Smart Aleck's Guide to Naughty Playground Songs and Children's Folklore


The staff who brought you the acclaimed SMART ALECK'S GUIDE TO AMERICAN HISTORY (Random House 2009) is back with a look at the history of the songs and jokes you repeated when the teacher wasn't around, from Miss Suzy and her steam boat to the numerous songs about killing teachers, eating underwear, and coming down with the case of diarrhea, with an additional look at the dirty jokes, ghost stories, pranks and customs that have been passed from kid to kid for generations. Tracing many songs back hundreds of years (while debunking myths about the "origins" of others) using data from their popular PLAYGROUND JUNGLE blog, the guide is fascinating, hilarious, and will bring back memories for everyone. Those jokes are older than you thought! 

With their usual "brainy but lighthearted" approach, theSmart Aleck Staff's latest guide includes fascinating looks at the history and mythology surrounding "Miss Mary Mack," "Miss Suzy Had a Steamboat," "Me Chinese," "A Boy's Occupation," "Ring Around the Rosie" (which was not about the plague, but may have been about a prostitute), and dozens more, examining their variations, evolution, and origins in soldier slang, 18th century tavern songs and ancient folk ballads.

In addition to rhymes, songs, and jokes, the staff delves into customs like "Jinx," "Light as a Feather Stiff as a Board," and "Cooties," as well as section on "wicked four square moves," with side trips along the way into the evolution of the word "poop," the various synonyms for "level" used by video game players in the '80s, and the history of fart jokes, plus the staff's trademark hilarious "assignments" and "experiments to try at home." A fascinating history lesson and a great nostalgia trip for children of the 80s, in particular, though it' will surely bring back memories for anyone who ever spent any time at a school or camp.

This full-length (over 50,000 words) ebook contains an active table of contents, active internal links, and a handy active index of first lines, as well as an appendix full of original songs such as "Drink Your Juice (or You'll Get Scurvy)" and "Glumpy, The Elf Who Sawed His Leg Off." A wonderful resource for writers - or anyone who wants to be the hit of their next party.

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