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home : arts & entertainment : arts & entertainment June 28, 2016


6/11/2013 1:25:00 PM
Author, artist team up on book
Shirley McBride provided illustrations for Tom Worcester’s newly published book of Animal Limericks. photo by Jim Cornelius
+ click to enlarge
Shirley McBride provided illustrations for Tom Worcester’s newly published book of Animal Limericks. photo by Jim Cornelius

By Jim Cornelius
News Editor

Limericks have a bad reputation. Every middle-school-aged boy knows they can be bawdy and naughty.

But Tom Worcester and Shirley McBride know they can also be clean and fun. The Sisters author-artist team has created a little book of "Animal Limericks" suitable for any youngster's library.

Worcester was on the staff at Reed College when he started writing limericks as an exercise to practice calligraphy. Recently, he found a bunch of his writings in storage and thought he might do something with them. The idea of doing an animal limerick for each letter of the alphabet was born.

Worcester ran the limericks by his 10-year-old grandson, and they passed the bar, even though there were some words that would stretch a youngster's vocabulary.

"I had purposely left some kind of tough words in there," Worcester explained.

His grandson gave his grandfather the green light.

"He said, 'well, I hope it gets published,'" Worcester recalled. "What are you going to do when a kid says that?"

Publish, of course.

But the limericks required animal illustrations. Worcester found his illustrator when he saw Shirley McBride's work hanging in an exhibition at Sisters Library.

McBride, an artist and puppeteer, found the 27 illustrations (26 letters plus the cover) a fun challenge. It took her about two months to complete the work, from Armadillo to Zebra.

"There's a few animals I'd never drawn before," she said. "I didn't know what a vole was. The last animal I drew was the tarantula - because of my fear of spiders, probably."

Worcester recruited his daughter, who lives in Boston, to be the business manager for the project, but other than that every aspect of the project is local. XPress Printing was the printer.

"They were great to work with," McBride said.

The shipping materials were purchased at The Pony Express, and the book is for sale at Paulina Springs Books.

"We're doing everything local," Worcester said.

Worcester debuted the book at his Kiwanis meeting, and received an immediate positive response. He's also sold books to people he's run into on the street.

"That's been very gratifying - to have people see it and say 'I've got to have one!" Worcester said.

For more information or to order online visit www.animallimericksandmore.com.





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