Here are some vocabulary words, discussion questions and activity ideas for a literature-based unit study using Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss.
The story begins with Mayzie, a lazy bird, sitting on her egg in her nest. She's terribly bored and tired and wants a vacation away from the nest. She persuades Horton, an elephant, to take over her job for her. She has chosen well because, "An elephant's faithful -- one hundred percent!"
Horton assesses the situation and sees that he needs to prop up the tree so it can bear his weight. He then climbs up onto the nest, and ever so gently... sits on the egg.
Once Mayzie arrives in Palm Beach for her vacation, she says... "why bother?" and abandons her egg.
What Horton didn't realize is that this egg needed 51 more weeks of sitting in order to hatch! But, never mind. "He said what he meant and he meant what he said." He stayed on that egg, no matter what.
After seemingly endless tauntings and precarious situations for Horton, Mayzie finally returns just as the egg is hatching. Mayzie wants it back, but Horton won't allow it. Then the big surprise occurs and Horton gets what he deserves!
Horton Hatches the Egg is a way of teaching children patience and persistence. The story provides an example of maintaining strength of character when setbacks and delays occur.
This book contains many valuable lessons in character training, such as: being true to your word (faithfulness), being truthful (honesty), serving those in need (compassion, service), sticking through to the end (grit, perseverance), facing your fears (boldness), and much more.
About the Author:
Theodor Seuss Geisel was born on March 2, 1904, in Springfield, Massachusetts. During his long career, he wrote more than 40 children's books, which have sold more than 200 million copies worldwide. Although he was told by a high-school art teacher that he would never be an artist, Seuss illustrated many of his books. Seuss died in September 1991, at the age of 87.
Suggested Vocabulary Words:
Did Mayzie keep her word about not being gone long?
What does it mean to be faithful? What if Horton was LESS than 100% faithful? Is it possible to be partly faithful?
Horton was faithful in the face of death. He made a courageous statement of faith when he said "Shoot if you must, but I won't run away." Do you think it would be difficult to be faithful when facing possible death? Research famous martyrs in history who have been faithful in the face of certain death. (Examples: Nathan Hale in the American Revolution; Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the Bible)
What do you think of the miracle of love and faithfulness that changed the baby bird inside Mayzie's egg into an 'elephant bird'? Do you think this is this scientifically possible?
Find these places on a map of the United States:
New York, New York
Weehawken, New Jersey
St. Paul, Minnesota
Drake, North Dakota
Here is a map of the travels of the circus when Horton was on display. How many total miles did he travel if he ended up in Palm Beach, Florida?
Watch a robin egg's hatch and a baby robin emerge in the video below!
Horton needed to 'prop up' the tree. Why? Talk about what Horton was thinking when he decided the tree wouldn't hold his weight.
Learn why an egg must be kept warm in order for it to hatch. How long does it usually take to hatch a dove's egg? Is it the same for a chicken egg? Look up incubation times for a duck's, pigeon's, parrot's, wild turkey's and an ostrich's eggs on this chart.