Horton the Elephant represents kindness, trustworthiness, and perseverance–all wrapped up, thank goodness, in a comical and even absurd package. Horton hears a cry for help from a speck of dust, and spends much of the book trying to protect the infinitesimal creatures who live on it from the derision and trickery of other animals, who think their elephant friend has gone quite nutty. But worse is in store: an eagle carries away the clover in which Horton has placed the life-bearing speck, and “let that small clover drop somewhere inside / of a great patch of clovers a hundred miles wide!” Horton wins in the end, after persuading the “Who’s” to make as much noise as possible and prove their existence. This classic is not only fun, but a great way to introduce thoughtful children to essentially philosophical questions. How, after all, are we so sure there aren’t invisible civilizations floating by on every mote? (Ages 4 to 8) –Richard Farr
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