Horton Hatches the Egg

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Illus. in color by the author. It's the talk of the jungle when an elephant hatches an egg. Extravagant nonsense and rollicking verse.

It's the talk of the jungle when an elephant hatches an egg. Extravagant nonsense and rollicking verse. Full-color illustrations.

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Illus. in color by the author. It's the talk of the jungle when an elephant hatches an egg. Extravagant nonsense and rollicking verse.

It's the talk of the jungle when an elephant hatches an egg. Extravagant nonsense and rollicking verse. Full-color illustrations.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Dr. Seuss, pseudonym for Theodor Seuss Geisel, is world renowned for his inventiveness and wit. His stories are instantly recognizable by their use of fantastic words, clever rhymes, and unusual creatures-drawn in his distinctive style.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780394800776
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 10/28/1940
  • Series: Classic Seuss Series
  • Pages: 64
  • Sales rank: 32,049
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: 460L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.26 (w) x 11.28 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

THEODOR SEUSS GEISEL—aka Dr. Seuss—is one of the most beloved children’s book authors of all time. From The Cat in the Hat to Oh, the Places You’ll Go!, his iconic characters, stories, and art style have been a lasting influence on generations of children and adults. The books he wrote and illustrated under the name Dr. Seuss (and others that he wrote but did not illustrate, including some under the pseudonyms Theo. LeSieg and Rosetta Stone) have been translated into thirty languages. Hundreds of millions of copies have found their way into homes and hearts around the world. Dr. Seuss’s long list of awards includes Caldecott Honors for McElligot’s Pool, If I Ran the Zoo, and Bartholomew and the Oobleck, the Pulitzer Prize, and eight honorary doctorates. Works based on his original stories have won three Oscars, three Emmys, three Grammys, and a Peabody.


Now that generations of readers have been reared on The Cat in the Hat and Fox in Socks, it's easy to forget how colorless most children's books were before Dr. Seuss reinvented the genre. When the editorial cartoonist Theodor Seuss Geisel wrote And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street in 1936, the book was turned down by 27 publishers, many of whom said it was "too different." Geisel was about to burn his manuscript when it was rescued and published, under the pen name Dr. Seuss, by a college classmate.

Over the next two decades, Geisel concocted such delightfully loopy tales as The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins and Horton Hears a Who. Most of his books earned excellent reviews, and three received Caldecott Honor Awards. But it was the 1957 publication of The Cat in the Hat that catapulted Geisel to celebrity.

Rudolf Flesch's book Why Johnny Can't Read, along with a related Life magazine article, had recently charged that children's primers were too pallid and bland to inspire an interest in reading. The Cat in the Hat, written with 220 words from a first-grade vocabulary list, "worked like a karate chop on the weary little world of Dick, Jane and Spot," as Ellen Goodman wrote in The Detroit Free Press. With its vivid illustrations, rhyming text and topsy-turvy plot, Geisel's book for beginning readers was anything but bland. It sold nearly a million copies within three years.

Geisel was named president of Beginner Books, a new venture of Random House, where he worked with writers and artists like P.D. Eastman, Michael Frith, Al Perkins, and Roy McKie, some of whom collaborated with him on book projects. For books he wrote but didn't illustrate, Geisel used the pen name Theo LeSieg (LeSieg is Geisel spelled backwards).

As Dr. Seuss, he continued to write bestsellers. Some, like Green Eggs and Ham and the tongue-twisting Fox in Socks, were aimed at beginning readers. Others could be read by older children or read aloud by parents, who were often as captivated as their kids by Geisel's wit and imagination. Geisel's visual style appealed to television and film directors, too: The animator Chuck Jones, who had worked with Geisel on a series of Army training films, brought How the Grinch Stole Christmas! to life as a hugely popular animated TV special in 1966. A live-action movie starring Jim Carrey as the Grinch was released in 2000.

Many Dr. Seuss stories have serious undertones: The Butter Battle Book, for example, parodies the nuclear arms race. But whether he was teaching vocabulary words or values, Geisel never wrote plodding lesson books. All his stories are animated by a lively sense of visual and verbal play. At the time of his death in 1991, his books had sold more than 200 million copies. Bennett Cerf, Geisel's publisher, liked to say that of all the distinguished authors he had worked with, only one was a genius: Dr. Seuss.

Good To Know

The Cat in the Hat was written at the urging of editor William Spaulding, who insisted that a book for first-graders should have no more than 225 words. Later, Bennett Cerf bet Geisel $50 that he couldn't write a book with just 50 words. Geisel won the bet with Green Eggs and Ham, though to his recollection, Cerf never paid him the $50.

Geisel faced another challenge in 1974, when his friend Art Buchwald dared him to write a political book. Geisel picked up a copy of Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now! and a pen, crossed out each mention of the name "Marvin K. Mooney," and replaced it with "Richard M. Nixon." Buchwald reprinted the results in his syndicated column. Nine days later, President Nixon announced his resignation.

The American Heritage Dictionary says the word "nerd" first appeared in print in the Dr. Seuss book If I Ran the Zoo: "And then, just to show them, I'll sail to Ka-Troo / And bring back an It-Kutch a Preep and a Proo / A Nerkle a Nerd and a Seersucker, too!" The word "grinch," after the title character in How the Grinch Stole Christmas, is defined in Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary as a killjoy or spoilsport.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Theodor Seuss Geisel (full name); also: Theo LeSieg, Rosetta Stone
    1. Date of Birth:
      March 2, 1904
    2. Place of Birth:
      Springfield, Massachusetts
    1. Date of Death:
      September 4, 1991
    2. Place of Death:
      La Jolla, California

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 12 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 11, 2013

    ¿Horton hatches the egg¿ is a short children¿s story by Dr. Seu

    “Horton hatches the egg” is a short children’s story by Dr. Seuss (1904-1991), aka. Theodore Seuss Geisel, a famous writer who is widely known for his cartoon children’s books, many of which have been made into cartoons or movies. Dr. Seuss’ story is set in an undisclosed part of the African jungle and based off of the visual illustrations the time frame is in the early 1900’s. The major goal of the story is to take an over the top, humorous scenario and teach a lesson to children. A lesson that being trustworthy to people even when they are not honest with you and having perseverance especially when things get hard will pay off in the end.
    Absurd concepts, like of an elephant nurturing an egg in a tree for a bird is completely ridiculous, are one of the ways that Dr. Seuss usually keeps the attention of his audience, short attention spanned children, and “Horton hatches the egg” is no exception. The story starts by introducing the lazy bird Mayzie, who is tired of tending her egg. She, by use of sly words and guilt, gets the trusting and a slightly gullible elephant, Horton, to sit on her egg in the nest in her tree by telling him she’ll be back quick and just needs a short break. Horton’s loyalty to the egg and his promise to not abandon it are put to the test when he is run through many trials. One thing that makes this book so relatable is that Horton’s trials are easily compared to everyday life, with harsh weather like rain, sleet and bitter cold, peer pressure that every child will undergo and imminent danger that is becoming more common as the years pass by. In spite of being dragged to a different continent and sold into slavery for the amusement of others, Horton the elephant “…meant what he said and said what he meant, an elephant is faithful one hundred percent.” (Seuss, 1940) Even when confronted by Mayzie in the end of the book he kept up his end of the bargain and humbly gave the egg back right before it hatched, only to be rewarded with the most wonderful reward an elephant could get (which you’ll have to read to find out what it is). SPOILER ALERT! The reward is that an elephant bird that looks like Horton emerges from the egg instead of a normal bird that looks like Mayzie.
    Dr. Seuss’, “Horton Hatches an Egg” is a must read, especially if you have children, and even if you don’t. His clever rhyming is schemes and use of words will keep your child’s mind active. The story plot although a little outrageous gives parents a good stepping stone to talk to their kids about being trustworthy, faithful and hard working, as well as some of the difficulties that they may face throughout their life and how to deal with them. I have added this book to my child’s repertoire of books for its easy read, fun illustrations and the timeless lessons held within. I highly recommend this book too people of all ages.

    Seuss, D. (1940). Horton hatches the egg. New York, NY: Random House.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2001

    This is a great book!

    This is a great book and when I read it,it made me laugh.I think you should read it too.It was funny to think an elephant could hatch an egg.I enjoyed this book and I hope you will too.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2000

    Sooo heartfelt!!!

    This book is sooo cute!!! It's the story of a good natured kind elephant who helps a selfish bird...the end is the best though, read it for yourself!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 22, 2013

    I read this to my son when he was three years old and explained

    I read this to my son when he was three years old and explained to him that the egg became an elephant-bird because Horton took care of the egg and became the egg's daddy. I explained that human's often did the same thing with human babies. He looked at me and said "We should do that." We thought about it and agreed that we should find a baby who needed to be taken care of. Horton made our family complete. I've always thought Horton Hatches the Egg was more an argument for adoption than anything else.

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  • Posted February 28, 2012

    I meant what I said and I said what I meant - My daughter and I love this book -100%

    Not only is this a fun story with wonderful rhymes, but it also teaches some great lessons to little ones. Lessons like being faithful and keeping your word, being kind and not making fun of friends, and my favorite - hard work will be worth it in the end.

    Horton Hatches the Egg is one of my favorite classic Dr Seuss books, and now my little girl is falling in love with it too. After a holiday visit with family, and reading this with her cousins, my toddler asked for her own copy which I was happy to make happen. Now it is part of our night time/ bed time ritual... I forgot how useful rhyming and rhythmic stories are for getting the little one to sleep at night.

    this is definitely a keeper and a book that every parent should have in their library.

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  • Posted January 26, 2012

    more from this reviewer


    This one doesn't share the same kind of flair that came with Horton Hears a Who!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 26, 2011

    more from this reviewer


    Since I was a younger I have always been a fan on Dr.Seuss's books and I enjoyed being read to. Although there isn't a universal moral to this story, it does have a theme and great ideas. Children love the goofy pictures and silly rhymes . Overall, this book is a keeper and worthy of passing down from generation to generation. I definitely recommend it for elementary readers, teacher, and parents.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2002

    Wonderful Memories

    I have had the best memories of my dad reciting this to us kids, and I plan to do the same for my own. It is a wonderful book that all kids should hear.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2001

    Horton's egg is wholarious

    I love this story, because it makes the most unlikliest person very responsible. Mayzie, the lazy bird is cold hearted from beginning to end, and in the end Horton really hears a who from the hatchling.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2001

    Virtue Earns a Reward!

    This book clearly deserves more than five stars! Horton Hatches the Egg is one of my very favorite children's books. The story opens with Mayzie, a lazy bird, sitting on her nest hatching an egg. She's terribly bored and tired and wants a break. She persuades Horton, the elephant, to take over for her. This is a good choice on her part because, 'An elephant's faithful -- one hundred percent!' So Horton props up the tree so it can take his weight, climbs up onto the nest, and ever so gently . . . sits on the egg. Mayzie decides a little vacation in Palm Beach will be in order. Once there, she says . . . 'why bother?' and abandons her egg. What Horton didn't know is that this egg needed 51 more weeks of hatching! But, never mind. 'He said what he meant and he meant what he said.' He sat on that egg, no matter what. Through a long series of misadventures, Mayzie and Horton are reunited just as the egg hatches. Mayzie wants her egg back, and Horton doesn't agree. Then the big surprise happens and Horton gets his reward! Teaching children patience and persistence . . . well, that takes a lot of patience and persistence. Horton Hatches the Egg is a way to provide a small fictional example when setbacks and delays occur. My youngsters didn't understand Thomas Edison's comment about genius being 99 percent perspiration until they were well past their Dr. Seuss days. I like to think that their hard-working adult selves (for the three who are adults) were formed in part by Horton's example in this book. This book contains many valuable lessons to encourage such as: keeping your word; being honest; looking out for those in need; sticking through to the end; facing your fears; and many others. It's a remarkable thing to realize also how well the ridiculous image of an unhappy elephant sitting on a nest is a bare tree can create all of those good notions. Way to go, Dr. Seuss! Donald Mitchell, co-author of The Irresistible Growth Enterprise and The 2,000 Percent Solution

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2014

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