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Monday, December 30, 2013

Orangutan Tongs

Orangutan Tongs
by Jon Agee

Word play. What's not to love about it?

From some of the familiar tongue twisters that adults will recognize to a set of quirky ones that defy repeated enunciation, the book is a fun read aloud for all ages. Kids may not always get the nuances, but the delightful pictures easily captivate them and keep them interested.

The 8 yo kept saying, "That's funny, Mama," as she read every other verse, with loud laughs punctuated by unbridled snorts. Tongue twisters are a favorite bonding activity for Papa and Ana. When he introduced, "One smart feller he felt smart; Two smart fellers they felt smart..." to her, she was in splits, understandably.

The 5 yo found quite a few things he could not easily forget or let go in the book. Like, "a noisy noise annoys an oyster" or, "I saw Esau sitting on a seesaw." His Achilles heel(s) happened to be "Peggy Babcock" and "Swiss Wristwatch"- saying it 5 times in a row fast.

Dear Deer, A Book of Homophones by Gene Barretta is another favorite at home, along with Crazy Like a Fox by Loreen Leedy (of Mapping Penny and Measuring Penny fame.) But, of late, a handful of Jon Agee's books have managed to tickle us - Palindromania, Z Goes Home, Terrific, Sit On a Potato Pan, Otis. I love the illustrations and the picture books are quite a treat.

The 5 yo's favorite was Mr.Putney's Quacking Dog by Jon Agee. Each page hints at what type of animal Mr.Putney has, with fun clue picture and wordplay answer. Example, There's an armadillo on the nightstand next to a timepiece, with the question "Who wakes up Mr.Putney in the morning?" The answer is "Alarmadillo." You get the idea - the one that he got right away is "Slobster" having encountered it in Stardines by Prelutsky.

Humans have this special ability to communicate via language - a construct we've developed and perfected over centuries. The joy of taking this language we have made up and coming up with things to make it all the more amusing is only matched by the ability to share it with our fellow beings. Books that provide the sheer pleasure of reading aloud and laughing in the shared experience that the words provide us are indeed to be treasured.

[Two Tree Toads by Jon Agee]

[image source:]

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