Thursday, March 10, 2011

My Favorite Picture Book Blogfest

I'm deviating from my normal Monday/Wednesday/Friday schedule this week for two reasons. First, I am taking a few days off, enjoying the Alps and a bit of peace and quiet (something I don't often get with two boys) before taking part in an SCBWI revision workshop on Saturday.

Second, one of my critique partners, Megan K. Bickel (The Write-At-Home Mom), is hosting the My Favorite Picture Book Blogfest today. Even if you don't write picture books, you've read them. You may read them to your kids every night, or at the very least you remember important ones from your childhood.

My absolute, all-time favorite picture book is The Lorax, by Dr. Seuss.

Why do I love it? I love the way the words roll off my tongue to reveal the way our actions impact the world around us. Little things we don't stop to consider.
"Look Lorax," I said. "There's no cause for alarm.
I chopped just one tree. I am doing no harm...."
And yet our actions build to have an ever-greater impact on the world around us. The Lorax creates a fictional account of something that affects every single person every single day.

I read this book to my students (I teach at the university level) because the message is so profound. We take just a little more each day, whittling away at the resources nature has provided us, and the slow destruction is difficult to see.
And at that very moment, we heard a loud whack!
From outside in the fields came a sickening smack
of an axe on a tree. Then we heard the tree fall.
The very last Truffula Tree of them all!
That's what happened to a thriving society on Easter Island, and now we know them only by giant stone heads, the Easter Island equivalent of gigantic thneed factories.

Dr. Seuss was way ahead of the curve in terms of environmentalism. He published The Lorax in 1971.

What about you? What was (or is) your favorite picture book?

And head on over to The Write-At-Home Mom to see the other entries. (I'll do that when I get home on Sunday.)


  1. Hi Alison. Dr Suess took on many great themes and the Lorax was certainly one of them. Back in those days this was called conservationism and few really understood the need for it. Being from a family with ties to the National Park Service, it took a while for me to realise that not everyone understood the importance of the environment. Great choice, which certainly did have an impact on you in a mighty way.

  2. If you can believe it, I read this book for the first time about a month ago. I was blown away by the profound environmental message in a book from fourty years ago! Excellent choice!

    Thanks for taking time out to participate in my blogfest, Alison! Enjoy your time away!!!

  3. I read The Lorax for the first time a few years ago as an Earth Day read aloud. Somehow I had gone my entire childhood without experiencing it. You are so right- Mr. Geisel was way ahead of his time. Brilliant and moving.

  4. I haven't really read much of Dr. Seuss, but he certainly is amazing. I mean, what other picture book author, or ANY author for that matter, has a whole day dedicated to them? March 2nd is National Dr. Seuss Day! It's celebrated in schools across the nation. He's a lot of fun and several of his books do have very deep themes appropriate for adults. My favorite picture books tend to be more current titles. And I actually don't have any favorites as a child. I don't remember ever having been read to as a child, at least not picture books. Sad, huh? So all my faves are from being an adult, and a mom.

  5. I love CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS and its sequel, PICKLES TO PITTSBURGH. There are so many wonderful picture books. Thanks for focusing on this in your blog post.

  6. Love this-- Dr Seuss really was the man. Horton hears a Who and the Butter Battle Book also have fantastic messages about social/political issues.
    LOVE this choice!

  7. Dr. Seuss was amazing! I love 'The Butter Battle Book' for similar reasons- showing how the insane reasons humans go to war. Good stuff!!! Thanks for reminding me of this books and it's great message!

  8. Yay! The Lorax. My first time finding out about this book was my friend who read it for speech team. It was one of my favorites that she chose. It's a good story and there is a line in the Seussical Musical song performed by the people on the speck of dusk. Good times.

  9. I haven't read The Lorax before but I'll be going to buy a copy soon.
    Dr Seuss was ahead of his time and not just spectacular at rhyme and making reading fun, but spreading the word about important social messages. I must read more of his books. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Great post. I love all Dr. Seuss books. They are amazing.

  11. I haven't read that one yet. It's great that popular authors can influence so many in a good way like that.

  12. Alison, this is one of my favorite books now, but I never read it as a child. Dr. Seuss certainly was ahead of his time in many ways - environmentalism being one of them.

  13. Dr. Seuss completely rocks everything. Wonderful post. I just posted my PB favorites on my blog. Finally making my rounds for the blogfest. I'm following you!

  14. The Lorax is an excellent choice. I love how Dr. Seuss played with language and created his own words. He was capable of giving even the silliest books profound messages that still resonate today.

  15. I LOVE LOVE LOVE The Lorax. In fact, I am such a Seuss fan, in general, that I named my blog after Seuss characters.

  16. I used to think I had read a lot of Dr Seuss but the more I read through this blogfest the more I realise I am sorely mistaken! Must go and catch up on all the missed Seuss books... thanks!