Sometimes, you get a lucky seat. I did! That's how poet and kids singer Mike Mennard describes the making of The Left-sock Tree, a collection of imaginative poems and drawings for kids. Mike Mennard, an associate professor of English and communication at Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska, just happened to sit next to noted artist Jim McClelland, professor of art at Union College. The reason they sat together? It was the annual academic meetings before the 2010-2011 school year. And, as often happens, creative people get bored in such meetings. Jim McClelland pulled out a Sharpie and began drawing cartoons on the paper tablecloth. Animals and dragons and caricatures popped up everywhere. Mennard sat shocked. He, like most of McClelland's colleagues, had only seen his oil paintings and watercolors, his detailed birds and landscapes. As the tablecloth ran wild with nonsensical creatures, Mennard watched excitedly, holding his small backpack that held a lifetime's worth of kids poems. And thus was born The Left-sock Tree, Mennard and McClelland s first book together but not their last! The book is a collection of kids poems in the tradition of Edward Lear, Spike Milligan, and Shel Silverstein. This is my life's dream, since I was a little boy, says Mennard. I have always loved kids poetry because there are no limits to the absurd. The only limits are the confines of good, fun, singable, and nonsensical poetry. McClelland adds that, Mike Mennard sparks the creativity inside of me. Their first book together is something kids, parents, teachers, and grandparents will love. It's bursting with pirates, spaceships, and outrageous adventures. In short, it's full of childlike imagination and we all need more of that.
Tags: Children's Books,