'Horton Catches the Flu' is Dr. Seuss's beloved story about Horton, a big hearted elephant who loves all creatures 'tall and small'. One day while wandering around the jungle, Horton encounters Maizy, a lazy-ass chicken who has a nest in the tallest bimbo tree on the entire island of Shmoo.

I'm queen of the island
O empress I
My nest thrice as high
As an elephant's eye

Believing elephants to be 'a huge hunk of meat, with a tiny IQ', Maizy attempts to talk Horton into watching her egg while she 'zips down to the shop, for a fresh pack of smokes'. Horton, however, is frightened of heights, and expresses doubts that the bimbo tree can bear his weight.

If one first considers
Before one has sat
The flowering bimbo tree
Soon would be flat

Horton finally relents after Maizy taunts him, claiming 'you're more chicken than I'.

It's crazy said Maizy
The lazy-ass bird
To be scared of a chicken
Is clearly absurd

And so begin the troubles and travails of Horton the big-hearted elephant. Maizy abandons her egg, leaving Horton with little  choice but to hatch it himself. Through 'earthquakes and hurricanes, ice and monsoons, and pachyderms merciless jokes and lampoons', Horton continues to sit on the egg. It is not until a wise old Orangutan named Betty Babu tells him about the emergence of elephant flu that Horton sadly abandons his post.

I do not wish to catch the Flu
I do not wish to go ah-choo
A nose like mine stuffed up with goo
Is mighty hard to breath air through

Unlike most books by Dr. Seuss, 'Horton Catches the Flu' does not have a happy ending, and thus may not be appropriate for younger children. The elephant flu spreads rapidly, wiping 'all elephants off of the face of the earth'.

It started right there
On the island of Shmoo
The pandemic known as
The elephant flu


 

 

2005, Mark Hoback