What was this half-remembered chapter book?
December 22, 2011 10:10 AM   Subscribe

What was this children's book--not The Phantom Tollbooth--about a game based on puns, spoonerisms, and other word games?

In the mid 1980s I read this book about a mischievous boy who exasperates everyone around him because of his love of word games and how he's always working them into conversations.

He gets sent to his room on the second story of his house and goes climbing down the trellis outside his window when the trellis breaks free of the wall. Then he's in a strange land where he has to play this game requiring him to come up with puns and spoonerisms and so forth to advance to the next stage. I think there's a part with a woman with two dogs and he uses them to come up with a spoonerism.

At the end he wants to play through the game again but is told that he can either play it again for all eternity or never play it again and go back home. He chooses to go back home, and wakes up in the hospital.

I've been looking for this book off and on for four or five years. I've tried various searches online, NoveList K-8, Children's Literature Database, and various books like Best Books for Children and have decided I'm probably not going to find it on my own.
posted by johnofjack to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Was there a math joke in it? Like a challenge towards the end where he had to make a joke about math and he was horrified because it was the one subject that he didn't think was funny?
posted by 8dot3 at 10:17 AM on December 22, 2011

Best answer: Big Joke Game by Scott Corbett. Sounds cool!
posted by Clustercuss at 10:19 AM on December 22, 2011

Response by poster: Amazing. You found it in nine minutes and (apparently) haven't read it. Clustercuss, I'm sure that's it--that author's name sounds awfully familiar. I need to work on my online searching....

8dot3, I don't remember if there was a math joke in it.
posted by johnofjack at 10:24 AM on December 22, 2011

I'm really bored at work today so thought I'd work on my Google skills ... :)
posted by Clustercuss at 10:25 AM on December 22, 2011

Response by poster: And there it is on the first page of results for book trellis fall spoonerism. Now I'm trying to remember what sort of searches I was doing that I didn't find it. ^__^

Thanks again--I've put in an ILL request for it.
posted by johnofjack at 10:28 AM on December 22, 2011

Response by poster: 8dot3, yes: I got the book and read it, and this is it. There was a challenge where he had to make a joke about math, but he didn't think math was funny.

I was not quite right about the dog & spoonerism: his first attempt--about a dog--failed because foreigners have to make spoonerisms that make sense, so then he used a woman carrying a cake and walking with a friend to make the spoonerism.
posted by johnofjack at 5:16 PM on December 31, 2011

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