Interview with LW Lewis, author of “Poodles, Tigers, Monsters & You”

LW Lewis was born in 1942. He has a bachelor’s degree in zoology from the University of Miami (1964) and an MBA from Oklahoma City University (1978). He is a retired Air Force officer. As a navigator, he flew B-52s in Vietnam. As a fighter pilot, he flew A-7s with the Flying Tigers. He was also a United States Air Force instructor pilot. He served as a consultant to the US Army in Alaska from 1982 to 1986. During this tour of duty he became a master parachutist with 269 parachute jumps.

Lewis now writes poetry for children. In addition to performing poetry at many schools, Mr. Lewis has performed at various comedy clubs including the Blue Katz Club in Knoxville, TN and the Comedy Zone in Jacksonville, FL. The material of it is essentially the same for adults and children. His work is written “through the eyes of a child” and celebrates the innocence and imperfection of children everywhere. He is a single father who raised three daughters.

Tyler: Welcome Leonard. I’m glad you could join me today. To start off, could you tell us a bit about your new children’s book “Poodles, Tigers, Monsters, and You” and why you think it will appeal to children?

Leonard: “Poodles, Tigers, Monsters & You” is humorous poetry. Although marketed for children, the mix is ​​50/50 with adults buying the book for themselves. Its appeal is the rhyme, humor and brevity of each poem. I get letters from readers with ADD and ADHD who love the book. I have also received several letters from people with autistic children who love the book. In the case of autistic children, it is the illustrations that attract.

Tyler: Leonard, why are you interested in creating nursery rhymes? What benefit do you think reading rhymes has for children?

Leonard: Rhymes help children to read. If they like the poem, they will quickly remember it. This allows them to read aloud to others and builds confidence in reading skills.

Tyler: Would you compare your writing to other popular children’s rhyme writers like Dr. Seuss or Shel Silverstein?

Leonard: A lot of people have told me that I remind them of Dr. Seuss. I myself do not see the similarity. Most reviews compare my work to that of Shel Silverstein. Although my style is somewhat different, I see the similarity.

Tyler: Did you have any influence from other children’s writers? What were your favorite books when you were a child?

Leonard: I didn’t read much when I was a kid. I had a sixth grade teacher who sparked my interest in poetry. From that moment I became a reader. In high school I mainly read Edgar Rice Burroughs and HG Wells.

Tyler: What distinguishes your book from other children’s books that are poetic?

Leonard: Humor doesn’t patronize children. I write on an adult level.

Tyler: Why did you decide to write poems for children? Does that seem like an odd choice considering your military background?

Leonard: Just because you’re in the military doesn’t mean you don’t have a sense of humor. I have always loved poetry and would write funny poems to my children when I was away.

Tyler: What was the first thing that made you start writing poetry?

Leonard: Shel Silverstein did. He was reading “A Light in the Attic” to my children. My sense of humor is a bit like his, so I started writing to my kids. Some of the poems made it to school and the children ate them. This inspired me to keep writing.

Tyler: What do your kids think of you being a poet? I guess they are adults now, but are any of your published poems the ones you originally wrote for them?

Leonard: I don’t think they consider me a poet. I was a military officer for most of their lives. I think they consider me a retired officer who writes poetry. They are my harshest critics.

Tyler: Could you share with us one of your favorite poems from the book and tell us why it’s your favorite?


I gave dog food to my brother

My mother is very angry.

I think it’s the best dog food

that you ever had.

She screamed and called the doctor.

Her eyes are full of tears.

So I don’t think I’ll tell you,

He’s been eating it for years.

I like the poem because it is a true story. My cousin and I would bring dog food on our camping trips. We did this until my aunt found out.

Tyler: Where do you get the ideas for your poems? Do they often have some basis in real life like with “Dog Food”?

Leonard: A lot of them do. Much of my poetry is about everyday tasks and relationships. Readers often tell me that a certain poem must have been written about a special person in his family.

Tyler: You previously published another children’s book, “The Tickle Tree,” which is also poetry. Do you see any important differences between the two books?

Leonard: I’ve actually published three books, the third is “Why Do Flies Eat Dog Poop?” All three books are essentially humorous poetry.

Tyler: Our “The Tickle Tree” reviewer, nine-year-old Eric Zeda, said, “I didn’t know I liked poetry, and that poems could be funny, until I read this book.” Why do you choose to write poems that are funny?

Leonard: Starting kids with funny poems gets them interested in poetry. We all like to read humor.

Tyler: Leonard, do you have plans for more books? If so, will you continue to write poetry and children’s books, or do you have any thoughts of branching out into other fields as well?

Leonard: I have a fourth book of children’s poetry half finished. I am also working on a book of “Children’s Poems for Adults”. The book actually writes itself. Sometimes I feel like a poem I’ve finished isn’t appropriate for children, but I like the poem so it ends up in the adult archive. These poems are not vulgar but deal with topics that children do not need to read. Below are the first lines of such a poem.


Dad’s doing time out

But he doesn’t think it’s funny.

I guess it was pretty bad.

He’s doing ten to twenty.

I’m also writing a science fiction novel called The Blake Gray Chronicles.

Tyler: Leonard, did I mention that you also visit schools to present your poems to children. Tell us a bit about these presentations and why you enjoy them?

Leonard: The shows are like a “kids’ comedy club.” The idea is to show them that poetry can be fun. Judging from the letters I get from students and teachers, it works fine.

Tyler: Thanks for joining me today, Leonard. Before we go, could you tell us about your website and what additional information readers can find about your books?

Leonard: The website is It is a way to contact me for school visits or to buy books and audiobooks online. Children can also read poems and/or listen to them online.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *