Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Fun story told with great rhymes and illustrations
The Bottom Line:
Elephant and egg
Fun premise, great picture book
Still great read today
“An Elephant’s Faithful One Hundred Percent”
Dr. Seuss created a few very memorable characters over the course of his many picture books, and Horton the elephant is certainly one of them. He made his first appearance in Horton Hatches the Egg. I loved this book as a kid, and I find it holds up just as well now.
One day Horton stumbles upon Mayzie, a bird trying to hatch an egg. Mayzie is ready for a vacation, so Horton agrees to keep her egg warm. However, Mayzie has no intention of coming back, but instead enjoy a permanent trip to sunnier realms. Will Horton stay on the egg? What will he face while he does?
It’s always nice to find a childhood favorite that stands the test of time, and this book does that splendidly. Yes, as an adult, I did have to question just how long it took Horton to hatch the egg, but it just makes for a better story. None of the complications last very long, this is a picture book after all, but there is some fun and imagination at work in the story. Horton is a great characters, and it’s easy to like him. Plus we get a great moral about sticking to your word, something that comes about naturally from the story.
Dr. Seuss was a marvelous illustrator as well. This book is filled with his pen and ink illustrations. Most have minimal color, but they are still great to look at. They really capture the humor in an elephant sitting in a tree on a nest and a few of the other things that happen along the way. And the pictures at the climax really sell the story.
And this story is told in classic Seuss rhyme. The cadence is perfect for reading aloud, and the amount of words on a page isn’t overwhelming. It should keep those with short attention spans entertained.
While this book isn’t usually classified as one of Seuss’s easy reader books, I’d argue it could be. It’s not quite as simple as Green Eggs and Ham, but most of the words are easy enough. This might not be a good book for very beginning readers, but I think a young reader who is ready for something slightly more challenging will do great at this book with an adult to help them read the very few harder words.
And so I recommend Horton Hatches the Egg. It’s just as much fun now as it was when I read it as a child and when Dr. Seuss first wrote it 75 years ago.