Today’s reading recommendation comes with a warning. So be warned – trying to read this book too fast, too soon will only result in heartbreak. But if you take it slow you will eventually win acclaim for your verbal virtuosity and win the unending love of your young one1.
Yes, I’m talking about that old classic from old Mr. Geisel himself – Fox in Socks2. And for all the blustery warnings about taking it slow, we start out OK. Seuss warms us up with the building blocks of his tongue-twisting tome.
See the mischief brewing in fox’s eyes as he ponders what kind of trouble he can cause with these innocuous items. See the placid look on unsuspecting Knox’s face – the calm before the linguistic storm that will contort his tongue, try his patience and, frankly, test credulity3.
Hear the simple rhymes that will bring a grin to your toddler’s face. “Fox in socks/ Knox in box;” “Knox in box ON Fox in Socks.” And it warms up slowly. We add chicks and clocks to the mix. “Let’s do tricks with bricks and blocks sir/ Let’s do tricks with chicks and clocks sir.” And we progress to making quick trick brick stacks; quick trick chick stacks. Try reading that a few times quick. We’re just warming up.
I’ll spare the grisly details, but suffice it to say that it gets pretty tricky. To the point that Knox repeatedly bemoans his fate to that tricky Fox.
Undaunted, Fox continues to up the ante until Knox finally snaps. Rattling off on of the the longest, most complex tongue twisters in the book Knox tells fox where he can shove it and shows that for all his protestation he has been paying a little attention. Like his cousin in Green Eggs and Ham Knox realizes at the end that hey, this was a pretty good idea all along.
Good fun indeed and it is impossible to overstate that you must read this book aloud. So this one’s great for any kid who likes being read to and a good challenge for advanced readers still learning the craft.
Finally, a bonus video of two men who obviously practiced reading such books as loud and as fast as possible. Skip to about the 5:00 mark for the famous gravitas rematch, the ending of which puts even the trickiest passage of our humble kids book to shame4.
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1 Though, to be fair, if you don’t have that yet, Dr. Seuss may not help you
2 Yeah, I know I’m not digging up new finds here every week. But this particular title is a favorite at home and I think gets passed up for many of Seuss’ more popular titles. So there.
3 I mean honestly, a “Goo Goose” and “Cheese Trees”. Come on.
4 Or, you know, watch the whole thing. Or none of it. I’m not the boss of you.