The Once-ler is a recluse who lives on top of his clothing store, making his own clothes out of "miff-muffered moof" (21).
(Fun with the letter M! You could use this moment to practice some alliteration with your youngster, using real or made-up words that start with M. Mmm…)
The Once-ler does occasionally talk to people, but only on "special dank midnights in August." (Setting clue: we're guessing it's midnight in August. Uh oh. The boy seems to have evaded parental supervision, or his parents don't mind him traipsing around at all hours of the dark night.)
The boy finds the Once-ler, but he'll have to do more than ask if he wants to pry the secrets from this mystery man.
Yep, to spill the story of the Lorax, the Once-ler requires cold hard cash (fifteen cents) and a cold hard nail, and a cold hard snail shell.
Once the currency's all counted, the Once-ler drops his super-secure "Whisper-ma-Phone" down to the boy.
The reception is pretty bad since the Once-ler has yet to upgrade his service. He still relies on the standard "snergelly hose" service, where the sound is delivered via—you guessed it—snergelly hose.