Earlier, Twig said something like, "What did I do with the cup?"

And I had a flashback, as often happens when people ask questions of that form, to Scott Corbett's 1964 kids' book The Limerick Trick.

It's part of a series of books, all with "Trick" in the title: The Lemonade Trick, The Disappearing Dog Trick, The Hockey Trick, etc. In the first one, a boy helps out a woman who's out for her evening constitutional (the first place I ever encountered that word), and she turns out to be a witch; she gives him a magic chemistry set, which leads him into (and gets him out of) all sorts of trouble.

In The Limerick Trick, the kid does something with the chemistry set that results in his speaking entirely in limericks. At one point, his mother (I think) asks him, "What did you do with the glue?"

To which the boy replies:

Well, what did you want me to do?

I spread it on bread,

And I stood on my head,

And I ate it, and slowly turned blue!

And even now, maybe 30 years after having last read the book, almost any time that someone asks a question of the form "What did you do with the [whatever]?" (or similar variations), that verse pops into my head.

I'm sorry to see that Corbett died a couple years back. And a little surprised; I hadn't encountered his name in so long that, if I'd thought about it, I would have assumed he'd died long ago.

4 Responses to “Limerick”

  1. Vardibidian

    Wow. I loved those books, and when I went looking for them a year or two ago, the only information I could dredge out of my memory was “magic chemistry set” and “constitutional”. I had a vague sense that they were by the same person who wrote Half Magic, who turns out to be Edward Eager, who did not write the books about the magic chemistry set. So thanks for the titles and the names.

    Sadly, my local library system doesn’t have the books. They’re still in print, or at least the first one is. I could ILL it, but perhaps I should just spend the five bucks.


  2. Jay Hartman

    Trick Series = Great books! I too remember “constitutional.”

  3. kairon_gnothi

    Never heard of a guy named Corbett,
    I ain’t read The Limerick yet.
    That’d be quite a trick
    For rhyme schemes to stick
    From inhaling a chemistry set.

  4. Vardibidian

    Having now re-read the book, I can confirm that it is his mother that asks for the glue. The boy, aware of the Limerick Trick at that point, goes into his room and closes the door to spout the rhymes, then comes back out with the glue pot.



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