File:Horton the Elephant.jpg

Horton the Elephant from the cover of Horton Hears a Who!, 1954

Horton the Elephant is a fictional character from the books Horton Hatches the Egg[1] and Horton Hears a Who![2], both by Dr. Seuss. Horton is a kind, sweet-natured elephant who cares about other animals or people. Though he goes through many hardships, whether trying to keep an egg warm through storms, rough travels, and humiliating shows, or tries to save a small planet from harm, he always triumphs; the egg hatches into an elephant-bird, while the planet is saved and respected by the others. He is very popular because of his big heart and respectful compassion, which makes him more humorous.

Horton is also a character on the TV series The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss.[3] Kent Rogers voiced the character in "Horton Hatches the Egg". He is also a principal character in Seussical the Musical, which uses most of the two Horton books as its primary plotline.

Horton is voiced by Jim Carrey in the computer-animated adaptation of Horton Hears A Who, where he is shown as being eccentric and imaginative, and sort of absent-minded.

Horton appeared in a new Dr. Seuss book, Horton and the Kwuggerbug, which came out on September 9, 2014, the second Dr. Seuss book published after his death in 1991 (his first being Daisy-Head Mayzie in 1995).

Other characters

Horton Hatches the Egg

  • Mayzie: A lazy bird who convinces Horton to sit on her egg, while she relaxes on Palm Beach. When Horton and his egg (now part of a traveling circus) visit near Palm Beach, she demands it, until it hatches into an "elephant bird". In the Broadway musical production Seussical, her full name is given as Mayzie La-Bird.
  • Hunters: Three game hunters who planned to shoot Horton, but decided to sell him to the circus to display his ability to climb trees. In the Seuss book, they are illustrated as gentle folk; but in the 1942 cartoon, they look more like Yosemite Sam or Elmer Fudd.
  • Elephant Bird: A small animal, resembling a winged elephant; hatched by Horton from Mayzie's egg, and raised by Horton. In "The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss," the Elephant Bird was named Morton, possibly a combination of "Mayzie" and "Horton".

Horton Hears A Who

  • The Sour Kangaroo: A local bully who does not believe that the Whos and Whoville exist, and attempts to destroy its locus in the hope of convincing Horton. In the animated special of Horton Hears a Who, her name is changed to Jane Kangaroo. Voiced by Carol Burnett in the film.
  • The Young Kangaroo: The sour kangaroo's young joey, who supports his mother in all her speeches. In the film, his name is changed to Rudy and he actually believes in the Whos. He's voiced by Josh Flitter in the film.
  • Mayor of Whoville: The mayor of the microscopic world of Whoville; Horton's principal contact therein, and the source of information thereof. In the film, the mayor is named "Ned McDodd" and is the latest of a long lineage of mayors, and is the father of 96 daughters and a son. Voiced by Steve Carell in the film.
  • The Wickersham Brothers: A group of gibbon-like monkeys who steal the flower upon which Whoville rests. They have a very large family, who help bind Horton. The major brother in the group is voiced by Dan Fogler in the film.
  • Vlad Vladikoff: A black eagle that takes the flower that Horton protects and drops it in a huge patch of identical flowers. In the animated special of Horton Hears a Who, his name is changed to Whizzer McWoff and he appears more like a vulture than an eagle. Voiced by Will Arnett in the film adaptation, and made to resemble a condor.
  • JoJo: One of the Whos: a small boy who, when exhorted by the Mayor, announces Whoville's existence to the larger world by shouting "YOPP". In Seussical, and in the later film, he is the Mayor's son; in the latter, voiced by Jesse McCartney.


  • Gertrude McFuzz: Although her origin-story did not feature Horton at all, Gertrude is a very prominent character throughout Seussical. In this play, Gertrude is Horton's next door neighbor and in love with Horton, but unable to attract his attention until she saves him from the circus and retrieves the flower supporting Whoville, whereafter they decide to raise the elephant-bird jointly.


Horton Hatches the Egg: Mother bird Mayzie lays an egg, but becomes weary of incubating it, and persuades Horton to take her place. As Horton spends months at this, he suffers rainstorms, snowstorms, and the mockery of the other animals, while Mayzie relaxes abroad. When three hunters approach him, Horton defies them to shoot him, while refusing to leave the nest; and the hunters, realising they have found a rare attraction - an elephant sitting on a nest - dig up the tree and sell him to a circus. When the circus arrives in Palm Beach, Mayzie goes to Horton demanding the return of her egg; but when the egg hatches, it produces the hybrid 'elephant-bird', who returns with Horton to the wild.

Horton Hears A Who!: Horton is bathing in a pond when he hears a speck of dust emit cries for help, and places it on a red clover for safety. Upon investigating, he learns that the speck of dust is a microscopic world named Whoville, inhabited by a microscopic species called Whos. When he talks to the Whos, the Sour Kangaroo and her son brand Horton as insane to the entire animal kingdom. When Horton retains the Whos, the Wickersham Brothers steal the clover and request Vladikoff to dispose of it; whereupon Vladikoff discards the clover among a field of identical plants. After a day of searching, Horton locates Whoville; but Mother Kangaroo arrives with an army of monkeys, to imprison him and destroy the clover. When the Kangaroos fail to hear a chorus of Whos announcing their presence, monkeys attack Horton, who shouts at the Whos to prove themselves; but all their efforts fail until the Who child 'Jojo' shouts the syllable "YOPP!", breaking the sound barrier. The monkeys and Kangaroo apologize to Horton and promise to cooperate with him in protecting Whoville.

Other media

See also


  1. Seuss, Dr. (1968). Horton hatches the egg. Random House. ISBN 978-0-394-80077-6. 
  2. Seuss, Dr. (1982). Horton hears a Who!. 2, reissue, illustrated. Random House. ISBN 978-0-394-80078-3. 
  3. "The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss"., Inc. Retrieved 2011-05-10. 
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