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Horton Hears a Who! Hardcover – August 12, 1954
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But after we read it, we talk about the concepts behind it, how "a person's a person, no matter how small", and how Horton realizes the inherent dignity in all life, regardless of whether or not it fits into our commonly held conceptions. This book allows me to open up discussions on race, and religion, and the external aspects of persons, and how often we judge people (sometimes unfairly) based on how they look, rather than on their actions.
I highly recommend this book for any schoolchild and parent to read together, reveling in the language and fun, and then use as a stepping stone to further discussions about life and personhood.
During the early 1950's the results of the Marshall Plan were still unclear, and Americans, who had just fought a fierce war with Japan and Germany in the decade before, were debating whether or not to continue with our aid, protection and reconstruction programs. The programs were designed to give our defeated foes a chance to rebuild. They were a brave new experiment. An effort to avoid punishing the populous for its bad leadership. Also, for the first time in history, and effort to love your enemy, in the hopes of making them your friend forever.
Many Americans viewed the Germans and Japanese with disdain. They were calling for an end to aid for a variety of reasons, most of which are touched upon in the book.
Despite his racially charged characterizations of the Japanese *during* the war, Dr. Seuss was coming to terms with the fact that the general populations of Germany and Japan were additional victoms of the war - simply leftover pawns in a terrible game.
Seuss wrote this book in an effort to get the word out that, despite differences past and present, we should try to care about one another just the same.
"the Whos down in Whoville on top of that little speck are people,regardless of race,creed-or size!"
Dr. Seuss was compelled by the helplessness of these devestated nations, and was issuing an appeal for everyone to start looking at nations as a collection of real people, rather than as a monolithic "other".
The action starts when a rather kind and sensitive elephant named Horton is taking a bath in the jungle where he lives. Soon he hears a faint sound and he discovers the sound comes from a tiny group of people living on nothing much wider than a dust puff or (at most) a clover. They tell Horton that they need his help to protect themselves. When the kangaroo and the other creatures of the jungle find out that Horton thinks he's communicating with a dust puff, they ridicule him and refuse to even consider the possibility that Horton could be right. They eventually enlist the eagle to get rid of the dust puff.
Of course, from here the plot could go anywhere. Will Horton find the dust puff and be able to help the people of this tiny civilization get a better quality of life for themselves? Will the eagle throw the dust puff so far away that Horton can never find it again? Read the book and find out!
The illustrations are terrific and the prose is very well written with a lot of rhyming so typical of a Dr. Seuss book.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Building my Dr. Seuss collection for the grand kids who LLLLLLOVE his books!Published 17 days ago by Kimberly Reckles
really violent. they talk about mauling, and beating the elephant because he believes there are people on his spec of dust. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Absolute classic love this book. Me and my 2 year old sit down and read it together all of the time. I absolutely loved these growing up and now my son can enjoy them too!Published 1 month ago by R . S