Horton Hatches the Egg
by Dr. Seuss
Horton Hatches the Egg Introduction
In A Nutshell
You've met Horton, we're sure, in a story or two.
Remember the time he heard him a Who?
But before he was Who-ing, Horton was here
Protecting an egg with the use of his rear.
Just to recap, he lives in a jungle.
His elephant life, he sure doesn't bungle.
He gives it all up for a small little egg
The egg's deadbeat mom need not even beg.
Horton Hatches the Egg ('tween his buttocks it nestles)
Through all of the seasons and in all kinds of vessels,
While the little egg's mother, a birdie called Mayzie,
Is up in Palm Beach getting all kinds of crazy.
It seems like a sweet tale 'bout what love is for.
But it might go much deeper, could it be about war?
Dr. Seuss had opinions about joining the force;
To stay out of the way would just make things worse.
Or maybe the story's about who has the right
To parent a child in a custody fight.
No matter the moral, it's certainly clear
That there's more than just birdies and elephants here.
In the year 1940 when Horton came out,
Dr. Seuss made a statement. Now let's figure it out!
Why Should I Care?
In the twenty-first century we've got pregnant men, babies with three biological parents, and twins with two different fathers. Every family is different, and Horton Hatches the Egg celebrates that. But be careful—kids who relate to the egg's situation, especially if they don't have a Horton in their life, might need some extra care with this one.
But why does this book touch us so deeply?
Our answer: because Horton exhibits ultimate kindness in the face of ultimate cruelty. He's duped by Mayzie, ridiculed and abandoned by his friends, kidnapped by hunters, sold to a circus, and mocked by the crowds. But through it all, he remains compassionate and generous. And ultimately, his way—the kind, gentle way—wins people over and earns recognition from everyone around him.
This Seuss masterpiece offers us the perfect way to start conversations about kindness. What is it and how do we embody it? Why is Horton so caring? Does Mayzie deserve kindness? We're pretty sure Horton will help your young readers (and you!) explore these timeless questions.
Why Your Kids Should Care
One word: elephant-bird.
Some kids find this Seuss classic funny, others creepy, others sad. But no self-respecting kid won't thrill at the elephant-bird. It will tease their brains! Challenge their intellects! Make them ask you questions about where babies come from!
When answering that (usually dreaded) question, might we suggest checking out our discussion of "Transformation"? You can start with eggs, which lets you explain one of the most important life lessons: sometimes eggs transform into living creatures, and other times they transform into green eggs and ham.
May the force be with you.