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On the heels of the 75th anniversary of Dr. Seuss's fifth book, Horton Hatches the Egg, we present And a trunk just like his!, re-created from the pivotal two-page spread of this 1940 classic. The central image in this artwork depicts the celebratory moment when Horton's patience and dedication is rewarded with the hatching of an Elephant-Bird: "It had ears and a tail and a trunk just like his!"
The thrill of a new arrival!
Dr. Seuss captures the thrill of bringing a new life into the world in this elegant, simple, yet incredibly powerful image. For parents, the moment they first meet their newborn child brings forth a wave of celebration and emotions unmatched by any other life experience. The long wait is finally over, and here this first glimpse can be felt in the expressive line work and explosive gestures Seuss imparts upon the scene.
A parable for parenting and steadfast relationships
In a humorous twist on the old adage that children look just like their parents, Horton Hatches the Egg transforms what began as a bird's egg into one that hatches a baby Elephant-Bird.
The heartwarming detail about Horton's character is that he declared his commitment to Mayzie's egg early on with these simple words: "I'll stay and be faithful. I mean what I say." Challenged at every turn of the page, enduring lightning and rain, icicles and sleet, taunting and terror, kidnapping and loneliness, his declaration only became stronger.
Then, in the end, Horton's devotion and tenacity resulted in a relationship more committed and loving than he ever dared dream. Now his words ring true for everyone everywhere: "I meant what I said and I said what I meant...an elephant's faithful one hundred per cent!"
The Beauty and immediacy of pencil and ink
In March 1940, Dr. Seuss wrote to his editor, Louise Bonino, "The new book is coming along with a rapidity that leaves me breathless. It is a beautiful thing. The funniest juvenile ever written. I mean, being written. Never before have I stood before myself and pointed so proudly, saying 'Genius, you are.' I feel certain it will sell over a million. P.S. I like my new book."
Dr. Seuss knew he was onto something special as Horton Hatches the Egg unfolded across the many typed and drawn pages in his studio. Coupled with his wry wit, he had created lush pencil drawings that brought the action and emotions of the book front and center with their quick, sweeping gestures. Here Seuss's lines shift between intricate marks to exaggerated strokes that rush toward the edges of the page like a speeding exclamation point.
These final drawings capture the impulse of the artist in a manner more closely aligned to his early concept drawings than to the precise pen-and-ink images created for the majority of his books. As such, the works from Horton Hatches the Egg hold a special place within the canon of Dr. Seuss's book illustrations.