Horton Hears a Who



A whimsical tale with a stirring message.
Parents recommend

What parents need to know

Positive messages

One of the villains (an eagle) is named Vlad Vlad-i-koff. In 1954 even liberal 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 is crazy to

Not applicable

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.

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.

Families can talk 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

Author:Dr. Seuss
Illustrator:Dr. Seuss
Genre:For Beginning Readers
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Random House
Publication date:August 12, 1954
Number of pages:64
Publisher's recommended age(s):4 - 7

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written byrickydoo85 April 9, 2008
Parent 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 terrifying to my 5 year old. He is very sensitive but this movie had some really scary parts. I like the overall story and it is interesting, but if you have kids sensitive to movies then this is a definite "too scary" one.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Kid, 8 years old March 18, 2012

Horton is a hero...

And is nice to others!
What other families should know
Great role models


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