© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
Horton Hears a Who!

Horton Hears a Who!


by Dr. Seuss

Horton Hears a Who! Introduction

In A Nutshell

If you love the outdoors and animals, too,
It's time to pick up Horton Hears a Who!
Horton has mighty big elephant ears.
There isn't a thing that this creature can't hear.

One day he hears from a small speck of dust
A voice calling out, and Horton's nonplussed.
But he's kind so he helps out the little ol' Whos
Despite all the animals' jeers and their boos.

The Wickersham clan is just out for blood
Dragging poor Horton's rep through the mud.
They say that he's crazy and work hard to destroy
The whole of Who-ville—oh boy, what a ploy.

Horton might be 'bout the nasty Red Scare
When we feared a threat that wasn't quite there.
Or maybe it's all about World War II
Or even about me, or hey, maybe you!

In the end, we learn that Horton was right
The Whos do exist, though not in our sight.
The book gives a lesson for one and for all:
"A person's a person, no matter how small!"


Why Should I Care?

You probably remember that oh-so-famous Horton line:

A person's a person, no matter how small.

In the age of bullying (cyber and otherwise), it's probably a good idea to introduce those little munchkins to a character who's not so keen on beating other people up or letting folks talk smack . In Horton Hears a Who!, the giant Horton isn't just out for himself, either; he's intent on protecting his tiny friends, the Whos.

Horton takes on the other bully animals like a boss. He doesn't let them convince him that the Whos aren't real, and he's totally not down with their whole sadistic plan to boil the clover fluff that the Whos live on. Who came up with that idea, anyway? Not cool.

Bottom line: Horton does the dirty work for you, teaching kids that it's not very nice to make fun of (or try to boil alive) folks that aren't just like them.

Why Your Kids Should Care

Newsflash: kids are small.

Horton's mantra—a person's a person, no matter how small—can become your kids' mantra, too. Just watch out: you don't want them shouting that back at you when you tell them they can't go see in the new Die Hard movie because they're too young.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...