Fox in Socks. Knox in Box.
Fox in Socks on Knox in Box.
Can you read that quote above out loud? A bit of a tongue-twister, isn't it? Well, you ain't seen nothing yet.
Fox in Socks is a 1965 children's book by Dr. Seuss which, while not so well known as The Cat in the Hat or How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, is probably the clearest example of his approach to writing for his target audience. Specifically silliness, which, in the form of tongue-twisters and some absurd situations, is the vehicle used to teach children some simple words. Said Fox in Socks leads Knox out of the Box through lots of wordplay knots.
The book's climactic Tweedle Beetle sequence was animated for Seuss' The Hoober Bloob Highway television special.
This book provides examples of:
- Butt-Monkey: Knox just wants the nonsense to stop but the Fox is having none of it.
- Circular Reasoning: Luke takes licks in lakes his duck likes, and vice versa.
- Dedication: It is the first Beginner Book to have one. Mitzi Long was a friend of Seuss's, and Audrey Diamond was his second wife. The Mt. Soledad Linguistic Laboratories is a fictional place — Seuss always said Audrey was the only adult who could get through his tongue twisters on the first try.
- Feet-First Introduction: The lower half of the socked-fox is over the title page.
- Humanlike Foot Anatomy: Both Fox and Knox (whatever Knox is).
- Narrator: The book beings with a narrator explaining all the things seen, the way most Beginner Books do. ("Fox. Socks. Box. Knox.") That's followed by two pages where the fox's mouth is open but it is not immediately clear if he is speaking. When the chicks with bricks, blocks, and clocks come, the Fox and Knox unquestionably take over the speaking roles for the rest of the book.
- The One Who Wears Shoes: Or socks, in this case. The Fox is only seen separate from the socks on the first page, and his feet are obscured.
- Oral Fixation: Luke Luck and Luke's Duck lick lakes... for some obscure reason.
- Screwy Squirrel: The Fox bounces around introducing more and more absurd tongue twister situations.
- The Stinger: The inside of the rear cover of the book says "Now is your tongue numb?"
- Snicket Warning Label: "Take it slowly, this book is dangerous!"
- There Is Only One Bed: The sick chicks all tocking together in bed.
- And the sick bricks all ticking together in another bed.
- Tongue Twister: The whole book provides examples, starting more simply but getting more elaborate over time.