by Dr. Seuss
The Lorax Writing Style
Vivid, Surprising, and Rhymed
To make his rhymes surprising, Dr. Seuss sprinkles many-a-Seussism into his poetry. Take this example… please.
He lurks in his Lerkim, cold under his roof,
where he makes his own clothes
out of miff-muffered moof. (20-22)
Somehow, made-up words for made-up things—like "miff-muffered moof"—are just as easy to understand as the ordinary words we use all the time, like "he" and "of" and "cold." Even though we have no idea what moof might be, let alone miff-muffered moof, we can picture it perfectly in our heads.
These rhymes are so vivid, they almost feel… alive. Seuss engages all of our senses with concrete imagery. For example, we can smell the "slow-sour" (3) wind that used to be full of the "butterfly milk" (78) smell of Truffula Tufts. We even can feel the "crummies" (160) in the tummies of the Brown Bar-ba-loots.
Speaking of crummies, what's up with this word? It's a Seussism, sure, but it has a real-word etymology. Like "biggering." That's right, the verb form of the adjective bigger: the act of making something bigger. What will your little one do with these words?
By Seuss, It Rhymes
Dr. Seuss really mixes things up in the rhyme department. Sometimes, every other line in a stanza rhymes. Just as often, all the lines in a stanza rhyme. It's true:
And, under the trees, I saw Brown Bar-ba-loots
frisking about in their Bar-ba-loot suits
as they played in the shade and ate Truffula Fruits. (64-66)
The rhyme game is loads of fun to play with your little ones. What rhymes with Seuss? What rhymes with Shmoop? What rhymes with miff-muffered moof?
Speaking of speaking (were we?), this book absolutely needs to be read out loud. Not only do we have lots of italics, exclamation points, and capitalized words to cue us, but we're even given clues on how to do the voices. For example, when you do the Once-ler, make sure you stuff bees up your nose (50). For the Lorax, just inhale some sawdust so you'll get the proper sneezy, wheezy effect.