The Next Dr. Seuss Movie: 'The Lorax' An adaptation of the Dr. Seuss book The Lorax is in the works. It's an obvious idea in some ways, but a very challenging one in others.

The Next Dr. Seuss Movie: 'The Lorax'

The cover of Dr. Seuss's 'The Lorax'

The Dr. Seuss environmental cautionary tale The Lorax is being made into a 3D animated film to be released in 2012, according to Variety.

Choosing this book as source material makes a lot of sense, given the enthusiasm kids often have for environmental themes (one of my dear friends reported recently that his four-year-old, wanting not to be tickled anymore, protested, "Don't tickle's bad for the environment!"). The writers, Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio, also wrote the 2008 version of Horton Hears A Who, which was a perfectly respectable adaptation, given the difficulty of taking a little book and trying to make it into a feature-length movie.

There are multiple layers of irony to sort through in the notion of a gargantuan, expensive Hollywood production mounted to tell a story that rests on its grave reservations about consumerism and industrialization. But WALL-E struck some of these same notes, certainly, and as you may have heard, that one did all right.

One of the big questions, it would seem, will be how to treat the book's rather bleak, tiny-ray-of-hope ending. "Only you can prevent this post-manufacturing dystopia" is a hard message to put on a Happy Meal, and nothing will bring down the wrath of devoted Seussians faster than ending the movie with a lush, regrown forest of Truffula trees or a production number in which all the animals return, hand in hand, singing about how it's great to see your old pals again. It's not going to be an easy balance to strike between palatability and preservation of the point.