Leaves are being created from “upcycled” shopping bags. Skinner students decorated the tree’s trunk. PKI students are assisting with construction and safety concerns. A display near the Mind’s Eye Gallery will include photos and descriptions of the project in progress as well as students’ works, and a tree will be planted in the garden.

Be sure to j
oin us outside on Tuesday, October 8, to watch the installation!

The Truffula Tree is the tree species featured in
The Lorax. According to the story, a Truffula seed requires 10 months to germinate, 10 years to sprout, and another 10 years to become fully grown. The Truffula’s bark is striped and the top is tufted and “softer than silk.” In The Lorax, the trees are cut down by the Once-ler so that each tuft can be knitted into a “Thneed” — A-Fine-Something-That-All-People-Need. Speaking for the trees, the Lorax cautions against the misuse of our natural resources.