What was your greatest influence to begin writing children’s poetry and books?

My first children’s poem — Scrawny Tawny Skinner — was written in 1994 after having dinner with a friend whose 4-year-old daughter did everything she could to get out of eating her dinner. That evening, after hearing a recording of Shel Silverstein reading his poem “Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout,” I decided to try my hand at writing a poem like that. Later I was influenced to keep writing when I read Jack Prelutsky’s book Something Big Has Been Here. I was so impressed by his poetry that I decided to try to become equally skilled and writing funny poems. I have also been influenced by the works of Ogden Nash, Dennis Lee, Bruce Lansky, and many other humorous poets who write for children.