Edward Lear was born on May 12, 1812. We remember his birthday as Limerick Day, as he is widely known as the father of the limerick. He didn't invent that form of poetry, but used it, first just for the amusement of children on the estate where he lived. Later, he published his whimsical writings and pictures in A Book of Nonsense, which became highly popular among children of his day.
What many people don't remember about Edward Lear is that he was a highly respected wildlife artist in his lifetime. His first published book was a collection of detailed paintings he made of parrots. He was 19 and self-published.
Lear had an amazing range: he was both a serious artist and a doodler. What I love about him is that he was comfortable doing both. At first, he didn't want to be known as the writer of A Book of Nonsense. But when he saw how much children loved his rhymes and cartoons, he took pride in his work for children.
I've collected a few of my favorites of his work below. Enjoy.