The Green Story Circle: The Lorax

October’s  Book: The Lorax (1971) by Dr. Seuss
October’s  Activity: Bulb planting in the kindergarten garden (aka “the jungle”) and in little cups for kids to take home and plant in pots or in their own yards.

(c) Jessie Sitnick/WWF-Canada
Here’s How It Went:
When I got the opportunity to start the Green Story Circle as a monthly guest reader in my son, Loki’s, kindergarten classroom, The Lorax was the first story I thought of to read.  It touches on so many complex issues: unsustainable consumption, the connections between species and their habitat, the potential tensions between ecology and economy.  And it rhymes!  In truth, Dr. Seuss applies his unique genius to weave a fantastical story that touches the beating heart of our planet’s biggest environmental challenges in a way that a four year old can clearly understand.
If you have a small person in your life (or access to one), I suggest you read it to him or her.  But beware:  it is long.  When reading it out loud, with a brood of wiggly kidlets surrounding you, it could feel really really long.  On the walk to school I confessed to Loki that I was feeling pretty nervous.  Don’t worry mom, you’re a good reader, he told me.  And everyone’s really nice and good at sitting.
Good, okay. With my confidence boosted, I filed into the bright and cheery classroom and sat in the honoured story-telling seat, perched over the patchwork alphabet rug.  The kids were really nice.  And they were also really good at sitting. But, more than I had possibly hoped:   they got it.
Things are getting dirty so everyone has to go away, even the people! cried one little girl, as we reached the climax of the story.  The worry on her face was evident.  In fact, as I looked up at the kids and locked eyes with the teacher, I realized—for the first time—how scary this story actually is.
Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not. As I read that line, the gravity of it, I wondered—is this too much for these little ones?
But here is where the real magic of Seuss is evident.  From this stark and serious juncture in the story, a beautiful moment of hope is born…the very last Truffula seed of them all. And whose hands is it in? Yours and yours and yours and yours.

Here’s What I learned:
Seuss’ genuine respect for the insight, potential and power of his little readers was a wonderful reminder, for me, not to underestimate my kids.  Obviously we don’t want to horrify children with stories of doom.  But we can talk to them about what is happening with our environment and we can make them feel that they are a part of the solution.  Because, in fact, they are.
November’s Book: Every Autumn Comes a Bear by Jim Arnosky
Help! I still need story and activity ideas for the rest of the year.  What would be a great activity for a story about hibernation?  Thoughts?  Thanks for your help.