There once was a doctor, very funny, named Seuss

Who wrote about elephants, a Grinch, cat and moose

And after his passing, some tales went to buyers

With deals in their fists for Jim Carrey, Mike Myers

They had pots of effects, and huge piles of money

They had lots of stars and they thought they’d be funny

Except the films made had no touch of the magic

The pictures were sad – well, in fact they were tragic

They made the sets ugly and super expensive

The high points were few and the lows quite extensive

The new “Cat in the Hat” looked puffy and creepy

The “Grinch” made us feel at once cranky and sleepy

Until some new producer, and boy, this was smart

Said “Then why don’t we try this – let’s use the Doc’s art!

Forget the bad makeup, the guest stars so dated

We could sketch them all, and just go animated!”

And so the elephant Horton, faithful and true

Now arrives on the screen, just as Dr. Seuss drew

Along with the Whos, and the Wickersham brothers

The nasty bird, kangaroo and all the others

And while the cartooning is now super high-tech

Even true-blue Seuss fans can’t dismiss it as dreck

It’s kept close to his style and his sense, charm and wit

It stays true to his memory (well, most of it)

Horton’s nose is prodigious, his ears flap like tents

The Whos are all charming, their inventions immense

If there’s a nit we must pick (and oh, yes we must)

It’s that the Doc’s plot the new scribes do not quite trust

There are jokes about Kissinger, old-movie pokes

Will anyone get these except fifty-ish folks?

And the moral is laid on a little too thick

Where Doctor Seuss used a feather – they use a brick

And yet past the poor puns, and not-so-great choices

There are still some nice pics, and spectacular voices

Including Jim Carrey (again) as dear Horton

And even Seth Rogen as scaredy-mouse Morton

Plus frazzled Steve Carell as the mayor of the Whos

And Carol Burnett as the most mirthless of ‘roos

This Horton is silly (in mad love with his ears)

And Carrey is funny, for the first time in years

He’s not wrapped in ego, or painful pretension

Or “singing” with body parts too crude to mention

Instead he just voices this most marvelous beast

Who has respect for everyone, even the least

And that’s a lesson worth teaching, to one and all

That a person’s a person, no matter how small

And a motto moguls should take some time learning

If they’d like their movies to finally be earning

For it’s not the cash that makes a prize of the art

But the warmth of the tale, and the size of the heart

(Rated G. There’s nothing here to scare even the small, and Jim Carrey’s jokes are scrubbed clean for all.)

Film clip:

“HORTON HEARS A WHO!” The sensitive pachyderm gets a feature-length movie that – finally, after the misfire live-action adaptations of “The Cat in the Hat” and “The Grinch” – opts for animation instead, and sticks closely to the look of the original Dr. Seuss art. Apart from a few “updates” that actually feel dated (An “Apocalypse Now” joke? Really?), it’s fast, fun family entertainment, nicely voiced by Jim Carrey, Steve Carell and (glad to have her back) Carol Burnett. The film contains nothing to offend. Rated G. Running time: 88 minutes. THREE STARS

Stephen Whitty is film critic for The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J. He can be contacted at [email protected]


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