One evening found me in the kitchen with two 20-something friends, passing a book from hand to hand, one we each read aloud with gusto. Three people meant three complete read-throughs, but not a single complaint. What was the book? Fox in Socks by Dr. Seuss.
Who could resist a tongue-twister that has its own warning label?
Take it slowly: this book is dangerous.
From Luke Luck and his lake-licking duck to the fleas in the cheese trees, shivering in a freezy breeze, to the bottle-battling tweedle beetles on the noodle-eating poodles, Dr. Seuss does his utmost to trip you up. Meanwhile, your small (or large) audience will enjoy the ongoing tongue-twisting feud between the anxious Mr. Knox and the sardonic, sarcastic Mr. Fox. (Don’t worry: his come-uppance is coming.)
Dr. Seuss is good for stalled-out writers too: a stellar example of that gleeful, childlike play with words that can knock out writer’s block.
I can’t blab such blibber-blubber. My tongue isn’t made of rubber.
For a language student, Fox in Socks is entertaining and confusing and time-consuming and happy. Yes, I found it translated! In Hebrew, it’s Comes with Socks [Ba eem Garbaeem]. The story’s a little different, but the rhymes and the wordplay and the sarcasm are there just the same.
Mr. Knox: “Oy lo! Zeh mees-hok nora. Halashone sheli shevura.”
[Oh no! This is a terrible game. My tongue is broken.]
Mr. Fox: “Zeh lo kahl? Nora havahl.”
[It’s not easy? What a terrible shame.]
At the end of the book, Dr. Seuss (so gleefully) signs off like Mr. Fox:
“And now, is your tongue numb?”