I just read Dr. Suess’s Horton Hears a Who! for the first time last week. The kids got it for Christmas and it’s one of the Dr. Suess books that I’ve never read. I was really missing out!
This now replaces Green Eggs and Ham as my favorite Dr. Suess book.
Most surprising of all, was the amazing pro-life message it offers. Horton, a large elephant, discovers a voice coming from a speck of dust. He comes to find out that it’s not just a voice, but a whole town called Whoville that lives on the speck.
So Horton, lovingly and protectively, guards the speck, now lodged on a clover. Carrying the clover everywhere he goes, his motto repeats, “Because, after all, a person’s a person, no matter how small.”
He faces persecution from a kangaroo and a pack of monkeys, who are set on boiling the clover in beezle-nut oil, in order to get Horton to give up his obsession of protecting the clover. They don’t believe that there are any people on the speck. They think Horton is crazy and don’t care about the supposed Who’s of Whoville.
Finally, after Horton as been mauled and beaten, the Who’s of Whoville shout as loud as they can, all together, with even the smallest Who doing their best, and the monkeys and kangaroo hear the Who’s at last.
The town is saved and the elephant smiles saying, “They’ve proved they ARE persons, no matter how small. And their whole world was saved by the Smallest of All.”
The book ends with the conversion of the kangaroo. He says, “From sun in the summer. From rain when it’s fall-ish, I’m going to protect them. No matter how small-ish.”
Some make subjective the issue of aborting babies, saying, “Is this really life?” But we know that babies in the womb are alive; they certainly aren’t dead. Or, “Is it viable?” The time of viability keeps getting younger and younger. Or, “Is it a human?” Well, it definitely isn’t a monkey or an elephant.
The question is, will our society protect the smallest among us? Those who, like the Who’s of Whoville, have no way to protect themselves from the bigger people around them.
I want to be more like Horton. Even beaten and mauled, he protected those who could not protect themselves. He made converts out of people that had boiling beezle-nut oil.
Horton had guts and love. We could all use a little more of those.
I’ve always admired Horton the elephant. One of the lines that I especially enjoy (along with those you mentioned) is, “I meant what I said and I said what I meant. An elephant is faithful 100%.” Horton is honest, truthful, and loyal….the only thing that could make these books better is mention of God and the reason for Horton being the way that he was. I suppose we can add that part! 😉