Horton Hears a Who

Book review by
Robyn Raymer, Common Sense Media
Horton Hears a Who Book Poster Image
Parents recommend
A whimsical tale with a stirring message.

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 6 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

One of the villains (an eagle) is named Vlad Vlad-i-koff. In 1954, even liberal Dr. Seuss may have been catering to the notion that Russians were evil.

Violence & Scariness

An eagle drops a dust speck full of tiny people and buildings onto the ground, causing moderate destruction. A gang of monkeys rope Horton and force him into a cage. Horton endures sneering and physical abuse from other animals that think he's crazy.


What parents need to know

Parents need to know that kids will cheer for huge Horton, defender of the small. They'll identify with the spindly little beings of the dust speck, and rail against the sour kangaroo and his monkey henchmen.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bySpiff April 9, 2008
Wonderful story with a great message, but can scare younger kids with Horton being tied up by the monkeys and them threatening to throw the clover into hot beez... Continue reading
Adult Written byArt Isall April 26, 2014

Very Scary!

I was very surprised this did not have a scary rating. There are many scary aspects in this film. The kangaroo is very mean. There is a mob scene that is terrif... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byPoppy From The ... November 26, 2020

Not that good

The plot is confusing and sappy, Vlad Vladaxcough is a racist stereotype, even though the message is about DIVERSITY. It’s just dumb.
Kid, 11 years old February 11, 2020

Good story and all but racist.

The villain, vlad vladacogh is most likely Dr Seuss implying that Russians are evil. The app gets 3 stars from me because there is great voice acting, but here... Continue reading

What's the story?

Horton adopts a petite planet full of perky little persons led by a tiny, gallant mayor. Believing Horton must be crazy to befriend a dust speck, a snooty, meddlesome kangaroo and her gang of monkey roughnecks decide to boil the elephant's microscopic pals in Beezle-Nut oil! Seuss takes readers on a whimsical tale with a stirring message.


Is it any good?

Inside hulking Horton dwells the soul of a gentle, steadfast caretaker, and Seuss uses the elephant's immensity to make a point about taking care of those more vulnerable than ourselves. In one two-page picture, Horton is so huge that there are only a few scraps of blue sky showing. In contrast, the dust speck on the pink clover is bitty indeed. (And if their planet is this tiny, how microscopic are the Whos?) Gigantic-eared Horton hears them all along -- perhaps his compassionate soul acts as a cosmic hearing aid.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Horton's compassion. Why does he feel the need to help small, vulnerable beings? What does this teach us about how to treat others in the real world?

Book details

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