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Horton Hatches the Egg (1940)

by Dr. Seuss

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Horton (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,269562,639 (4.12)62
When a lazy bird hatching an egg wants a vacation, she asks Horton, the elephant, to sit on her egg--which he does through all sorts of hazards until he is rewarded for doing what he said he would.
Recently added byJussoph, GWaters034, private library, Carmelmountain, WRJH, vicks5723, WhitBaughman, aVasquez, Lisajhill, IoneWilliamson
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» See also 62 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 55 (next | show all)
Another classic read from Dr. Seuss! The creativity is a great way to get the reluctant reader to enjoy a good book. ( )
  Oneicia | Oct 9, 2023 |
First sentence:

Sighed Mayzie, a lazy bird hatching an egg:
"I'm tired and I'm bored
And I've kinks in my leg
From sitting, just sitting here day after day.
It's work! How I hate it!
I'd much rather play!
I'd take a vacation, fly off for a rest
If I could find someone to stay on my nest!
If I could find someone, I'd fly away--free..."

Plot/Premise: Mayzie does not want to hatch her own egg. So Horton, the elephant, steps in and does the job for her. It isn't that he loves the work either. But..."an elephant's faithful one-hundred percent!" He said that he'd take care of the egg, and he will. Because he always means what he says and says what he means. He's faithful through and through. What will happen when the egg hatches? Will Horton's steadfastness be rewarded?

My thoughts: I love this one. I do. I have loved this one since childhood. I'm not sure I could choose which Horton book I like best: Horton Hatches an Egg or Horton Hears a Who. Both illustrate great lessons. I don't mind the lessons so much in either one of these!

His previous book, The King's Stilts, was about balancing work and play. And again, we see those themes at work in Horton Hatches An Egg. Mayzie is an incredibly selfish and lazy bird. She tricks the good-hearted Horton into sitting on her nest and hatching her egg. She lies to him as well, promising that she'll only be gone for a short amount of time, she has every intention of coming back soon. Horton is a great contrast. He endures much, suffers much. But he's calm and steadfast. He's diligent and faithful--disciplined.

I never noticed in my childhood HOW LONG Horton is sitting on that egg! At least three--if not all four seasons--go by! That is quite a LONG wait. I don't imagine that it is at all realistic for any species of bird. Of course, it didn't take away the enjoyment of the story.

I love the surprise ending. Do you?

Have you read Horton Hatches An Egg? Did you like it? love it? hate it? Do you prefer it to Horton Hears A Who? Or do you--like me--love both books almost equally? I'd love to hear your thoughts! ( )
  blbooks | Apr 10, 2023 |
A great book for kids learning to read ( )
  Bookslesstravelled | Apr 15, 2022 |
Horton the Elephant is one of the most iconic and honorable characters in children's literature.
  BLTSbraille | Sep 26, 2021 |
I have but to see the cover of this classic picture-book about Horton the elephant for the words "I meant what I said / And I said what I meant... / An elephant's faithful / One hundred per cent!" to float up through my memory. This was a story read to me countless times as a young child, and then read by me countless times, once I gained the ability, and that refrain never fails to elicit a thrill of fellow-feeling and pride. The story of the kindhearted Horton, imposed upon by that lazy Maizie bird, climbing up on to her egg to keep it warm, while she goes on a short "vacation," it features any number of challenges for the titular elephantine hero. Enduring all kinds of weather, suffering the mockery of his friends, standing up to hunters, surviving being carted off to a zoo and made a spectacle of, Horton remains faithful, keeping his word no matter what life throws at him. And when Maizie returns, claiming the egg she had no hand in caring for, something magical happens - the egg hatches an entirely new kind of creature: an elephant bird! This is, the narrative informs us, how it should be...

Originally published in 1940, Horton Hatches the Egg was the first of two picture-books devoted to the doings of the eponymous elephantine hero, followed by Horton Hears a Who, published in 1954. It was the fourth of Dr. Seuss' picture-books to be released, following upon And To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street (1937), The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins (1938) and The King's Stilts (1939). Although a treasured memento of my childhood, I had not picked this book up in years, until prompted by my recently begun Dr. Seuss retrospective, in which I plan to read and review all forty-four of his classic picture-books, in chronological publication order. I launched this project as an act of personal protest against the suppression of six of the author/artist's titles - And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, McElligot's Pool, If I Ran the Zoo, Scrambled Eggs Super!, On Beyond Zebra! and The Cat's Quizzer - by Dr. Seuss Enterprises. See my review of And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, to be found HERE, for a fuller exploration of my thoughts on that matter.

I think that it is here, in Horton Hatches the Egg, that we begin to see the full emergence of Dr. Seuss the wordsmith, as his rhyming text rollicks merrily along, perfectly communicating the story through a perfectly rhythmic text. And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street had some rhyme to it, but it didn't have that seemingly free and easy, effortless feeling that one finds here, in this tale of the faithful Horton, while The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins and The King's Stilts were told entirely in prose. Unlike these three predecessors, this tale of Horton is one that begs to be read aloud, rolling off the tongue in entertaining waves: "There rang out the noisiest ear-splitting squeaks / From the egg that he'd sat on for fifty-one weeks! / A thumping! A bumping! A wild alive scratching! / "My egg!" shouted Horton. "MY EGG! WHY IT'S HATCHING!" The rhyming structure, the use of italics and capitalization - all work together to create a particular rhythm, as one reads. This isn't to say, of course, that the others don't make for a good read-aloud, simply that they don't have that cadence one associates with their celebrated creator.

The proverb that an elephant never forgets is one that predates Seuss by many years, but that genius managed to create something a little different with it, presenting a character who doesn't just remember, whether it be his word or his task, but who is faithful to that word and that task. Someone with a strong sense of honor, and a protective and nurturing attitude to those weaker and more vulnerable than he. In short: the archetype of a great dad! It's interesting to speculate that there might be some message here, not just about keeping one's promises, but about the nature of parenting. Maizie may be the egg's biological parent, but it is Horton who is the adoptive one, doing all of the work of the parent. In real life, adoptive children don't assume the biological qualities of their adoptive parents - nature doesn't really work that way - but Seuss seems to be arguing that they should. Perhaps he is even arguing that they do, if not in body, then in spirit. As I mentioned above, there is a magical quality to this tale, but it is not the magic of fairy-tales or fantasy. It is the magic of justice, something rare enough indeed in the world to be like enchantment, when it finally comes. It should be this way, the narrative tells us, and it would be, the implication seems to be, if the world were a just place...

Just a wonderful, wonderful tale, both well-crafted and well-told, Horton Hatches the Egg is also beautifully and expressively illustrated, in Dr. Seuss' own inimitable cartoon style. One really gets the sense of Horton's emotional ups and downs from the artwork here! I could go on and on, but as my (very rare) five-star rating must make plain: I think that this is a marvelous picture-book, and it is one I would recommend to all readers of that form. I would also recommend it to picture-book readers looking for stories about keeping one's word, and taking care of those in need. ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Mar 17, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 55 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Seuss, Dr.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Crystal, BillyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Miller, MarvinNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Richardson, MirandaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sarfatti, Annasecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stip, Keessecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Viggen, HÃ¥konOvers.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
Sighed Mayzie, a lazy bird hatching an egg: "I'm tired and I'm bored and I've kinks in my leg from sitting, just sitting here day after day."
I meant what I said
And I said what I meant...
An elephant's faithful
One hundred per cent!
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
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Wikipedia in English (2)

When a lazy bird hatching an egg wants a vacation, she asks Horton, the elephant, to sit on her egg--which he does through all sorts of hazards until he is rewarded for doing what he said he would.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
When a lazy bird hatching an egg wants a vacation, she asks Ortone, the elephant, to sit on her egg--which he does through all sorts of hazards until he is rewarded for doing what he said he would.

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