Can you solve these brain-bending riddles?

Published on: 13 January 2021

The Graveyard Riddle author Lisa Thompson loves riddles... she's picked some of her favourites and even come up with some of her own for you to try! Why not have a go?

Riddles have been around for thousands of years and, just like our ancestors, a lot of us love trying to solve them. In ‘The Graveyard Riddle’, 13-year-old Melody Bird and her new friend Hal embark on unpicking some puzzling messages that they find hidden beside a gravestone.  They believe that the answers to these handwritten notes could lead them to a valuable, stolen necklace. They are their own little mysteries all wrapped up in a sentence or two and I hope my readers will try to solve them ahead of my characters!

While writing the book I delved into an encyclopaedia of riddles, searching for the perfect kind. I found some that dated back to the Anglo-Saxon period and, although they don’t quite work for today’s readers, are still ingenious. Like this one:

Q: No man I bite unless he bites me; many there are who do bite me.
A: An onion.

Another thing about riddles is that, although we want to solve them, it’s also incredibly satisfying to be surprised. To feel that sweet-spot of hearing an answer that we didn’t see coming. That, I think, makes the perfect riddle. Something solvable, but not completely obvious. This one you have probably heard a thousand times but the play on words is still very clever!

Q:  What’s black and white and red all over?
A:  A newspaper

And here are some easy ones of my own invention. The answers are at the bottom of the page... no cheating!

1. Sometimes I’m white. Sometimes I’m grey. When I appear I can darken your day.
2. I have a saddle and reins, a mane and a tail. You can climb onto my back but I can’t take you anywhere. Why is that? 
3. I have hundreds of leaves but I am not a tree. I have a spine but I’m not an animal. What am I?

Finally, here is one of my favourite riddles of all time. Every time I hear it it always makes me smile. It is so simple, yet so brilliant.

4. Say my name and I disappear. What am I?

How did you get on? We'd love to hear some of your favourite riddles - share them in the comments in below or Tweet us @BookTrust.

Follow Lisa on Twitter for updates on her newest book, The Graveyard Riddle.


1. A cloud

2. A carousel horse

3. A book

4. Silence

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