Friday, April 13, 2012

L is for Limerick

By Niki Leonidou
L is for limerick. I've never written a limerick before so I asked my lovely, poetry critique partner Catherine Johnson, to come on my blog and tell us all about it. Catherine also has some exciting news to share with us. Read on to find out. The adorable illustration that you see to your left was drawn by Niki Leonidou. Thanks Catherine and Niki!

Catherine, why do you write poetry? 
I discovered poetry through writing rhyming picture book manuscripts, especially the zoo ones. Then I wrote a nature poem called The Ripple, shortly afterwards I did Month of Poetry with my lovely friend Kat Apel back in 2011.

What kind of poetry do you write? 
I have several serious poems published, but for the most part I love the children's silly ones. When else can you get away with being silly? :) 

What inspires you to write poetry? 
Well it's just something you have to do when you're a writer. My kids give me the best picture book ideas with their hilarious outbursts and quirky turns of phrase and reading great stories and poems too. Looking at beautiful pictures or scenery gets the creativity flowing for poems.  And then the crossover where I turn a picture book manuscript into a poem.

Who is your favourite poet? Why?
I love Shel Silverstein but I also have a lot of reading yet to do. I devour picture books, but I am catching up with poetry.

Do you have a favourite poem? 
Ooh this is a hard one. I don't know if I have an all-time favorite, but I do love Shel Silverstein's Me-Stew. It's very funny! 

A piece of advice you would like to share with your fellow poets? 
Let your mind wander wherever it wants to go and make sure you follow it with pen and paper in hand.

What other projects are you working on? 
I am writing a book of zoo poems, I also have several picture books in the works and a Middle grade book I'm working on. That's a pretty long pipe-line but I hope that some of these will escape into the wild one day.  I've been fortunate enough to read some of your funny zoo poems! 

Catherine tell us your exciting news, 
My shape poem about Shaun White will be published in Carol-Anne Hoyte and Heidi Bee Roemer's international sports anthology 'And the crowd goes wild' published by Friesens Press in Summer 2012. It is the first time I have really gone to town using metaphor in a poem, so I am really excited about it. Shaun White is so cool!

Thanks so much for having me here Rena, I'll have to have you over on my blog sometime. 
I would like that!

Tell us, what is a limerick? 
A Limerick is a witty, humorous or nonsense poem. It is five lines, with the first, second, and fifth lines rhyming with each other and the third and forth lines rhyming with each other. There are usually nine syllables in the first, second, and fifth lines and six syllables (or two feet with three syllables each).

It is believed that Limericks were named after the county of Limerick in Ireland and Edward Lear was famous for writing them. He wrote 212 of them, imagine! Yikes, I don't even one, but I will after today! 

Catherine has written a limerick for us! 

Leopard Limerick
The leopard, the lion and panther too
Were bored, so bored with the food at the zoo
So they made their escape
Making onlookers gape
"Yum, said the cats. Something new.

--Create a limerick about love. Or
--Use the illustration above to write a limerick. 

Feel free to share your poem in the comments below, on your own blog, or on the poetry Facebook page. 

--How to Write a Limerick
--Limericks for Kids 
--A limerick worksheet

If you liked this post please let others know. Tomorrow, I'll be talking about a famous poet. I hope you come back for that. 

I am a British ex-pat living in Canada who loves to write picture books and children's poems, especially silly ones.

To learn more about Catherine head over to wonderful and fun blog by clicking here

Niki Leonidou studied Visual Communication in the UK and has been working as a freelance illustrator since 2001. Her work has appeared in more than ninety books, published both in Greece and U.S.A. Most of them are picture books, book jackets, educational books and magazines. Niki's dream is that every single child on earth will be able to travel through books one day. To see more of her illustrations head over to website by clicking here


  1. Thanks for sharing with us Catherine and congratulations on your Shape Poem! Shaun White is awesome!

    1. I forgot to mention Niki's illustration is really cute. It looks mixed media. :)

      Here is my attempt at a Limerick:

      The Goofy Heart

      I tried to show her my goofy heart.
      My life on stage was a work of art.
      Jokes I gave full of love.
      Painted face, not proud of.
      Clowns weren’t her thing so we had to part.

    2. Nice. I can just see this clown tumbling all over the stage trying to entertain a crying child.

      Clowns creep me out even the funny ones.

    3. I love clowns and I love your limerick!

  2. Thanks so much for having me on your blog Rena and thanks Jennifer!

    1. Thanks for helping me out and congrats again on the poem! I do love the little girl with her bear.

  3. I love limericks! Give them a try. I'm trying to visit all the A-Z Challenge Blogs this month.

    1. Good luck! There is no way I'll have the time to visit them all. Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Great interview, Catherine! My one and only published picture book is a rhymer about the Zoo! We could do a zoo tour together!!

    Another great challenge, Rena! I should have seen limericks coming - duh! I did manage to come up with one and I have to post it now because I'm having a jewelry party for my sister (she makes it) and i'll be busy all night! It's short so I'll post it here:

    L is for Limerick
    I'm such an habitual rhymer,
    I’m also a big wisenheimer,
    I’m just a joke cracker,
    A really talk-backer,
    So people wish I was a mimer!

    1. Have fun at the party. I do hope Catherine gets the opportunity to publish her zoo poems as they are hoot and half.

      Nice limerick! I'm a bit of talk backer.

  5. Mine's up! I had a day in the I went overboard...what else was there to do but go overboard. I hope ya'll aren't over-bored.

    Many thanks to Rena and Catherine for today's challenge.

    1. I would never be bored of your poetry. You are funny lady.

  6. Catherine, I love your limerick and huge congratulations on your Shape Poem!

    Love Niki's illustration!

    1. Niki's drawing reminds me of the polar bear teddy I had as a kid. My teddy now sits on a shelf above my desk.

  7. Fun interview, Catherine and Rena (and funny limerick, too)!

    Here's one:

    A horse by the name of Kerplunk
    had a wee problem -- he stunk!
    He put on a diaper
    and used a bum-wiper
    but nothing could unstink his funk.

    I have no idea where that came from or what it means. I apologize.

  8. Catherine your lip licking leopard limerick was a laugh out loud read. So funny! Congratulations on your book! Rena, I am so glad that one of your standard questions is, "What advice would you give?" Additionally, it is interesting to find out what inspires other writers. Enjoyed the post!

  9. Great limerick, Catherine! I am about to go attempt mine.... :)

    Thanks Rena for bringing us a wonderful interview with the lovely Catherine.


Thanks for your comments. Remember to keep them kid friendly.