Pun and Games: Jokes, Riddles, Daffynitions, Tairy Fales, Rhymes, and More Word Play for Kids

Pun and Games: Jokes, Riddles, Daffynitions, Tairy Fales, Rhymes, and More Word Play for Kids

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Introduces the wacky world of wordplay with puns, spoonerisms, games of word substitution, and more.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781556522642
Publisher: Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 06/01/1996
Edition description: 1st ed
Pages: 112
Sales rank: 1,183,132
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range: 10 - 18 Years

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Pun and Games

Jokes, Riddles, Daffynitions, Tairy Fales, Rhymes, and More Wordplay for Kids

By Richard Lederer, Dave Morice

Chicago Review Press Incorporated

Copyright © 1996 Richard Lederer
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-61374-628-8


1 It's a Punderful Life

Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn't fuzzy, was he?

Language is fun. Everyone who speaks and listens and reads and writes is involved with the natural playfulness of language. Much of that play takes the form of punning, as in this verse, which has fun with the two meanings of the word weather and its similarity in sound to whether:

Whether the weather is good,
Or whether the weather is not;
Whether the weather is cold,
Or whether the weather is hot;
We'll weather the weather,
Whatever the weather,
Whether we like it or not!

You have been speaking, hearing, and reading puns most of your life. When you were very young, you probably chanted songs like

Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear.
Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair.
Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn't fuzzy, was he?


A sailor went to C-C-C,
To see what he could C-C-C,
But all that he could C-C-C
Was the bottom of a great blue C-C-C.

These verses are children's first attempts to put into memorable form their pleasure in discovering that the same sound can suggest two or three different meanings — Wuzzy and was he; C, sea, and see.

Words and sounds that spark forth two or more meanings are called puns. A pun has been defined as a play upon words, a play upun words, and a prey upon words.

Unless you were raised as a hermit (or, if you are a boy, a hismit), you probably recognize many of these traditional riddles:

What's black and white and red (read) all over?

A newspaper.

What did the letter say to the stamp?

Stick with me and we'll go places.

What kind of shoes are made from banana skins?


What kind of rooms have no walls?


How do you know when it's raining cats and dogs?

When you step in a poodle.

How do you know when it's raining cats and dogs?

When is a door not a door?

When it's ajar.

What happened to the boy who drank 8 Cokes?

He burped 7-Up.

Pun Fun

Here's a game riddled with punch lines. Guess the punch lines to these popular Silly Billy jokes. You'll find the answers to all questions in this book at the end of each chapter.

1. Why did Silly Billy throw the clock out the window?
He wanted to see time ______.
2. Why did Silly Billy throw the butter out the window?
He wanted to see butter ______.
3. Why did Silly Billy take a ladder to the ball park?
He wanted to see the ______ play.
4. Why did Silly Billy tiptoe past the medicine cabinet?
He didn't want to wake up the ______ pills.
5. Why did Silly Billy jump off the Empire State Building?
He wanted to make a ______ ______ on Broadway.

Now, without any clues, try to guess the answers to these elephant jokes:

6. Where do elephants store their clothes?
7. How do you make an elephant float?
8. What happens to a grape when an elephant steps on it?
9. How can you stop an elephant from charging?
10. Who are the two most famous elephant singers?

Here are fifteen posters and placards that have appeared around the world. They are all signs of our times, times in which we human beings love to fiddle with words and to laugh at the loony tunes that such fiddling produces:

At a tire store: Time to re-tire.
Over a display of batteries: Wanna start something?
In a music store window: Guitars for sale. Cheap. No strings attached.
In a pet store window: Merry Christmas and a Yappy New Year.
On a peanut stand: If our peanuts were any fresher, they'd be insulting.
In an ice cream and dairy store: You can't beat our milk shakes, but you can whip our cream and lick our ice-cream cones.
In a shoe store: Come in and have a fit.
In a real estate office: Get lots for little.
In a butcher shop window: Never a bum steer.
At a poultry farm: Better laid than ever.
On a southern street: No U-all turns.
Over a bargain basement counter: What you seize is what you get.
In a beauty parlor: Curl up and dye.
In a restaurant: Don't stand outside and be miserable. Come inside and be fed up.
In a delicatessen: Protect your bagels. Put lox on them.

Lighten up your garden. Plant ______.

Pun Fun

Here are ten more real signs. Supply the missing words.

11. On a diaper service truck: Rock a ______ baby.
12. At a planetarium: Cast of thousands. Every one a ______.
13. On the wall of a dentist's office: Always be true to your teeth, or they will be ______ to you.
14. Outside an optician's shop: ______ for sore eyes.
15. In the window of a watch repair shop: If it doesn't tick, ______ to us.
16. In a jewelry store: There's no present like the ______.
17. In a billiard parlor window: Try our indoor ______.
18. At a tire store: We ______ you not.
19. In a garden shop: Lighten up your garden. Plant ______.
20. In a reducing salon: Only 24 ______ days till Christmas.

Your Turn

Make up some punny signs for a laundry, a restaurant, a candy store, or any other place of business.

Answers to Riddles and Signs

Silly Billy jokes: 1. fly 2. fly 3. Giants 4. sleeping 5. smash hit

Elephant jokes: 6. In their trunks 7. Use a scoop of ice cream, some root beer, and an elephant. 8. It lets out a little whine. 9. Take away its credit card. 10. Harry Elephante and Elephant Gerald

Punny signs: 11. dry 12. star 13. false 14. Site 15. tock 16. time 17. pool 18. skid 19. bulbs 20. shaping


2 Homographs at Play

To a bowler, a _________ is knocking down all the pins.

After eating a meal at a restaurant, what did the duck say to the waiter?

"Put it on my bill."

What did Samson die of?

Fallen arches.

What is six feet long, green, and has two tongues?

The Jolly Green Giant's sneakers.

What is the favorite part of a road for a vampire?

The main artery.

Out on the ocean, a ship carrying red paint collided with another ship carrying blue paint. What happened to the crews?

They got marooned.

In each of these examples, the key words — bill, arches, tongues, artery, and marooned — spark forth two meanings:

In the first riddle, bill means both a statement of payment and a bird's nose.

In the second riddle, arches means both the curved support of a building and the curved support of a foot.

In the third riddle, tongues are parts of sneakers and parts of mouths.

In the fourth riddle, an artery is a main part of a highway and a main channel for blood.

In the fifth riddle, marooned means to be lost at sea and to be made purple.

Punning is largely the trick of packing two or more ideas into a single word or expression. Punning challenges us to apply the greatest pressure per square syllable of language. Punning surprises us by laughing at the law of nature that pretends that two things can't occupy the same space at the same time. Punning is an exercise of the mind at being concise.

The more we play with words, the more we find that most of them possess more than one meaning. Because words are alive, they refuse to sit still. As they grow older, they gather new meanings. Words wander wondrously.

The most basic form of punning springs from a single word that generates two or more different meanings. If those meanings spring from the same spelling, the pun is called a homograph (from the Greek, meaning "same writing"). A good pun is like a good steak — a rare medium well done!

Pun Fun

To sharpen your awareness of multiple meanings springing from a single spelling, try your hand and imagination at playing two games of homograph puns. After you have done your best, check the answers at the end of this chapter.

In each cluster of sentences below, identify the single word that can occupy each blank.

1. To a car owner, a ______ is a space for storage.
To a zookeeper, a ______ is an elephant's appendage.
To a forester, a ______ is the main support of a tree.
To a doctor, a ______ is a human torso.
To a traveler, a ______ is a portable box to put things in.
2. To a jeweler, a ______ is a circular band.
To someone answering the telephone, a ______ is an audible signal.
To a boxer, a ______ is an enclosure to fight in.
To an astronomer, a ______ is a circle of matter surrounding a heavenly body.
3. To most of us, a ______ is something at the end of our arm.
To a ship's captain, a ______ is a crew member.
To an entertainer, a ______ is a round of applause.
To a clock maker, a ______ is a pointer on a dial.
To a horse trainer, a ______ is a measurement of height.

To a ship's captain, a ______ is a crew member.

4. To a collector, a ______ is a number of things of the same kind.
To a movie director, a ______ is the scene for a production.
To a beautician, a ______ is an arrangement of hair.
To a musician, a ______ is a session of music.
To a tennis player, a ______ is a portion of a match.
5. To a baseball player, a ______ is a missed pitch.
To a bowler, a ______ is knocking down all ten pins.
To an employer, a ______ is a stopping of work on purpose.
To a fisherman or fisherwoman, a ______ is a pull on the line.
To a prospector, a ______ is a valuable discovery.
To a play producer, a ______ is taking down a set.

Your Turn

List five words that have at least three meanings. Using those words, make up five homograph riddles.

Pun Fun

Now here's another game of fun with homographs. In each blank below, insert a word that means the same as the words that come before and after. The dashes indicate the number of letters in each missing word.

6. spinning toy __ __ __ summit
7. flying mammal __ __ __ baseball equipment
8. spheroid __ __ __ __ dance
9. gasps __ __ __ __ __ trousers
10. plunge __ __ __ __ season of the year
11. wound coil __ __ __ __ __ __ season of the year
12. strange __ __ __ not even
13. student __ __ __ __ __ part of the eye
14. whip __ __ __ __ part of the eye
15. remainder __ __ __ __ relaxation
16. deep hole __ __ __ fruit stone
17. to close __ __ __ __ sea lion
18. playing area __ __ __ __ __ hall of justice
19. without cost __ __ __ __ liberate
20. coins __ __ __ __ __ __ alter
21. hurler __ __ __ __ __ __ __ container of liquid
22. even contest __ __ __ neckwear
23. king or queen __ __ __ __ __ measuring stick
24. jelly __ __ __ blockage
25. a flavor __ __ __ __ money factory

King or queen _ _ _ _ _ measuring stick.

Your Turn

Add five more questions to the list above. Quiz your classmates or friends.

Pun Fun

These days, if you ask people, "How's business?" they may answer you according to their profession.

"How's business?"

Pilot: "Up in the air."
Student: "It puts me to the test."
Plumber: "It's going down the drain."
Mountaineer: "Looking up."
Carpenter: "Groovy."
Restaurant owner: "It's from hunger."
Exterminator: "It's bugging me."
Elevator manufacturer: "It has its ups and downs."
Watch repairman: "Times are changing."
Skier: "It's all downhill from here."
Dietician: "Sometimes thick, sometimes thin."
Oil driller: "I'm getting in deeper and deeper."
Mint operator: "I'm making a lot of money."
Blacksmith: "I've got too many irons in the fire."

Your Turn

Make up another question that inspires at least five punny answers. Examples:

How do you feel?
How do I love thee?
How's the weather?
What's your favorite food?

"How do I love thee? Let me COUNT the ways."

Answers to Homographs 1. trunk 2. ring 3. hand 4. set 5. strike 6. top 7. bat 8. ball 9. pants 10. fall 11. spring 12. odd 13. pupil 14. lash 15. rest 16. pit 17. seal 18. court 19. free 20. change 21. pitcher 22. tie 23. ruler 24. jam 25. mint


3 Calling on the Homophone

What do you call an insect relative?

Perhaps the most popular of all children's riddles is "What's black and white and red (read) all over? A newspaper." Here the play of words is on red and read, which sound the same but are spelled differently.

Many Americans grow up also reciting a version of this rhyme:

How much wood would a woodchuck chuck
If a woodchuck could chuck wood?
A woodchuck would chuck
All the wood that a woodchuck could chuck
If a woodchuck could chuck wood.

The delight and popularity of this little verse can be explained by the lively rhythms, the clever rhyming of woodchuck and could chuck, and the pun on woodchuck and would chuck, which, again, sound the same but are spelled differently.

When two or more words are spelled differently but have the same sound, they are called homophones (from the Greek, meaning "same sound"). Here are examples of homophonic jokes:

Seven days without laughing make one weak.
A baker quit making doughnuts because he got tired of the hole business.
I'm on a seafood diet. Every time I see food, I eat it.
When the glassblower accidentally inhaled, he ended up with a pane in his stomach.

A tutor who tooted the flute
Tried to tutor two tooters to toot.
Said the two to the tutor,
"Is it easier to toot or
To tutor two tutors to toot?"

In these homophonic riddles, the words with different spelling but identical sound are

weak and week
hole and whole
seafood and see food
pane and pain
to and two, tutor and tooter

Here are some rare triple plays that take delight with homophones: A man gave his sons a cattle ranch and named it Focus because it was a spot where the sons raise meat.

the sun's rays meet.

A man was a successful perfume manufacturer. His business made a lot of sense.

Pun Fun

What do you call a naked grizzly?

A bare bear.

Riddles like this are designed to open your eyes and ears to the joys of homophones. Each of the following clues should lead you to an answer consisting of two homophones. The first dozen items involve members of the animal kingdom.

What do you call

1. a pony with a sore throat?
2. a smelly chicken?
3. bunny fur?
4. an insect relative?
5. a cry from a large, sea–going mammal?
6. a fighting ape?
7. a precious buck?
8. a dragged cousin of the frog?
9. an inexpensive chick's cry?
10. smoked salmon's fastenings?
11. a recently acquired antelope?
12. an antlered animal's dessert?

Now try to come up with homophone pairs that do not involve animals.
What do you call a braver rock?

A bolder boulder.

What do you call

13. a late weekend ice-cream treat?
14. a wan bucket?
15. a simple, unadorned airliner?
16. a double sword fight?
17. dungarees for chromosomes?
18. a basement salesperson?
19. an entire burrow?
20. boat canvas bargains?
21. a sugary collection of rooms?
22. a hurled royal chair?
23. a spun globe?
24. a corridor on an island?
25. a conceited blood channel?
26. a young coal digger?
27. an odd marketplace?
28. unmoving writing paper?
29. an uninterested plank of wood?
30. a renter's boundary?

Your Turn

Make up five questions that begin with "What do you call?" Each answer should include a pair of homophones.

What do you call a braver rock?

Answers to Homophones

1. a hoarse horse 2. a foul fowl 3. hare hair 4. an ant aunt 5. a whale wail 6. a gorilla guerrilla 7. a dear deer 8. a towed toad 9. a cheap cheep 10. lox locks 11. a new gnu 12. moose mousse

13. a Sunday sundae 14. a pale pail 15. a plain plane 16. a dual duel 17. genes' jeans 18. a cellar seller 19. a whole hole 20. sails sales 21. a sweet suite 22. a thrown throne 23. a whirled world 24. an isle aisle 25. a vain vein 26. a minor miner 27. a bizarre bazaar 28. stationary stationery 29. a bored board 30. a boarder border


Excerpted from Pun and Games by Richard Lederer, Dave Morice. Copyright © 1996 Richard Lederer. Excerpted by permission of Chicago Review Press Incorporated.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Title Page,
Copyright Page,
1 It's a Punderful Life,
2 Homographs at Play,
3 Calling on the Homophone,
4 Double Plays,
5 Have You Ever Seen a Home Run?,
6 Four Cheers Five Inflationary Language,
7 "Let's Play a Game," Said Tom Swiftly,
8 A Bazaar Tail,
9 Licensed 2 Pun,
10 Puns That Babylon,
11 Pun Your Way Success,
12 A Daffynitions fictionary,
13 Furry Tells end Noisier Rams,
14 Silver Spoonerisms,
15 What's the Difference?,
16 Tairy Fales,
About the Author,

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