Mouthing Off

Mouth Sounds coverMouth Sounds: How to Whistle, Pop, Click, and Honk Your Way to Social Success

Submitter: We recently stumbled upon this book in our public library stacks and are unsure how this book slipped through a previous weeding project. We use the Dewey Decimal System and this book was shelved under 534: the physics of sound and acoustics. It sat right next to Issac Newton’s “Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy.” We find the book both hilarious and disturbing.

Holly: That subtitle! I’m not sure whistles, pops, clicks, and honks are the best way to social success. Although that thing people do when they flick their cheek and it sounds like dripping water is kind of cool, I guess. The free record included with the book is not as enticing as it once was either. There’s some good advice in the frog croak section (below): use this sound with discretion because it can be mistaken for an attack of gas. Ha!

Mouth Sounds contents

Mouth Sounds back cover

frog croak

electric guitar

intergalactic gismo

labored breathing


  1. Just an FYI, Fred Newman is the long-time sound-effects guy on A Prairie Home Companion. He’s fantastic at what he does. But, as you all stated, I’m not sure how these techniques would help you climb the social ladder! :o)

    1. You’ve never “sung” the guitar solo for “The Waiting is the Hardest Part”?

  2. Wow, yes, saw him a year or so ago at a PHC event with Garrison Keillor. He’s amazing. But yeah, most people wouldn’t climb the ladder of success making annoying mouth sounds!

  3. This reminds me of Micheal Winslow, who was in the Police Academy movies. I found him so funny as a kid that I would try imitating the sounds he made in my bedroom until I realized my brother, my parents, and our neighbors about a mile down the street could hear me.

  4. This doesn’t seem to lend itself to being learned from a book, record or no. The pictures – LOL!

    1. Sadly, though it may be impossible to teach certain skills or arts from books, this fact has kept no one from writing said books.

  5. No! Don’t weed this book! Reclassify it. It’s just too darned much fun to toss.

  6. I had one from this guy called Zounds, that came out later. It was similar, complete with a floppy record. I couldn’t do many of those sounds, but I enjoyed looking at his goofy expressions and listening to him on the record.

  7. Beyond his PHC fame, he’s also known for doing a ton of voice acting for cartoons and video games. He also co-hosted the revival of the Mickey Mouse Club in the late 80s/early 90s.

  8. Is “heavy breathing” trademarked or something? I kid; I’ve just never heard “labored breathing” used except in a medical/fitness sense. The creepy kind is always “heavy breathing.” I guess I answered my own question as to why they used a different word.

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