My brother and I do not have a great deal in common. He, for example, knows how to weld and use heavy machinery and tinker with small engines; I, on the other hand, should not be given anything more complex than table knife without CLEARLY STATED instructions in triplicate, Form M3, unless filing jointly. (See?) My brother also shares an inexplicable love for a certain music artist (*cough, Billy Joel, cough*) This music, while it may have its moments, has been called, quote, “the kind of moments that make you want to run your car right through the garage wall.” Note: This after a listening period of approximately 30 hours in which participants endured testing to discover the limits of human resistance to said music. (Apparently, it ends at Hour 12.)
So, having these sibling differences in my past, I hold fond memories of those times we shared and appreciated the value of a true piece of art. Tomfoolery is one of those memories. Today in the spirit of April Fool’s Day, we present Tomfoolery: Trickery and Foolery with Words compiled by Alvin Schwartz.
In sixth grade I saw this book on my teacher’s personal bookshelf and had the audacity to ask to read it. I brought it home and inflicted its pages on my younger siblings– who were fast to figure things out–but I was still the one with the book.
However, my brother, in addition to other talents, has the amazing ability to remember everything he hears with a rhyme or a punch line. Everything in this book has a rhyme or punch line.
Our level of maturity was outstanding. “What did you have for breakfast?” one of us would ask. “Pea green soup…” the other would volunteer cheerfully.
I’m not going to finish that rhyme for you, on the off-chance that you don’t know it, and there’s still a chance to salvage my reputation as a sophisticated and mature individual capable of microwaving my own popcorn and NOT confusing the bleach with the laundry detergent.
(Confession: I have laughed until snot appeared at “pea green soup”. It was late and we were young. Or something.)
(Confession: I may or may not STILL think this is funny.)
This little-known book, published in 1994, has all kinds of fun, silly, ridiculous jokes and nonsense rhymes in it, many of them older (one review says as old as the 19th century), so most of today’s generation has never heard them. It includes verse like “One bright day in the middle of the night”, tricks like “Owah Tagu Siam.” (It’s a magic phrase, try it. No, really.) And many, many more.
If you’re thinking this book isn’t for you…well, then, it probably isn’t.
Don’t you judge me.
But if you know a ten-year-old boy who isn’t allowed to speak during dinner because everything he says makes the rest of the family lose their appetites…
This book is probably for him.
Happy April Fool’s Day!