Sunday, March 27, 2016

Book Review: Horton Hears a Who! by Dr. Seuss

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Fun story and characters with a great moral
Cons: None
The Bottom Line:
Horton must defend
A small civilization
Still a great story

“A Person’s a Person No Matter How Small.”

Dr. Seuss released many wonderful books in his long career, but there are a few that are more well-known than the rest.  One of those is Horton Hears a Who!  Rereading it recently, it is easy to see why.

This is actually the second book Dr. Seuss wrote to feature the elephant Horton.  This time around, Horton’s sitting in a pool when he hears a noise coming from a speck of dust blowing by.  It’s a cry for help, so he plucks it out of the air and puts it on a clover to protect it.

However, the other animals around Horton think that he is hearing things.  Rather than leave him alone, they decide to destroy the clover and the speck of dust on it.  Will Horton be able to prove that there are living people who deserve to be protected on that speck?

My brother and I both loved this book as a kid, and I remembered a lot of it when I went to reread it.  It’s easy to root for Horton, especially since we know he is right early on in the book.  Even knowing what is happening, I got caught up in the suspense of Horton proving it when I reread it as an adult, and I remember feeling that way as a kid as well.  This is a good story, and it holds up well years after it was first written.

The book is illustrated in Seuss’s classic cartoony style.  There is nothing like his art work, and you’ll delight in it again here.  While the illustrations usually only have a few colors and are even black and white at times, the detail is always fun.

But what struck me most on this reread is the messages in the book.  The book shows how important it is to stand up for what you believe is true, even if everyone else around you disagrees with you.  It places value on human life.  And it shows how destructive bullies can be.  The best part is, the book does all of this without preaching to us once.  Instead, these morals are all an outflow of the story.  I’m sure I picked up on them as a kid, but the power of them really hit me as an adult.

The story is told in classic Seuss rhyme.  A few times, the rhythm doesn’t seem to work, but I don’t remember noticing that before.  Maybe I just needed to read it aloud.  This isn’t one of Seuss’s easy readers since some of his imaginative words show up here.  While they certainly add to the fun of the story, they would be hard for the easiest readers to sound out correctly.

Horton Hears a Who! really is a classic picture book.  Pick it up for the kid in your life today and enjoy a great tale well told.


  1. Horton Hatches An Egg was one of my very first books and I still have it. Davey's First Christmas was another of my first books.

    1. I don't think I've heard of Davey's First Christmas. Loved Horton Hatches an Egg as a kid as well.