The colorful drawings of The Lorax combine with the playful language characteristic of Dr. Seuss to communicate a serious message to readers about the environmental dangers of overdevelopment.
The Lorax is a creature who is described as the protector of the trees in a small town. The role of the Lorax suggests that the trees need protection from something threatening. This threat comes in human form: a greedy developer named the Once-ler.
From the start, the Once-ler admires the beautiful trees, but he chops them down in order to build a shop with their wood. In the book, just as in real life, financial gain takes place at the expense of nature, much to the anguish of environmentalists everywhere.
Though the message of the book is serious, the ending of The Lorax is optimistic, especially when the Once-ler and the boy plant the last seed in order to re-grow the trees that have been cut down. The positivity of this message depends on the Once-ler's recognition that nature deserves more respect.