Long ago Once-ler chances upon a place filled with wondrous Truffula Trees, Swomee-Swans, Brown Bar-ba-loots, and Humming-Fishes. Bewitched by the beauty of the Truffula Tree tufts, he greedily chops them down to produce and mass-market Thneeds. (“It’s a shirt. It’s a sock. It’s a glove. It’s a hat.”) As the trees swiftly disappear and the denizens leave for greener pastures, the fuzzy yellow Lorax (who speaks for the trees “for the trees have no tongues”) repeatedly warns the Once-ler, but his words of wisdom are for naught. Finally the Lorax extricates himself from the scorched earth (by the seat of his own furry pants), leaving only a rock engraved “UNLESS.” Thus, with his own colorful version of a compelling morality play, Dr. Seuss teaches readers not to fool with Mother Nature. But as you might expect from Seuss, all hope is not lost-the Once-ler has saved a single Truffula Tree seed! Our fate now rests in the hands of a caring child, who becomes our last chance for a clean, green future.
Archive for the ‘It could be verse’ Category
13-year-old Lakshmi lives an ordinary life in Nepal, going to school and thinking of the boy she is to marry.
Then her gambling-addicted stepfather sells her into prostitution in India.
Refusing to be with men, she is beaten and starved until she gives in.
“In between, men come./They crush my bones with their weight./They split me open./Then they disappear. I hurt./I am torn and bleeding where the men have been”.
She is told that if she works off her family’s debt, she can leave, but she soon discovers that this is virtually impossible.
When a boy who runs errands for the girls and their clients begins to teach her to read, she feels a bit more alive, remembering what it feels like to be the number one girl in class again.
When an American comes to the brothel to rescue girls, Lakshmi finally gets a sense of hope.
This is the story of an old woman who swallowed increasingly large animals, each to catch the previously swallowed animal.
John is obsessed with dominoes, but not with playing the traditional game. Instead, he is obsessed with toppling. He spends hours setting up spirals, ramps, patterns and lines of dominoes all for that satisfying topple. Beginning with a small push in the right direction, everything falls as it is meant to. When John’s friend Dom falls sick and is diagnosed with cancer, it is John and his friends’ worlds that fall apart. Can they face Dom and support him through this uncomfortable illness?
Billy, 16, says good riddance to his abusive father and hops a freight train. Settling in a small town that has a friendly librarian and a train yard with abandoned cars to call home, he adjusts quickly to life, figuring out how to eat and keep clean. Intelligent and mature, the teen thinks about cruelty, compassion, and what his life has become–”I’m poor, homeless, but I’m not stupid.”
He meets and falls in love with Caitlin, a rich and dissatisfied girl who quickly sees there is more to Billy than a starving bum grabbing leftovers off the tables in McDonald’s. He also befriends Old Bill, a homeless drunk who teaches him a few things, including how to earn money. Billy has little to offer but compassion, and that’s what these two people so desperately need. All three of them are able to give the simplest gifts to one another in this beautiful, subtle, and sensitive story.
Three teens tell their stories, in free verse, from a psychiatric hospital after failed suicide attempts. Their lives unfold in alternating chapters, revealing emotionally scarred family relationships. An absent father, a bipolar mother, and a secret abortion have caused Vanessa to slash her wrists. As a compulsive cutter, she hides a paper clip to dig into her skin. Tony’s drug overdose was triggered by an addiction in which he exchanged sex for money. Abused as a child, he is confused about his sexuality. Connor is the son of rich, controlling parents, and he survives a self-inflicted gunshot wound after a doomed affair with a female teacher. Initially, the narrators are inwardly focused, having arrived at “level zero,” the beginning of their treatment. As they become acquainted with one another, the story, told in spare verse and colorful imagery, becomes more plot-driven and filled with witty dialogue. Both boys value Vanessa’s friendship and there is an inkling of competition for her affection, although she assumes that Tony is gay. During a wilderness camping trip with other patients and staff, which would graduate the trio to the final level of treatment, it becomes apparent that one of them is mentally backsliding at the thought of returning home and has stopped taking meds. The consequences are played out, leaving the others to grapple with an additional loss and a newfound appreciation for life.