Hands went up all over the gym floor, and he called on them one by one. Author J. Patrick Lewis gently told each student their answer to his riddle was wrong until at last he came to one who was correct. Some of us never did get one right. That afternoon, he kept us guessing with clever riddles and poems from his more than 30 books for kids (all ages).
Lewis, a former Otterbein professor, who traveled from his home in Westerville, Ohio, to visit Columbiana’s Joshua Dixon Elementary, says he make about 50 such visits a year. In between these comes his business of writing, which he says is not easy. He works magic with words, using them in abstract ways to play with his readers. His works sell themselves, are printed in many languages, and distributed worldwide with many more to be published.
Finding his book, One Dog Day at the library, a middle – aged kid I know sat down at her kitchen table one winter afternoon and was so taken in that she didn’t start supper for her family until she’d finished reading it.
With a large and lavish ‘L’ for Lewis, he signed my copy of Boshblobberbosh, his 1998 collection of poems written for 19th century poet, Edward Lear (you know, “A was an ape who found some red tape…” and “The owl and the pussycat went to sea…”).
As I watched, I wished I could spend more time with this man who works with words and has such fun with them. This piece is just the one for Farm and Dairy readers to sample below.
MELISSA, MY COW
Melissa, my pet cow
could not be much wider.
I milk her each morning
till she’s three quarts lighter.
She moos as she chews
and she flyswats her tail.
Whenever she hits one
she misses the pail!
There is much more where that came from.
“Poetry is putting the best words in the best places,” Lewis says “It is ear candy” His is deliciously sweet.