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Orangutan Tongs: Poems to Tangle Your Tongue

3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  175 Ratings  ·  55 Reviews
Have you ever gotten tripped up trying to say a silly succession of similar syllables? Of course-everyone has!It can be sometimes frustrating, but it's always funny! For example, you know New York's unique, but did you know that unique New York's also pretty chic? And if you switched your wristwatch with a new Swiss watch, could you tell which wristwatch was which?

Hardcover, 32 pages
Published March 10th 2009 by Hyperion Book CH
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Community Reviews

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Jan 22, 2010 Janet rated it it was amazing
My family are big fans of Agee's Dmitri the Astronaut and Milo's Hat Trick, and we looove this exhausting collection of tongue twisters (e.g. "Mixed Biscuits"; "Knapsack Straps") and nonsense rhymes, to wit:

Walter Witter called a waiter: "Waiter, over here!
I want some water, waiter. Water, waiter! Is that clear?"
The waiter brought some water. Walter Witter shouted: "WRONG!
This water's really watered-down! I like my water strong!"
The waiter brought more water. Walter Witter was upset.
"This water'
I am soooo in love with this book! The poems are a riot--and occasionally brilliant in language and structure.

So many of the poems in this collection are a perfect synthesis of language, intent and humor. I often use tongue twisters in warm-ups and as verbal exercises in my theater classes (my favorites are from Gilbert & Sullivan and Dr. Seuss) and I will be adding several of Agee's works from this book beginning this fall.

"Orangutan Tongs," itself is a feast for the lips,the tongue,the jaw
Haley Hoenke
Sep 10, 2016 Haley Hoenke rated it really liked it
#English #poetry
Alisha Funkhouser
Oct 07, 2014 Alisha Funkhouser rated it liked it
Shelves: libs-642
Agee, J. (2009). Orangutan tongs: Poems to tangle your tongue. New York, N.Y.: Disney/Hyperion Books.

School Library Journal Review


This book actually contains about 80 or more poems. All of them are tongue twisters. I liked this book because it shows a variety of ways to write poetry, however, I tongue twisters are hard to get through, especially when reading so many of them. Each poem is different and I couldn't find a common thread among them, besides that they are all tongue twisters. Th
Mar 13, 2009 Tasha rated it it was amazing
A great mix of tongue twisters and poems, this book is such fun to read! Agee creates silly poems that will have your tongue either dancing in delight or knotted in despair. That is if you can even get through the lines without giggling. There are classic twisting combinations like Unique New York but others look so very innocent until you attempt them.

Agee is a master at word play and that is clear in this book of poems. If you have a group of kids who claim not to enjoy poetry, this is a grea
Breanna Haynes
Apr 14, 2013 Breanna Haynes rated it liked it
Orangutan Tongs by Jon Agee is a wonderful poetry book for young readers. The entire book is filled with poems in varying lengths that are meant to be tongue twisters. The tongue twisters are well written, funny, and easy to read to younger readers. You may get mixed up reading some of the words, but that is the fun of this book. I think that this book would be wonderful for intermediate level readers, because the words are simple while the tongue twisters make the reading a little bit more chal ...more
This book offers an entertaining collection of tongue-twisting poems that are fun to read aloud. The rhyming alliteration is very tricky at times, and our girls got more enjoyment out of listening to me perform the verbal gymnastics than by trying it themselves. The results were quite humorous.

The colorful, cartoonish illustrations by the author complemented the poems nicely. And I was a bit surprised that we were able to read the entire book at one time - usually we take a few days to read a po
Mar 29, 2010 Carolynne rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
Tantalizing tongue twisters to tickle your tongue! Here's a sample:
"It's a pity pretty Patty Petty parted ways with Pete.
He was picky, partly protly, but particularly sweet.
They were such a pleasant couple as they pedaled down the street.
It's a pity Pretty Patty Petty parted ways with Pete."

The reading level is fairly low, but the verses can be used with upper elementary children to practice fluency. The quality is uneven, but many verses are humorous, and I think children will enjoy them.

Christine Jensen
Jan 30, 2010 Christine Jensen rated it liked it
Shelves: e-poetry
Approximate Interest Level/Reading Level: Elementary

Format: Picture Book

Awards: Horn Book Fanfare (2009), Book Links Editors Choice (2009)

An amusing and lighthearted collection of poems that double as tongue twisters. Many selections would be fun to use for playful choral reading and to use for word work that emphasizes word beginnings, word endings, and rhymes. Also good for expanding vocabulary.
Maggie Hahn
Dec 02, 2015 Maggie Hahn rated it it was amazing
Orangutan Tongs is a fun and silly poetry book. This book has many different poems throughout that are all tongue twisters. The illustrations are very fun and the poems all "tangle your tongue." This book would be very fun to use in class while learning poetry or even rhyming. I could focus on a couple poems and have my students try to write a tongue twister. I could have my students find all of the rhyming words in one of the poems.
Apr 27, 2010 Luann rated it liked it
Recommended to Luann by: JLG
This is reminiscent of Dr. Seuss's Oh Say Can You Say? and Fox in Socks, although maybe not quite as crazy! :) This is definitely a fun one for kids to read aloud and repeat again and again. My favorite is "Walter and the Waiter." The illustrations are simple and unremarkable.
Lillian Cristina Loys
Sep 25, 2013 Lillian Cristina Loys rated it really liked it
Shelves: poems, fab-40-final
Genre: Poetry

Awards: None

Grade Level: K-2

How to use: This would be a great book to use when having fun with letters and their sounds, sounding words out quickly, the kids will get tongue tied with some poems and then break them down to each and every word, making it a fun activity for kids to be able to get out of their typical learning text books and read something humorous.
Jun 25, 2009 Amanda added it
Shelves: kid-s-books
I've like Jon Agee's other books and illustrations so I picked this one up. The subtitle makes me think of the Jack Prelutsky or similar poetry books for children that I've loved, so I hope it's as good as I imagine.

Not as fun as Prelutsky, but tongue twisting all over the place. For kids who like to hear you befuddled, this should make them laugh.
Jul 30, 2009 Angie rated it liked it
Shelves: picture
Very, very, very funny poetry.
I read this to my niece and nephew a couple nights ago. They "got" a couple of the poems (and liked the illustrations) ... but some of it sort of went over their heads.
I would not suggest anyone dumb down children's literature. But don't make it so out there that they just don't get it.
Ashley Cochran
This book has a bunch of poems in one book that are all tongue twisters. They are very difficult to read. This book may or may not be read in my class. If it is read in my class, it would only be a few poems at a time. We could make it a challenge for the students to read some of the poems and increase their reading skills and it would also be entertainment for everyone.
Meh. April is National Poetry Month, so I pulled this off the display. I don't mind that Agee's visual style is simple and cartoonish. But it bugged me like anything that the titular "tongs" were in fact drawn as chopsticks. Did no one notice? It's not bad, but it wouldn't be my first choice for tongue-twisters.

Library copy
Ian Overway
Jul 16, 2010 Ian Overway rated it it was amazing
Picture Book 2)
This is a great book of poems and tong twister. All of which are not only humorous but also have educational. Many of these poems can be used as the read aloud for a mini lesson in, poetry, alliteration, onamonapia, and more.
The illustrations are bold and simple as if drawn by young artists.
Nov 17, 2015 Brittany added it
Shelves: poetry-books
This book has a bunch of poems in it. All of the poems are tongue twisters.

This book has super cute tongue twisters within it. I would use this book to help teach poetry and also as an entertainment piece because students would really enjoy listening to the teacher trying to say all of those tongue twisters. It would be fun to have students try to say some of them too.
May 26, 2011 Matthew rated it really liked it
This is a great colletion of tongue twisters and I am very impressed with the entire collection, mostly because every one of them is fresh and new. No Sally selling seashells in this book! It was a lot of fun bungling the words as I went from page to page.
Claudia Telleria
Nov 20, 2015 Claudia Telleria rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry-books
This book was very cute! I loved how it incorporated a fun way to learn poetry by adding in tongue twisters. I would use this in my classroom for a fun poetry lesson and have my kids make their own tongue twister poem.
Jul 11, 2009 Kristen rated it liked it
Fun tongue-twisting poems, enjoyable mostly for the sounds. Like in "Dodos":
"A dodo'll dawdle, a dodo'll diddle,
A dodo'll doodle a doodle or two."

Kids will have fun trying to read these aloud.
May 04, 2010 Beth rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s
I child happing states that "She got our tongues twisted, that's what she did today."
Of all the tales, they were happiest to get caught with "Purple-Paper People" and "Undies."
This was the first poetry book we read, this go round, that my daughter actually enjoyed. She thought it was funny and enjoyed the tongue twisters.
Abby Johnson
Mar 29, 2009 Abby Johnson rated it liked it
Jon Agee's signature clear, funny illustrations accompany these tongue-twisting poems. Some are more fun than others and kids always enjoy tongue twisters. Poems are based on common tongue twisters.
Sep 23, 2014 Haley rated it really liked it
Shelves: phonics
Rhyming and some alliteration
Some of the poems are good but some of them are not. This book could be good if you read maybe one poem a day or something.
Aug 05, 2015 Susan rated it it was amazing
Beautifully illustrates hilarious tongue twisting poems abound in this book! Can you keep your tongue straight?
Oct 03, 2012 Lisa rated it really liked it
Shelves: kidsstuff, faves, poetry
this book is really fun to read to/with kids. i especially like hearing sam read it. we have checked it out from the library several times and will check it out again i am sure. the kids love it too.
Edward Creter
Book of tongue twisters and tingue twusters that should have kids busy speaking in tongues for least tongues that'll curl inward after much use!
Feb 21, 2016 Allison rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, children
Very funny tongue twisters! This is one I’ll struggle to read aloud to my son over and over again until he can try on his own. Might also be fun for library programs.
Mar 19, 2009 Megan rated it it was amazing
Awesome tongue twisters!!!! They didn't have my personal favorite tongue twister in there, but it's still stellar anyways.
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