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Horton Hears a Who

Last updated Monday, August 4, 2008

Author: Dr. Seuss
Date of Publication: 1954
ISBN: 0394800788
Grade Level: 3rd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Aug. 2008

Synopsis: From

Surely among the most lovable of all Dr. Seuss creations, Horton the Elephant represents kindness, trustworthiness, and perseverance--all wrapped up, thank goodness, in a comical and even absurd package. Horton hears a cry for help from a speck of dust, and spends much of the book trying to protect the infinitesimal creatures who live on it from the derision and trickery of other animals, who think their elephant friend has gone quite nutty. But worse is in store: an eagle carries away the clover in which Horton has placed the life-bearing speck, and "let that small clover drop somewhere inside / of a great patch of clovers a hundred miles wide!" Horton wins in the end, after persuading the "Who's" to make as much noise as possible and prove their existence. This classic is not only fun, but a great way to introduce thoughtful children to essentially philosophical questions. How, after all, are we so sure there aren't invisible civilizations floating by on every mote?

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Did you see the Horton Hears a Who movie last spring? Have you ever heard this story? Which did you like better, the movie or the book?
•  Do you know which came first, the movie or the book? (the book)
•  If you haven't read this story, what do you think it will be about?
•  Have you ever felt like people don't want to listen to you because you're too small or too young? How does this make you feel?
•  Do you know what "who's" are?
•  What other stories have "who's" in them?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  How is Horton able to hear a small Who?
•  Why don't the monkeys and kangaroos believe Horton?
•  Is it sometimes hard to do the right thing when everyone else is against you? Who do you turn to for help?
•  What does "A person's a person no matter how small" mean?
•  What is a shirker? How does the small shirker help?
•  Have you ever helped someone that no one else wanted to help? Was it the right thing to do? How did it make you feel?
•  Why does Horton help the "who's" even though he is being mistreated?
•  Once they believed Horton, why do you think the other animals decided to help the "who's"?

Craft ideas:
•  Make a clover like the one Horton holds in his trunk out of a styrofoam ball (bring ahead option) or construction paper and pipe cleaner. Color the clover and draw a little Who to put on top!
•  Draw what you think a tiny Who village would look like.
•  (bring ahead option) Make a Horton mask. Using a paper plate, cut one side (about 1/2) into a crescent moon shape. Use remaining half and cut down vertically into two triangular ears like Horton's. Draw cartoon eyes and cut holes into the pupils. Staple ears to outer edge of plate. (Curved cut edge will go over nose.) Use construction paper to create a trunk. Cut a long strip of construction paper, cut fringe into one side, roll into a rosette and apply to pipe cleaner to make a clover and attach. Attach string if desired.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don't have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!