Book Review: Horton Hatches the Egg

Kunk Fu Zoby Kung Fu Zu6/20/15
By Dr. Seuss  •  “The country has gone to hell”, is a lament often made by not only conservatives, but others who wonder how the United States has sunk to the depravity of reality TV, the Kardashians and Bruce Jenner. There are, no doubt, manifold reasons for this decline, but I believe one of the more important reasons for the low state in which we find ourselves is the lack of proper moral education of children. Too many parents have left this to the schools, which are often controlled by those who believe there are no permanent morals and think all lifestyle choices are valid.

We have a huge problem, but a small corrective might be for parents to spend more time reading to and with their children. Of course, in order to teach moral lessons from books, it is necessary to start with moral books. With this in mind, I wish to recommend to parents, grandparents and readers in general one of the best books I have every read. “Horton Hatches the Egg”.

The book starts with the lazy bird Mayzie lamenting her situation i.e. having to sit on her egg.

“I’m tired and I’m bored

And I’ve kinks in my leg

From sitting, just sitting here day after day”

Poor Mayzie, there she is alone sitting on her egg. Presumably, the father has flown the coup thus mama has limited prospects. But in her moment of despair good old Horton passes by.

It would be hard to think of a less ideal candidate for egg hatching than an elephant. But being less concerned with her egg’s well being and more concerned about getting away, Mayzie starts sweet talking Horton.

Horton protests,

“Why of all silly things!

I haven’t feathers and I haven’t wings.

Me on your egg? Why, that doesn’t make sense…

Your egg is so small, ma’am, and I’m so immense!” 

But Mayzie knows her pachyderm and convinces Horton with a final plea,

“Please!” begged the bird.

I won’t be gone long, sir. I give you my word.

I’ll hurry right back. Why, I’ll never be missed.”

Poor naïve’ good hearted Horton gives in promising,

You want a vacation. Go fly off and take it. 

I’ll sit on your egg and I’ll try not to break it. 

I’ll stay and be faithful. I mean what I say.

and Mayzie is gone before you can say, “so long sucker.”

Being a responsible sort, Horton survey’s the situation and takes the proper measures to insure the egg is not damaged while in his care. He then shinnies up the tree and sits on the egg to await Mayzie’s return. And he waits, and waits, ands waits……But of course, by this time Mayzie has decided that she is enjoying herself too much to go back and sit on an egg.

So there Horton sits day and night, through freezing weather, though mocked by his friends. But he stays on that egg and recalls his promise to Mayzie,

I meant what I said 

And I said what I meant….

An elephant’s faithful

One hundred percent!

And on Horton sits, until discovered by hunters who are amazed at the sight of an elephant in a tree. They take him, still in the tree, to American and sell him to a circus, which travels from town to town selling tickets to see him at “ten cents a peek.” And through these vicissitudes Horton remains true. During all the excitement, sea-sickness, change, discomfort and embarrassment, Horton comforts himself by recalling his pledge,

I meant what I said, and I said what I meant…

An elephant’s faithful-one hundred percent

Then one day the circus visits Palm Beach where Mayzie has taken up residence. While flying around, she notices the circus and decides to have a look. And as she “swooped from the clouds through an open tent door”, who did she see but poor Horton in the tree sitting on her egg.  Both Horton and she are shocked, and before either could say a word, the egg starts to hatch.  Horton gets excited and says, “My egg!…My EGG! WHY IT’S HATCHING.”

As one might expect, now that the work is done and the egg is about to hatch, Mayzie asserts her “rights”. “But it’s MINE!” screams Mayzie, claiming Horton had stolen it. She tells poor Horton to beat it and get out of “her” tree.

Heartbroken, Horton begins to climb down,

“But at that very instant, the egg burst apart!

And out of the pieces of red and white shell, 

From the egg that he’d sat on so long and so well, 

Horton the Elephant saw something whizz!

IT HAD EARS, AND A TAIL, AND A TRUNK JUST LIKE HIS!”  

Then the crowd,

“..cheered and they cheered and they CHEERED more and more.

They’d never seen anything like it before!

 “My goodness! My gracious! they shouted. MY WORD!

IT’S AN ELEPHANT BIRD

Horton is duly rewarded for his fidelity when the book closes,

And it should be, it should be, it SHOULD be like that!

Because Horton was faithful! He sat and he sat!

He meant what he said and he said what he meant…

….And they sent him home Happy, One hundred percent!

This is a wonderful book. Not only does it teach important lessons, it does so in a fun way. It is especially the case if the reader gives the various characters different voices. Can anyone think of a better way to catch and maintain a child’s attention while at the same time imparting some of life’s lessons?  There will always be Mayzie’s in the world. That is pretty much the human condition. Even so, or perhaps because there are so many Mayzies, we must always try to raise more Hortons.

And Brad, I hope your brother is rewarded just like Horton. • (821 views)

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6 Responses to Book Review: Horton Hatches the Egg

  1. Anniel says:

    Master Kung Fu, I remember well all of my children loving Horton and how we talked about “Lazy Mayzie.” Brings back great memories. Maybe our children have to grow up before we appreciate them. But, as young as he was, the Untermensch was a little miffed at the idea of breeding not running true, although he was good natured about it.

  2. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    the Untermensch was a little miffed at the idea of breeding not running true, although he was good natured about it.

    We sometimes have to give into flights of fancy and assume things take place through a sort of osmosis.

  3. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    And Brad, I hope your brother is rewarded just like Horton

    Thanks, Mr. Kung. Let’s hope so, although I eventually think he’ll find “No good deed goes unpunished.” I don’t think they’ll eventually adopt him because I think adopting two children would just be too much. But we’ll see. They’ve grown attached.

    We had a little pancake Father’s Day breakfast yesterday — an outdoor affair over a brick fireplace where I made hotcakes and sausages for everyone (not a large crowd). Little Horton was there and my older brother told me that as soon as he heard he was going to Uncle Brad’s house (it was at my mother’s house, actually) that he got in the back of their car and sat there for an hour. I don’t know if he’s exaggerating or not, but clearly the words (which I said to him upon picking him up yesterday) “Free at last, free at last, thank the lord you’re free at last” were perhaps lost on him but not the fact that he was no long surrounded by drug-addled parents who would rather get high than tend to their child.

    Come what may, those days are over. And never from my lips will you hear an apologist for dope-heads, the drug culture, or some of the insane libertarian ideas of what “freedom” constitutes. This child is free now only because of restraints we have adopted, voluntarily or otherwise.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      an outdoor affair over a brick fireplace where I made hotcakes and sausages for everyone

      Oh I wish I had been there. Just a week or two back I was talking to my wife how nice barbecue pancakes might taste.

      Snap, on Libertarians. They seem to be oblivious to the damage their irresponsible behavior can wreak. How it damages children has been one of my main concerns in this regard. That is why I tell these geniuses that if they wish to live in a Libertarian community they simply have to move into one of the large urban centers such as Baltimore, South Chicago, etc., etc.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Everyone talks about “the social fabric,” but few know what it is. It’s the set of rules, morals, ideas, and beliefs that keep us civilized and more or less cooperating in a happy and productive way.

        This is the ultimate lesson of “Horton Hatches the Egg.” Wholesome, creative stories forward the notion of the civil society. The punks, liberals, libertarians, and ne’er-do-wells who have been indoctrinated into the “not that” culture (the culture of eternal deconstructionism, sarcasm, and cynicism) believe that via subtraction we can produce the good society. Not those Christian values. Not those civil criminal laws. Not those constraints on bad taste. And on and on.

        And this attitude has gotten us right to where we are heading and very close to: the Uncivil Society. And by “uncivil” I don’t mean impolite. I mean a society whereby fellow members in that society are not seen as fellows but as inconvenient, if not dangerous, competitors and predators. And that is what we are becoming. Vagrancy, for example, is exploding…if not in the amount of people living in cardboard boxes under bridges than at least in the vagrant attitude wherein anyone’s property is their own, you can piss on anything you want, and you see all others as targets…there only to fulfill your momentary need.

        I had some white chick come to my door this morning. I had just gotten to work and some 20-something came knocking on my door saying she needed to borrow my phone. St. Francis may have bent over backwards for “the poor” but I do not. I do not trust vagrants or those who appear out of the blue asking for help. I assume they are scamming me. And I told her so. I said she could not come inside to use my phone because it seemed to have become a common practice for people to stop by and just “need to use the phone or bathroom.” And whether such people are harmless vagrants, people in genuine need, or people scoping out the place with the purpose to rob it later is difficult to tell.

        I kept her outside and let her borrow my cell phone. She dialed and said whoever she was trying to call wasn’t answering. Then she left. And I don’t know whether she was playing a game or not, but in this day and age where vicious and immoral behavior is not just tolerated but rewarded, I believe we have reached the point where the default expectation is to be suspicious of one’s fellow citizen (and I assume many I see are, in fact, not citizens).

        What we have inculcated in this country is a nation of moochers and thieves (in various forms). Libertarianism is not the answer to that, if only because of its refusal to understand that some restraints are absolutely necessary. Original sin, for the libertarian, was the first institution of the government wherein someone told someone else what they could or couldn’t do.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          This sort of distrust is one of the poisonous consequences of the destruction of non-government institutions by modern liberalism. It leads people to retreat into enclaves consisting of family and close friends, and to doubt everyone else. Such a society is moribund in the long run, because some degree of trust is necessary to lubricate relations with other people.

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