Spoken by the Once-ler in the Lorax by Dr. Seuss.
These are words I live by and every time I read the book aloud choke me up. Our society as a whole today promotes individuals to complain, but doesn't encourage them enough to be the change they seek. It is frustrating sometimes to feel as though you are looked at as a radical for simply stepping up and speaking out. It is a fundamental value I hope to instill in my children. That being said I noticed something the other night when my toddler son pulled the book of the shelf and asked me to read it. Like all good Dr. Seuss books, I read the story with an animated voice rolling with the cadence of the playful rhymes and poetic licence that only he could produce, BUT I found that I did not thoroughly go through the pictures on the pages discussing and labeling the characters and scenes as we do in other books. I realized, the reason I didn't was I knew the pictures would drastically change from a happy Utopia to a wasteland of sorrow and regret. This content is too heavy for a little boy. I wanted the book to remain as light hearted and silly as One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish or Hop on Pop. I do not want to put the weight of the world on his still developing shoulders. He's not ready for that and neither am I.
We need to allow our children to be children. Preserve their innocence. I thought we were doing that in our house by not owning a tv and sheltering him from the graphic displays and candor on the evening news. I was surprised to find that weight in a book that has such a powerful and positive intent.
Like the Loony Tunes cartoons, many picture books aren't intended for younger audiences. This is the perfect kind of story for an early teen, who's horizons are broadening and is searching for a little meaning in life and is developing a greater conscience.