Picture Books From the Past: Horton Hears a Who!


“On the fifteenth of May, in the Jungle of Nool…”

Horton the elephant is just minding his own business when suddenly he hears a cry for help! from a tiny speck of dust. He is shocked to find that a small person is speaking to him. A sour kangaroo scoffs at Horton, not believing that there could ever be a person let alone a whole town living on such a tiny speck of dust. But Horton stands firm and protects his tiny friends from the teasing animals in the Jungle of Nool. One day the other animals can’t stand it any longer that Horton insists on protecting these people he can’t even see. The other animals steal the small speck of dust and Horton will do anything to get it back and save the little town of Whos. Through Horton’s valiant efforts we see that one person really can make a difference.

This classic, children’s picture book from 1954 still manages to
dazzle audiences of all ages. With a dynamic plot and even more dynamic illustrations, Dr. Seuss addresses pivotal issues still relevant in society today. Horton Hears a Who teaches children to value others’ perspectives and to recognize that all people should be treated equally. Horton says it best when he states,

“A person’s a person,

no matter how small.”

Though the illustrations are comprised of only three colors, their dynamic and multidimensional aspects still engage the reader. The timeless rhythm and rhyme of Dr. Seuss’ text carries the reader through the story without imposing on the illustrated narrative. For younger children, this book can be used to subtly familiarize them with time and numbers.

“And at 6:56 the next morning he did it.”

Horton Hears a Who
playfully incorporates differing sizes of text and “zooms” in and out from the Whos’ world to Horton’s to illustrate differing visual perspectives. To see a modern animated film interpretation, look below for the movie trailer directed by Jimmy Hayward and Steve Martino.

Happy Reading!
-Maryphyllis Crean and Jill Dona

One response »

  1. Maryphyllis and Jill. Great job with this review. This book although a blast from the past is given a new life through this wonderful review. The themes about treating everyone equal, and believing in yourself are very important and I appreciated the fact that you mentioned them in your post. I also appreciate the time you took to design this blog post. The coloring of the letters in your text reflects the simple yet striking illustrations in the books itself, which creates a fun and attractive read. Again good job 🙂

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