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Professor Emeritus Publishes Charming Children’s Book

Professor Emeritus Publishes Charming Children’s Book

Posted: July 18, 2016

For 35 years Fred Howe, professor emeritus of educational foundations, prepared Buffalo State teacher candidates to shape young minds and ignite imaginations.

Years after retiring, Howe found a more direct way to ignite imaginations and inspire a love of language. He wrote a children’s book composed of whimsical limericks, which one of his former students, Jeffrey Crofts, ’78, illustrated. Beastly Limericks came out in March through Friesen Press of Vancouver, Canada.

Geared toward an audience of 4- to 8-year-olds Beastly Limericks is filled with such characters as a dancing hippo, a forgetful elephant, and a clumsy camel. Each page contains one animal-focused limerick such as:

“There once was a monkey named Jewel
Who many thought was a very a big fool.
He offended a wizard
By calling him a lizard,
And so he was turned into a mule.”

“I was exposed to limericks as a kid, and a couple of years ago, I read one and started remembering the fun of them,” said Howe, who retired from Buffalo State in 2007 and lives in Orchard Park, New York, half the year and in Leesburg, Florida, the other with his wife, Marilyn.

“I got a theme going of animals and a rhyming scheme,” he explained. “I showed it to my wife and few friends who thought it had promise.”

Meanwhile, Howe ran into Crofts, a retired art teacher who lives in the same Florida community.

“I asked if he would be interested in doing illustrations and he was,” he said. “I really enjoyed working on this with him. He was my former student and now he’s my friend.”

As this was Howe’s first attempt at a children’s book, he didn’t want to go through the arduous process of trying to get published through traditional channels. So he approached Friesen, a self-publishing outfit that also provides editing and marketing help.

“The publisher was encouraging and gave some helpful feedback,” Howe said. “The staff also provided ideas on how to market the book. I’ve been very pleased.”

As for feedback from readers, he’s gotten glowing reviews from many of friends’ grandchildren.

“One boy told his grandparents he thought the book was written just for him,” Howe said with a smile.

One of the most gratifying responses for this former educator is that children have written their own limericks after reading his.

“I didn’t write the book for me but with the hope that it would encourage kids to appreciate language and reading,” he said. “If you can pull children away from electronics and into the pages of a book, that feels like success.”

Beastly Limericks is available through Amazon, in some Barnes & Noble bookstores, at the Orchard Park Library, and directly through Howe at (716) 662-9214 or

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