April Fools Day celebrates pranks, hoaxes and silliness. Many people believe it originated from a line in “Nun’s Priest’s Tale.” This was the story of Chanticleer and the Fox in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (1392). Readers misunderstood a line to mean “32nd of March.” Chaucer’s poem was made into a book titled Chanticleer and the Fox, written and illustrated by Barbara Cooney. Her book won the 1959 Caldecott Medal.
Some fun April Fools pranks from The Top 100 April Fool’s Day Hoaxes of All Time:
* In 1915, during World War I, a French aviator flew over a German camp and dropped what appeared to be a huge bomb. German soldiers immediately scattered, but no explosion followed. Finally, the soldiers gingerly approached the bomb, only to discover it was just a large football with a note tied to it: “April Fool!”
* The BBC announced that Swiss farmers were enjoying a bumper spaghetti crop in 1957; the show included footage of Swiss peasants pulling strands of spaghetti down from trees. BBC’s instructions for growing a spaghetti tree: “place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best.”
* In 1975, an Australian news program reported that the country would soon be converting to “metric time.” Under the new system there would be 100 seconds to the minute, 100 minutes to the hour, and 20-hour days.
* A newspaper story ran in London in 1981 about a Japanese long-distance runner who had entered the London Marathon but, on account of a translation error, thought that he had to run for 26 days, not 26 miles. The runner was reported somewhere out on the roads of England, still running, determined to finish the race; even though various people had spotted him, they were unable to flag him down.
* The April 1998 issue of the New Mexicans for Science and Reason newsletter contained an article claiming that the Alabama state legislature had voted to change the value of the mathematical constant pi from 3.14159 to the ‘Biblical value’ of 3.0. This became an Internet sensation: the Alabama legislature soon began receiving hundreds of calls from people protesting the legislation.
April Fools Day is a perfect occasion to tell you more about my book, Zapped!
Inventing Stan was easy…
making Stan behave is impossible!
Kyle, the new kid at Buckley Elementary School, invents an imaginary scapegoat to deflect the blame for a prank that goes wrong in class. How perfect — the kids can play pranks and never get into trouble! When Stan takes on a life of his own, the kids get into more trouble than they ever imagined. The kids discover making Stan behave is impossible.
Children’s middle-grade fiction.
Audience: Ages 9-12.
Now for something real: On April 1, 2007, the first Diary of a Wimpy Kid book came out.