The best-selling Rhyme & Punishment: Adventures in Wordplay

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THIS PAGE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK j Millbrook Press / Minneapolis 1 Text copyright © 2006 by Brian P. Cleary Illustrations copyright © 2006 by J. P. Sandy All rights reserved. International copyright secured. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise—without the prior written permission of Lerner Publishing Group, except for the inclusion of brief quotations in an acknowledged review. Millbrook Press A division of Lerner Publishing Group 241 First Avenue North Minneapolis, MN 55401 U.S.A. Website address: Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Cleary, Brian P., 1959– Rhyme and punishment : adventures in wordplay / by Brian P. Cleary ; illustrated by J. P. Sandy. p. cm. eISBN-13: 978–0–8225–6537–6 eISBN-10: 0–8225–6537–4 1. Children’s poetry, American. 2. Puns and punning—Juvenile literature. I. Sandy, J. P. II. Title. PS3553.L39144R49 2006 811'.54—dc22 2003004517 Manufactured in the United States of America 1 2 3 4 5 6 – DP – 11 10 09 08 07 06 2 To my sister, Liz —B. P. C. To Joyce, Eric, and Michael —J. P. S. 3 What is a PUN ? A pun is a little verbal joke—a “twist” or a “play” on words. The simplest puns sound like a word of similar pronunciation but different spelling. When people realize that the word can be heard or understood in two different ways, it makes them laugh and sometimes roll their eyes and groan, as in this one: Seven days without ice cream makes one weak. Are you able to see the wordplay, or pun, in that sentence? A more complex type of pun involves a word that sounds like a whole phrase or part of a phrase, as in “Jamaica sandwich?” What five-word sentence does that phrase sound like? If you guessed, “Did you make a sandwich?” then you’re thinking punny already! See how you magically turned two words into five by hearing them differently? What is the pun or word joke in the phrase, “Give me Bach my Schubert”? That’s right: “Give me back my shoe, Bert.” Puns are more common than you think. They are usually the star feature in a knock-knock joke, like this one: Knock, knock! Who’s there? Wendy. Wendy who? Wendy ya think we’ll eat? I’m hungry! Sometimes you bump into a pun by accident. Once when I was in 5th grade, our teacher was commenting on a car horn we’d heard from the parking lot. It had an unusual sound, so she said, “Somebody has a unique horn out there.” What I heard was “Somebody has a unicorn out there.” 4 Puns often stretch or bend the pronunciation of a word for the sake of a laugh. If you’re having trouble figuring out a pun, just stop and sound out the syllables in front of you, asking yourself, “what other word does this sound like?” Sometimes it helps to say the word or phrase out loud. Often you will uncover the pun right there. When I was young, I tried to uncover puns by using what I now know is called context. That means I looked carefully at the words surrounding the pun and tried to place a word or phrase that would logically make sense there, sounding something like the word or phrase I was trying to decode. It also helps to write out the phrase on paper like this: You never SAUSAGE love. To figure this out, you can list words that look or sound a little like the pun. (For instance, “sauce itch” doesn’t make sense, but “saw such” does.) You can also figure out a pun by reading a sentence quickly or trying to emphasize different syllables. As you’re reading this book, if you come across a word that you’ve never seen before or that you’re not sure how to pronounce, look to the bottom of the page for my handy “pun-unciation” guide, then sound it out. When I set out to write the puns in this book, I read books on each topic (like animals and geography) and made a list of the words that sound like other words and phrases. For example, in the geography section, I saw the word “Cuba” on a map, and I wrote in my notes “Cuba sugar,” because it sounds like “cube of sugar.” Once you learn the trick of figuring out puns, try making up a few yourself. If you try one out on your dad or your teacher and you get a loud groan, you know you’ve got a good one! PUN Let the ishment begin … 6 {Going for Baroque} 7 My buddy Bert likes Haydn things— he’s sometimes hard to Handel. I said, “Give me Bach my Schubert,” ’cause I knew he hid my sandal. Haydn (HY-den) is the last name of the Austrian classical music composer Franz Joseph Haydn, who lived from 1732 to 1809. Handel and Bach (rhymes with “rock”) are the last names of George Frideric Handel and Johann Sebastian Bach, two composers who were born in Germany in the very same year, 1685. Schubert (SHOO-bert) is the last name of the Austrian composer Franz Schubert, who played violin and piano. He lived from 1797 to 1828. 8
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