April Tomfoolery

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.)

The TV on the head is pretty fabulous. (Image courtesy of librarything.com)

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!

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9 thoughts on “April Tomfoolery

  1. I can attest to the “Pea Green Soup” line, having heard it numerous times. And I remember the punch line. Finally! But I never knew it came from a book you all had read in secret. Great book! Even when it affects the dinner table. Parents HAVE to respond in such a way that it improves their children’s manners but they turn to the side and snicker a lot!
    from a A Billy Joel music fan–who crashed THROUGH the wall and went over the cliff after listening to said music for more than 30 hours (I didn’t know we could opt out after 12). 🙂

  2. I like Billy Joel, And growing up was chastised many times in church (once for playing the piano resembling him for the offertory), school, while doing chores, in college, and the list goes on for (you guessed it) “tomfoolery”. Now I probably need to read the book. It’s just sayings right? not actions? I should be vindicated!

    • No actions that I remember… There’s another book for that: “Kids Shenanigans: Great Things to Do That Mom and Dad Will Just Barely Approve Of” by Klutz books. Whoopie cushion included. 😀

  3. Pingback: STA…storytellers anonymous | garyfultz

  4. But you never told us the name of the book or the author! How can we find it if we want to read it? 🙂

    • Whoops, sorry! I guess I wasn’t very clear on that one–It’s called “Tomfoolery: Trickery and Foolery with Words” and it’s BY Alvin Schwartz, though he didn’t write everything in it…a minor quibbling detail which I have now made into a major one. 🙂

      It’s not famous enough to get its own picture on Amazon, apparently… To me that’s a little more exciting that I know what it is. I hope you enjoy it! Thanks for reading!

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