The Lorax by Dr Seuss (Harper Collins, £6.99)

The Lorax was first published in 1971. But in recent years, unsurprisingly, it has been taken up by the environmental movement as a cautionary tale, as relevant now as it was in the 1970s.

We meet the 'Once-ler' who, like the Ancient Mariner, is compelled by guilt into re-telling his tale. The book starts among dark colours, as it describes the desolate place in which the Once-ler now lives. Colour and life burst on to the page next, as he describes the land as he first found it, replete with Truffula trees and an abundance of animals.

The Once-ler settled in this paradise and invented the 'Thneed', a 'fine-something-that-all-people-need' made from chopping down a Truffula tree. As soon as the first thneed sells, so begins the mass consumerism, the building of factories, the arrival of more people, the laying of roads and the polluting of the rivers, 'glumping' the pond and the air with 'smogulous smoke'.

At each stage the Lorax appears, to beg for a halt to this activity, but is pointedly ignored. The Lorax speaks for the trees and animals that have no voice. Finally even the Lorax is forced to leave and then the final tree is chopped down and the whole enterprise dies. The Once-ler is now left alone, surrounded by the desolation he has caused.

However this is a children’s book so it ends on a hopeful note. The hope is in the reader ('someone like you') who will go forth and plant a new Truffula tree from the final Truffula seed and protect it and nurture it and learn lessons from the Once-ler.

So let’s pass this book onto a new generation and live in hope, because we should all 'care a whole awful lot'.

Philippa Morris