by Lori Degman

Thanks, Tara, for letting me be a guest blogger for PiBoIdMo 2010! I was an avid follower last year and came away with more than thirty story ideas (some great, some not so great). It really jump-started my brain!

About a week ago, I sat down to write this post and drew a blank. I just couldnʼt come up with a good idea (pretty ironic, huh?). The next day, after the weather forecasters predicted record-breaking winds, I said to my husband, “That forecast sure was overblown.” When I stopped laughing (well after my husband), I realized I had found my topic—PUNS! Iʼm a sucker for a pun—good or bad—I just canʼt get enough of them!

Most puns just pop out of my mouth, without really thinking about them, but Iʼve learned how to purposely create puns, too—some of which have lead to funny, punny picture book stories! Though some puns go over childrenʼs heads, the adult readers catch them—and itʼs important to please your adult audience as well. After all, theyʼre the ones who will be reading your book again and again and again (hopefully)!

Here are some ways you can create puns—Iʼm sure there are tons more:

Put a twist on an idiom or slang phrase:

  • Mrs. OʼLearyʼs cow kicked the bucket.
  • Baking a pie is a piece of cake.
  • Being a vampire really sucks! (Not for kids, but I thought it was funny.)

Think of animals and related traits:

  • The cow was udderly delightful.
  • The elephant packed his trunk for a trip.
  • Having skunks for neighbors really stinks!

Make references to well-known fairy tale and nursery rhyme characters:

  • Maryʼs in trouble and now sheʼs on the lamb.
  • The Big Bad Wolf stomped off in a huff.
  • Mother Goose hatched a plot.

Any of these puns might make a great starting point for a story. I hope this gets your imagination off and punning (sorry)!

Lori Degman is a teacher of deaf and hard of hearing students. She currently lives in Vernon Hills with her husband, John and two sons, Sean, 24 and Brian, 21. Her first picture book, 1 Zany Zoo, was the winner of the 2008 Spoonfuls of Stories Contest and was released July 2010 by Simon & Schuster. For more punny stuff, visit her at loridegman.blogspot.com.