Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Horton Hatches the Egg

Written by: Dr. Seuss

First line: Sighed Mayzie, a lazy bird hatching an egg: “I’m tired and I’m bored And I’ve kinks in my leg From sitting, just sitting here day after day.”

Why you should read this book: Horton the faithful elephant gets suckered into sitting on Mayzie’s nest for the better part of the year, and “faithful, one hundred percent,” refuses to leave his precarious perch despite personal peril and intense humiliation. Nor does he fight for parental rights when the faithless Mayzie bird returns, but in the mother of all nature-versus-nurture controversies, the newborn’s features favor the one who did all the work. Written some time before the crystallization of our modern understanding of DNA, this story supposes that nature’s majesty (or perhaps the foster system) rewards the deserving and condemns the unfit.

Why you shouldn’t read this book: Some allegations of misogyny have been made against this text. More importantly, you may be frustrated by the really silly assertion that all the hard work of child-rearing takes place during gestation.

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