American Library Association, gelotology, homonyms in service of puns, humor, humorous verse, Jack Prelutsky, James Stevenson, Library of Congress, National Humor Month, National Poetry Month, New York Times Outstanding Books, Poetry Foundation, poetry picture book, wordplay
If a baseball breaks a window,
does it cause the window pain?
If it rains upon a lion,
do the droplets water mane?
If you try to wring a lemon,
can you hear the lemon peal?
If you dream that you are fishing,
is your dream of fishing real?
If an ogre is unhappy,
does it utter giant sighs?
If you catch a booby snooping,
are you sure the booby pries?
If you bleach a bag of garbage,
do you turn the garbage pale?
If you tell a horse a story,
could it be a pony tale?
If you wish to paint a whistle,
will you make the whistle blue?
If you’re stuck inside a chimney,
do you suffer from the flue?
If you sketch an escalator,
did you practice drawing stairs?
If you separate two rabbits,
are you really splitting hares?
If you’re filling in a doughnut,
do you make the doughnut whole?
If you’re posing as a muffin,
are you acting out a roll?
If your conversation sparkles,
do you thank your diamond mind?
If you’re followed by a grizzly,
do you have a bear behind?
From Jack Prelutsky A Pizza the Size of the Sun (1996); almost every poem herein is accompanied by brilliantly complementary drawings by illustrator James Stevenson (who is also a very prolific author and poet in his own right).
Jack Prelutsky is American poet-singer-artist extraordinaire who has enchanted generations of children and adults alike with his often humorous and always witty creations in rhythm and rhyme. A Gopher in the Garden and Other Animal Poems was Prelutsky’s first book; since then he’s written over fifty collections of poems, some with his own illustrations, some co-created with well-known illustrators; he has also compiled several children’s anthologies of poems by other poets. There are also audio versions of some of his books, in which he sings and plays guitar to his own musical settings.
In 2006 the Poetry Foundation named Prelutsky its inaugural (first-ever) Children’s Poet Laureate; he has won numerous other awards for his work, notable among them the Library of Congress Book of the Year, American Library Association Notable Children’s Recording, the New York Times Outstanding Book of the Year.
The month of April is both National Poetry Month . . . some good selections for children for this occasion here:
and also (I’ve recently learned), National Humor Month (in the US, at least; inaugurated 40 years ago this year by humorist and author Larry Wilde) “as a means to heighten public awareness of the therapeutic value of humor. Laughter and joy – the benchmarks of humor – lead to improved well-being, boosted morale, increased communication skills, and an enriched quality of life.” (This info from humormonth.com/ ).
I will bet you didn’t know that “the study of humor and laughter, and its psychological and physiological effects on the human body” is called gelotology . . . I sure didn’t! Live and learn. That would be a pleasant field to pursue in one’s professional life :) (sciencemadefun.net/blog/)
And a final absolutely irresistible tidbit at:
We are such a strange species . . . who probably would be extinct by now if not for our ability to laugh. (Oh dear, is that a “tautology” I smell in that sentence? Ok, well anyway, we certainly wouldn’t be the same species.)