Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Seuss (Book & Feature Film)

April 19, 2011

The Book:

Horton Hears a Who is the timeless Dr. Seuss tale of a sweet, lovable elephant named Horton.  One day Horton is pretty certain that he hears a “voice” coming from a speck of dust.  Convinced that there is a very small person on this speck of dust, Horton places the speck on a clover and proceeds to carry the clover (and speck) with him to protect it from harm.  Horton is ridiculed and insulted by the Jungle of Nool animals that live around him.  They are certain that he is crazy and make it their mission to destroy the clover and teach Horton a lesson.  Despite the animals beliefs, Horton is indeed correct in thinking that there is a person living on the speck.  In fact, there is an entire town – the town of Whoville.  The rest of the book details Horton’s adventures as he protects the Whos and their small town despite every other animal’s attempts in destroying this seemingly non-existant community.

The Feature Film:

I absolutely loved the animated adaptation of Horton Hears a Who.  The movie stayed completely true to the book’s storyline and added only elements that enhanced the story.

One of the main differences between the book and film is the focus on the town of Who-ville.  Who-ville is exposed very little in the book, but the movie really focuses in on the citizens of this microscopic society.  The mayor is merely introduced in the book, but in the movie, viewers are introduced to the mayor’s wife, his 96 daughters, and his only son, Jo-Jo.  Additionally, in both the book and movie, Jo-Jo is the Who that sends out a cry loud enough for the animals to hear.  The book makes no mention of a relationship between Jo-Jo and the mayor, but in the movie we discover early on that Jo-Jo is the mayor’s only son. 

Another difference between the book and feature film is the additon of Horton’s great friend, Milton the mouse.  Milton is not part of the original tale, but he is added into the feature film, which incorporates a touch of comedy into those scenes.  There a few other additional characters that were incorporated into the movie, but these characters did not alter the original storyline from the book.

Last but not least, I have to comment on Horton’s famous saying: “I meant what I said and I said what I meant, an elephant’s faithful one hundred percent.”  This famous line is spouted off by Horton several times within the movie.  Interestingly enough, this famous quotation made by Horton does not come from the book, Horton Hears a Who.  Rather, Horton makes this statement in a different book – Horton Hatches the Egg.  Only a true Dr. Seuss fan would note that difference.

My Recommendations:

Horton Hears a Who is both a wonderful book and a wonderful animated film.  I am pretty confident that Dr. Seuss lovers would enjoy both!  My love for this movie stems from my childhood love of the book, but my children are lucky enough to own both the book and the movie at my home!

Images obtained from http://www.impawards.com and http://www.amazon.com

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