From the front matter (which isn’t to suggest that the front matters more than the middle or the rear, except that people usually see the front approaching and the rear passing, and these matters matter far more as the poems approach, and far less after they have passed):
Professor Percival P. Pennywhistle’s
Poems for the Precocious
(and their Parents*)
Professor Percival P. Pennywhistle, PhD
Forwards: Forwhom? Forwhat?
A note of welcome (and warning!) from Professor Percival P. Pennywhistle, PhD:
This book is for precocious pipsqueaks, preteens, and the pimply (and their parents).
To be precocious is to be both precious (to someone, surely; perhaps the someone who bought you this book?) and a friend to the oceans, which means you never eat tuna that may actually be made of dolphins (dolphins are our friends, but tuna fish are mean spirited and sullen, so we can eat them), and you recycle plastic bottles. It also means you are unusually wise for your age.
To be a “pipsqueak” is to be both pint-sized and picayune: insignificant enough that you disappear during parties and episodes of The Young and the Restless, but reappear at mealtimes and during serious meetings in the principal’s office. It also means you have the hiccups. . . .
There are three ways to enjoy these poems.
The first way to enjoy the poems is to read them. Sometimes the poems here are not funny, and sometimes they are a little funny, and sometimes they are very, very funny, and you are allowed to laugh uproariously (like a lion, but not a hungry one) when this happens, which means you should not read them in the library or at church. But mostly, they are just fun to read out loud, by yourself or with a friend or relative. If your relative is also friendly, then you have hit upon what psychologists call a “twofer.” Congratulations.
The second way to enjoy the poems is to look things up. This will happen in two cases. 1) Sometimes Professor Pennywhistle uses words that even the most precocious and least squeaky won’t know, in which case it is advisable to consult a dictionary. Don’t ask your dad. He doesn’t know. . . .
* This last is borrowed from the Latin “parentis,” loosely meaning “relatives,” which should account, eventually, for nearly every one on the planet. The particularly precocious will have heard the Latin phrase in loco parentis, which they will have been told means “in the place of parents (or, more loosely, ‘in the place of relatives’).” Do not be fooled. It means, quite simply, that your parents (or, more loosely, your relatives) are crazy. You already guessed this.
 In some countries, “footnotes” are no longer in use, since the metric system has the support of their presidents, prime ministers, and prima ballerinas. In these countries, “roughlythirtycentimetrenotes” are more common. Here, though, we just mean a note that gives helpful information, but is very polite and doesn’t want to interrupt the book while it’s talking.
These footnotes were also hand-typed because the professor’s toes are far too large to manage the keys on his keyboard. Furthermore, they are marked by Roman numerals, since using Cyrillic or Hindi numerals would have been showing off. But Professor Pennywhistle promises that the number of footnotes per page will never exceed iii, and will reset with each new page so that not even the pippiest of squeaks (or parents) will be too terribly taxed.
This page has the following sub pages.
- After the Jabberwock
- Simian Dreams I: Monkey Business
- Pirate Gray of Clement Bay
- Pants are Silly
- Cry, Baby
- Roast Lamb
- Doug the Curmudgeon
- What the Cat Dragged In
- Birds and Bees
- Simian Dreams II: Evolution Night at Jungle Jimmy’s
- The Many Deaths of Humpty Dumpty
- A Pair of Pips (trops petits pour une page propre)
- Friar Tuck and the Eggs Benedict
- Un pair, en plus, encore trops petites ces poemes, etc.
- Summing Down
- To Mater
- Jim Crackery
- A Word Puzzle
- Peanut Butter and Jelly Fish I
- Peanut Butter and Jelly Fish II
- Zigmund Freund
- Mutt the Custard
- Heather McWeather