Getting Crafty for Dr. Seuss Week

Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Library

Getting Crafty for Dr. Seuss Week

Catalog entry for The LoraxDid you know that we're celebrating Dr. Seuss all week at DC Public Library? All around the city, libraries are hosting story times, crafts and programs to commemorate the work of this highly imaginative, alliterative author.

Theodor Seuss Geisel was born on March 2, 1904, in Springfield, Mass. During his childhood, Geisel's mother, Henrietta, would often chant rhymes for him and his sister at bedtime. It's said that Geisel credits his mother for sparking his desire and ability to create the rhymes he is famously known for today.

At Watha T. Daniel Library, we got a head-start on the week of festivities by reading Dr. Seuss books at our Saturday story time, followed by making Truffula Trees for our weekly craft activity.

Even if you've never heard of a Truffula Tree, you've likely seen one if you've read a few Dr. Seuss books. Look at the book cover (above left) and you'll see the Truffula Tree is kind of like a psychedelic palm with a spindly, branchless, yellow-and-black trunk. Instead of leaves, a big, brightly colored tuft sits at the top.

Our tree-making craft was inspired by The Lorax, Dr. Seuss's controversial, bleak fable that shows how industrialism can ruin the environment. The title character is a furry, mustachioed, man-like creature that lives in a Truffula-studded oasis along with other animals. Everyone flourishes in this "glorious place," until somebody called the Once-ler comes along. This faceless individual (meant to represent big business) is in awe of the trees. But instead of taking a picture, the Once-ler begins to chop down the Truffulas for their silken tufts and use them to manufacture ridiculous, multi-armed sweater-things called Thneeds (I couldn't help but think of a Snuggie when I read this).

As the voice for the Truffula Trees and all the animals, the Lorax, an understandably cantankerous creature, relentlessly tells the Once-ler that he is doing great damage, filling the air with "smogulous smoke" and the water with "Gluppity-Glupp." The Once-ler, unsurprisingly, is uninterested, to the ultimate detriment of the Lorax and his friends.

We created our Truffula Trees from a brilliant tutorial featured on the Web site of Craft Jr. To make yours, you'll need:

  • Yellow and black pipe cleaners, or striped pipe cleaners (available at various craft stores and teacher supply stores)
  • Four pompoms in various colors and sizes if you like
  • Green Play-Doh; or you can make your own clay
  • A square of tissue paper for the base
  • Craft glue (holds better than basic school glue) or hot glue

Take a yellow and a black pipe cleaner and clip them into four segments (you should have pairs of yellow and black pipe cleaners that are the same length). Twist the pairs together--now you have the trunks of your Truffula Trees

Squeeze a glob of glue onto your four pompoms, or pour some glue out so the children can dip the ends of their pipe cleaners into the glue. Stuff a pompom on the end of each of your pipe cleaners.

We were out of clay, so we used wooden spools as the base for our trees; however, using clay makes it easier to keep your trees upright.

Don't forget to check out the other Dr. Seuss activities at DC Public Library this week!