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#63 Family Matter Horton and his Who


#63 Family Matters

In These Times by Dr. Jody Kussin, May 16, 2020


Highlighting a Dr. Seuss classic, Horton Hears a Who


As I’m sure you’ll recall, the book tells the story of Horton the Elephant, who, while splashing in a pool, hears a small speck of dust talking to him. Horton surmises that a small person lives on the speck and places it on a clover, vowing to protect it. He later discovers that the speck is actually a tiny planet, home to a community called Whoville, where microscopic creatures called Whos live. The Mayor of Whoville asks Horton to protect them from harm, which Horton happily agrees to, proclaiming throughout the book that "a person’s a person, no matter how small."


In his mission to protect the speck, Horton is ridiculed and harassed by the other animals in the jungle for believing in something that they are unable to see or hear. He is first criticized by a sour kangaroo and her little kangaroo in her pouch. The splash they make as they jump into the pool almost catches the speck, so Horton decides to find somewhere safer for it. However, news of his odd new behavior spreads quickly, and he is soon harassed by a group of monkeys. They steal the clover from him and give it to Vlad Vladikoff, a vulture (formerly a black eagle). Vlad flies the clover a long distance, Horton in pursuit, until the eagle drops it into a field of clovers.


After a long search, Horton finally finds the clover with the speck on it. However, the Mayor informs him that Whoville is in bad shape from the fall, and Horton discovers that the sour kangaroo and the monkeys have caught up to him. They tie Horton up and threaten to boil the speck in a pot of "Beezle-Nut" oil. To save Whoville, Horton implores the little people to make as much noise as they can, to prove their existence. So almost everyone in Whoville shouts, sings, and plays instruments, but still no one but Horton can hear them. So the Mayor searches Whoville until he finds a very small shirker named JoJo, who is playing with a yo-yo instead of making noise. The Mayor carries him to the top of Eiffelberg Tower, where Jojo lets out a loud "Yopp!", which finally makes the kangaroo and the monkeys hear the Whos. Now convinced of the Whos' existence, the other jungle animals vow to help Horton protect the tiny community.


Horton Hears a Who! urges readers to ‘be the voice and be heard’ – as well as to be the listener and observer and advocate.


This a long review of a story you already know, just to make this one ‘tiny’ point:

In these times, we need to listen closely, lift up those who need to be heard who are invisible, and be the voice of the voice-less.

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