'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.
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.
Horton finally relents after Maizy taunts him, claiming 'you're more chicken than I'.
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.
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'.
©2005, Mark Hoback