I’m a teacher, a grandfather, and a collector of blues and rock art. I grew up in the small town of Linden, Michigan, where I spent many hours in the public library over the fire station.
Then college (Amherst). Then law school (Michigan). And then I taught legal writing for 35 years at Western Michigan University–Cooley Law School. I’m proud of having won several national and international awards for my work in promoting clarity in public communication. After publishing three law books on plain language, I decided to try my hand at a children’s picture book—just for fun.
I think readers will get a kick out of the misadventures of Mr. Mouthful, who doesn’t know how to talk with kids. He loves big words but doesn’t understand that plain words are usually best in everyday life. It’s good to have a big vocabulary; it’s another thing to go around showing it off.
I hope to have a chance to visit some school classes and talk about language. You can request a school-visit guide for some of the ideas that I would talk about: go to the Events page.
Let me know what you think about Mr. Mouthful Learns His Lesson. I hope it makes you smile.
I like to draw and paint silly things, and most of all I like to laugh until my belly hurts.
I grew up in Canada, drawing lots of pictures with my big sister, and then I went to art school, where I drew even more. Now I draw pictures in Mississippi, which is fun because I get to spell the word Mississippi a lot!
I knew that I wanted to illustrate Mr. Mouthful as soon as I learned that he had “fringe on his butt.” I think he and Dupree are a delightfully silly pair. I hope that you like them as much as I do!