J. Patrick Lewis earned his Ph.D. in Economics at The Ohio State University (1974) and taught at Otterbein College in Westerville, Ohio until 1998. Lewis has published extensively in the field of Economics. His articles and reviews have appeared in numerous academic journals, as well as The Nation, The Progressive, Technology Review, and other newspapers and magazines. Lewis was commissioned to write the 1992 National Children’s Book Week poem, which was printed on one million bookmarks and distributed nationally. He was named the U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate in 2011. Pat now lives in Chagrin Falls, Ohio with his wife and two stepchildren. He visits over 50 schools a year and loves sharing his stories, poetry and humor with students.
Edgar Allan Poe’s Apple Pie: Math Puzzlers in Classic Poems
J. Patrick Lewis
Illustrated by Michael H. Slack
These parodies of classic poems will prove intriguing for both poetry lovers and math enthusiasts. Fifteen poems have been rewritten to include math puzzles. “Edgar Allan Poe’s Apple Pie” begins “Once upon a midnight rotten,/Cold, and rainy, I’d forgotten/All about the apple pie.” The question is how many cuts to give ten pieces. “Edward Lear’s Elephant with Hot Dog” challenges the reader to order half of a third of a quarter of an eightyfoot bun. Poems from Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Lewis Carroll, Hilaire Belloc, Robert Frost, Eleanor Farjeon, A. A. Milne, Ogden Nash, Langston Hughes, and others are included. Fortunately, the answers to the math puzzles appear (upside down) on the page facing each poem. Colorful, cartoonlike illustrations add to the humor. The last two pages present a picture (also cartoonlike) and a short biography for each featured poet. Language arts and math teachers will enjoy using this book with students. 2012, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Ages 11 to 15, $16.99. Reviewer: Phyllis Kennemer (Children’s Literature).
The Fantastic 5 & 10 Store: A Rebus Adventure
J. Patrick Lewis
Illustrated by Valorie Fisher
A wild adventure waits inside the doors of the Five and Dime. When Benny Penny steps inside he is greeted by Mr. Nickel and Miss Dime who explain they have not had customers in a very long time. Benny is amazed to see a toaster with flamingo wings flying overhead and two nails waiting to hit a hammer on the head. A calendar jumps off the wall (it is leap year) and the ketchup and mustard bottles have flipped their lids. A race between Teapot and Pot has a cheering section made up of a flag and a balloon. When Mr. Nickel and Miss Dime decry their lack of customers, Benny Penny has an idea to hang twinkling lights outside the door to welcome customers. Now customers flock to The Penny Nickel Dime. The rhyming rebus text combines pictures and words, and it may be difficult for youngsters to read on the first go round. However, with the help of the poem appended to the story, they should have a more fluent read the second time through. The computer-generated illustrations are filled with whimsy and nostalgia that will cause readers to pause and go over every detail. The faded yellow endpapers are reproductions from a catalog from years gone by with great bargains like a kitchen clock for $1.69 and a modern electric toaster for 94 cents (regular price $1.09). The nonsense of the poem and illustrations should elicit giggles, and it may encourage children to try creating a rebus of their own. 2010, Schwartz & Wade Books, $17.99. Ages 5 to 9. Reviewer: Beverley Fahey (Children’s Literature).
Tugg and Teeny
J. Patrick Lewis
Illustrated by Christopher Denise
Tugg is a gorilla and his best friend Teeny is a monkey and just as they are opposites in size they are opposites in personalities. Teeny is the inquisitive one and Tugg is rock solid steady, willing to do what he can to help his friend Teeny find answers and solve problems. While walking in the jungle Teeny hears the birds and remarks that it would be wonderful to make sounds like they do. Tug decides to help his friend and when he finds a bamboo flute he puts it where Teeny can find it. After much practice, Teeny learns to make beautiful music. In the next story Teeny sees some pictures made by Violet, the warthog, and decides that she is going to try her hand at painting. Kids will enjoy looking at the final product. Later at home Teeny writes a poem and after much struggling manages to create a haiku and after receiving accolades from her friends titles a new poem that segues into future stories about this unlikely pair of friends. This book is part of a new series “I am a Reader!” targeted to kids who are indeed readers–Lexile Measure 480L and a word count of 1100. The publisher also offers information on its web site www.sleepingbearpress.com 2011, Sleeping Bear Press, $3.99. Ages 7 to 8. Reviewer: Marilyn Courtot (Children’s Literature).
J. Patrick Lewis’ school presentations are designed for students grades K-5. Additionally, he will present to parent groups or conferences. He feels that the purpose of a school visit is to get children excited about the wonders of poetry–experiencing literature–is the reason he visit schools in the first place. So students can expect to hear a lot of poetry reading–not stuffy verse. Poetry that is fun and respects the music of the written word. Poems about animals, nature, people, holidays–everything under the sun (and some things beyond)–including limericks, haiku, riddles, shape poems, narrative poems, song lyrics and nonsense verse. He talks to students about where he gets his ideas and how books are published. He shares all the steps necessary to getting started with a book and how involved the rewriting process is.
To learn more about J. Patrick Lewis and his publications please visit www.jpatricklewis.com.