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The Lorax: The original art of children’s book author Dr. Seuss at Joslyn Art Museum
“Way back in the days when the grass was green . . . “ from The Lorax; pencil and crayon on tracing paper; Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library; TM & ©Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P. All Rights Reserved.
OMAHA, NE.- 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.

The Lorax is on view in Joslyn’s Mind’s Eye Gallery and admission is free. In-gallery reading copies of The Lorax are available. The Lorax, and other Dr. Seuss titles, are available for purchase in Joslyn’s Hitchcock Museum Shop (open during all regular Museum hours).



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