The Fox Says Read

The 5th graders like to tease and joke around. All the older grades do, which is probably why I have so much fun with them because I’m a natural teaser and joker, too. They learned early on that I find the Ylvis song What Does the Fox Say exceptionally annoying. It’s so annoying (and catchy, darn it) that I remember the first time I heard it. I was on a walk listening to Pandora, and when I heard the hook my immediate response was Oh hell, no.

Just in case you’ve never heard the song or watched the video, behold:

When I tell them to stop, they start singing Pink Fluffy Unicorns Dancing on Rainbows.

It’s all in good fun. They know when to stop, and that’s when I slowly raise one eyebrow and cross my arms. I’m so glad I spent an embarrassing number of weeks teaching myself how to do that in middle school.

Late one Tuesday night, while shopping in Target for something completely different, I decided to tease them back.


I wasn’t sure how they were going to take it, and the Mister was pretty sure I was going to look like Supreme Dork of All the Land. The 3rd graders saw it first and, wow, I heard that song all class long. Nonstop. Then they asked how I knew that song because grownups don’t know that song.

Um, yes, they do. Grownups are the ones driving the car and adjusting the dial on the radio. Grownups know the song, they just don’t like the song.

At least not to any extent that can be proven in a court of law.

Then came the 5th graders, and how sad am I that I admit to being nervous? I think they did see me as Supreme Dork of All the Land, but in a good way. They didn’t say it was dumb. In fact, we took pictures with our new “class mascot,” I heard that stupid song 400 more times, and everyone asked me where I bought Mr. Fox. (Target.)

I was feeling pretty pleased with myself until one boy said, “If you think that’s annoying, wait until you see the badger video.”

I pulled up the video on my phone.

Now, whenever they see me on campus, they smoosh together in a group and bounce up and down while singing badger, badger, badger, badger, badger, mushroom! mushroom!

I don’t think I made it to the end of the video before my eyes melted and my ears started bleeding, but they were still full of commentary.

“Oh! You need to buy a badger! Don’t worry about the mushroom; I’ll take care of it,” said a girl.

“Can’t forget the snake,” said a boy.

“And a pink fluffy unicorn,” said another girl.

A fox, a badger, a unicorn, a snake, and a mushroom. Best library ever! Or, Burning Man.

30 Responses to “The Fox Says Read”
  1. anna says:

    oh, i needed something completely inane today! i get the feeling that i’ve seen them before though – the fox one reminds me of peppa pig’s birdie birdie woof woof, and badger is a bit like the llama song. i won’t give you links, just in case the resulting aural assault puts me in your bad books.
    on the other hand, i quite like sigur ros – i have no idea what they’re really singing. maybe it’s something like that! eek!

  2. Southern Gal says:

    Why, oh why, did I click over here this morning? This will be ingrained in my head And I just got that stinkin’ fox song off constant play in my head on Tuesday. ;)

  3. Erin says:

    I like that the kids will do the badger whenever they see you!!! LOVE IT! You are their new bestie!

    Thanks for this, the badger song is just too funny.

    • Jules says:

      badger, badger, badger, badger, badger, mushroom! mushroom!

      I see these videos (and see they have 10 hour versions of them on youtube) and all I can think of are the college kids on who knows what drugs watching these videos late into the night. Mikey and Nico are never leaving home. Ha!

      • Shaina says:

        Or maybe college *aged* kids. Because really, you’re not in college for long if your doing those drugs…
        But YES! I was cracking up at both of the cartoon ones and can only imagine what an altered mind state would do for it, LMAO

        The fox … oh the fox … It is DAMN catchy! I work for a drag show production at a bar on weekends and when the video first got popular, the shot boys learned all the words and the dance. So for the first 3 weeks I was highly entertained, I thought it was great, hilariously stupid (I LOVE stupid humor) and having the boys in cute underwear wearing fox hats just brought it to another level. One month later, I was completely done with it. Now I just get annoyed because I know what the fox says and it is NONE of those things in the song! LOL! I can’t imagine having to hear it every hour every day.

  4. Jill says:

    No, no, hell NO. Mr. Fox is adorable though.

    • Jules says:

      Right? That’s what I said the first time I heard that song. It starts to get catchy after 402 times. But the second singer in the video…I want to reach in and bobby pin that loose curl on his forehead. Gah!!

  5. Fairfax Avenue says:

    Never heard any of these songs. And now I am practicing self control, and not listening to them here, either. I’m sure I’ll be thankful.

    So happy that my 12-year-old brings her iPod (babysitting money bought it) in carpool. Great playlist!

    • Jules says:

      You have to listen to them, if only so you can shock your daughter by knowing them. That’s the best part. I love watching their little mouths drop when I know something about pop culture that they think I shouldn’t.

      • Fairfax Avenue says:

        Sorry, we’re culturally and socially deprived! I really do know most of what my younger kids are hearing and there are very few surprises.

        Heard the Maccabeats lately, Jules? Or maybe a little Moshav…

  6. Shannon says:

    I’m not sure what it says about my husband and me but we introduced both of those songs to the girls. . . . . . My husband used to sit with my oldest, when she was a baby, and sing the Badger song to her (she had pants with mushrooms on them) over and over and over. We still laugh at “It’s a snake, a snake!!!” I’m chuckling right now, just thinking about it.

    And you HAVE to watch the clip of Ylvis on Ellen. Its the back story and really funny.

  7. frances says:

    I love how you are engaging with these kids. I truly think it’s a gift you’re giving them, showing them it’s possible to be a grown up and still capable of silliness, dorky enthusiasms, an pop culture credibility. They usually can’t see it in their own parents (no matter how great the parents) so it’s awesome that you’re modeling it for them. Especially as a librarian! You are, clearly, just what they need.

    ETA: I did not, nor will I, click on any of the links above. I did, however, listen to this acapella version of Royals three times this morning:

    • Jules says:

      Aw, thanks! Finally, my dorky behavior and random knowledge of pop culture has a purpose in this world! ;)

      Hard to believe Lorde just turned 17 this month, don’t you think?

  8. Carey says:

    Everytime we say or sing What the fox say? around my five year old, he scolds us for saying bad words…

    • Jules says:

      That’s what Nico did to the 3rd graders at school! He came home incensed so I introduced him and Mikey to the video. Mikey thought it was weird but oddly compelling. Nico thought it was the most awesome thing he had ever laid eyes on.

  9. Phaedra says:

    Being a mom to a Third Grader, I can believe that you heard that song 352 times in a row out of your Third graders! (Halloween Trick-or-Treating was full of small people singing that on our rounds). It’s so ridiculous that I find myself laughing- hard. Now, that badger video/song? Perhaps I would need to partake in recreational substances to get in the correct frame of mind? I feel very old sitting here thinking, ‘I don’t get it’ (not that it stopped me from laughing like an idiot anyway)

    LOVE that you’re bonding with all the grades though. YAY for being Cool Mrs Kendall! woot woot!

  10. dude, there’s a What Does the Fox Say? PICTUREBOOK coming out. I will be first in line.

  11. Shannon says:

    OH and wait till the kids start coming to you with their “remakes” of the song. My favorite (and I mean that sincerely) was “What Does the Sock Say?” – “pew-pew-pew-pew-pew-pew” while waving their hand in front of their nose. I cracked up.

  12. Kitten says:

    And now I have to tell you that there is a Harry Potter take off of Badger Badger that is funny. (Snape, it’s a Snape!)

    I do have to say I find What Does the Fox Say (both my son and husband love it) horrible annoying.

  13. roni says:

    Time for you to bring back Peanut Butter Jelly Time! The unicorn video wasn’t catchy but I can see that badger one becoming a new fave around here. Have you seen the SNL spoof of the fox song with Kerry Washington? Too funny! (NSFW)

    • Shaina says:

      Bahahaha! I do Peanut Butter Jelly Time frequently! Because really, peanut butter is magic and it makes everything better. The song is golden.

      Yes, Jules – you should definitely retort with Peanut Butter Jelly Time next time they throw the Fox, Badger, or PFUDOR at you!

  14. Andrea Howe says:

    what the fuck is that? Holy shit someone is smoking some serious crack!

  15. Erin says:

    What about Dumb Ways to Die?? (I have to admit, I find the animation HILARIOUS!)
    This is in heavy rotation with my ten-year-old son and his friends.

  16. LauraC says:

    Wow, I’m so not into pop culture and I thank you for bringing me up to speed. However, if I have, “Pink Fluffy Unicorns Dancing on Rainbows” stuck in my head all day YOU OWE ME!!!
    And actually I liked the Fox song. I’ll show it to my kids when they wake up; I’m sure they’ll love it. Sounds like you are doing great. One thing that seems so simple and basic but many don’t grasp is that kids just want respect. Give them that and they’ll be yours forever. Well, at least till the end of class. ;)

  17. Kendra says:

    A favorite around here (of my 40 year old husband especially) is Banana Phone.

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Hi! I’m Jules.

I used to be an attorney, but it made me grumpy. Now I write about life, sweet and savory, as a wife and mother to two small boys. My knowledge of dinosaurs knows no bounds.

You can read more, including the meaning behind the name Pancakes and French Fries here. And, yes, I really am phenomenally indecisive.