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Have Yourself a Punny Little Christmas: Word Play for the Holidays    by Richard Lederer order for
Have Yourself a Punny Little Christmas
by Richard Lederer
Order:  USA  Can
Gibbs Smith, 2006 (2006)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Richard Lederer, author of Get Thee to a Punnery, Puns Spooken Here, and a variety of other books that explore the quirks of the English language, now brings us puns for the holidays. Jim McLean's Christmas illustrations remind us of the context and add to the humor.

Lederer begins with The True Meaning of Christmas, summarizing its etymological roots (for example, did you know how the manger relates to the French verb to eat or that the word carol comes from a Greek dance?) He follows this fascinating introduction with A Stockingful of Christmas Puns, speaking of 'the time of year when mothers have to separate the men from the toys.' I rather like 'Who hides in a bakery at Christmas? A mince spy.' And the Knock-Knocks are great.

Next comes a fill-in-the-blanks Punderful Game, like 'An opinion poll in Alaska is called a __.' A Bloopered Christmas follows, including young scholars' strange versions of the Christmas story and of songs, including 'Later on we'll perspire, as we dream by the fire.' This is followed by a legal look at The Night Prior to Christmas - Clement Moore's poem as revised by the Grinch! Then The Abdominal Snowman makes puns out of Santa, his family, his reindeer ('every buck is deer to him') and his 'little Elvis'.

After that we get to groan at set ups for a Pun-thology of Holiday Songs, like 'chess nuts boasting in an open foyer'. I rather enjoyed the obfuscation in Name That Christmas Carol! (answers follow if needed). Finally, Lederer tells us about Robert Burns and Auld Lang Syne in ... And a Happy New Year, which offers variations like 'Happy Gnu Year!'

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