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Rhyming Picture Books:
For Those Who Must
"Musings" Archive for April 2004

by Margot Finke

Most adults enjoy reading great rhyme to their children. And kids love picture books that paint wonderful word pictures, with illustrations that jump off the page, and rhyme and meter that swings the story along. Like a singer who always hits true notes, writers of rhyme must discover the secret of hitting true meter as well as great rhyme. To help those of you who are longing to find that secret, I have devised a rhyme that offers the main rules. Read on.

Margot Finke's Musings is hosted by:

The Purple Crayon

Find more resources for writers in the Articles section.

See the Musings index to find other installments.

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Ode to Rhyming

If you are determined to write books in rhyme,
Make sure that your meter is smooth all the time.
Watch out where you place those long sounding words,
Or you will end feeding your text to the birds!

Craft stories that interest both parents and tot.
With fun situations that develop your plot.
Be careful with end-rhyme – these words must ring true,
And push the plot forward with things that are new.

Give thought to the words you fling onto your page,
Think of each as a gem sparkling bright for the age.
Snuggle up with Thesaurus – make him your special guy,
Then steal verbs and adjectives that make your rhyme fly!

Don't go into details – let the artwork do that.
Please, take up your clippers and prune out the fat.
Keep your rhyming way under those 1,000 words.
Or rejections will follow in gargantuan herds.

Make your verses paint pictures an artist can ‘see,'
Drop clues in the rhyme that are plain as can be.
When words come together with pictures that glow,
Both writer and artist have a proud work to show.

And when you have finished your wonderful book,
Will publishers knock, begging you for a look?
Oh dear, no! You will first have to master the skill
Of queries, that prove your book fits their ‘tough' bill.

Some Nitty-Gritty Information to Help You Further:

If the above rhyming tutorial does not answer all your questions about the intricacies of rhyme and meter, look into the websites below. These websites will enlighten you further.

Dori Chaconas and Anastasia Suen offer particularly inspiring contributions for those who are determined to master the art of rhyme and meter. Go for it!

Dori Chaconas: "To Rhyme or Not to Rhyme." Anyone wanting to write great rhyme & meter should read her terrific article.

Anastasia Suen: Take her picture book class if you want to study rhyme & meter. Her book, Picture Writing, is a must, if you want to write in rhyme.

The Purple Crayon: There isn't one specific article on rhyme here at Harold Underdown's terrific website--other than this one, of course! But read his comments on rhyme in Getting Out of the Slush Pile to hear an editor's thoughts.

Beginners Site For Rhyme: Follow links to more advanced sections.

Poetry4kids:See how Jack Prelutsky, Shel Silverstein, Patricia Hubbell and others do it. Plus other poetry resources. Try Poetry Lessons first.

Writing Picture Books A general introduction to writing picture books.

NOTE: Type "rhyme and meter" into Google to find hundreds of similarly helpful sites.

Happy writing, mates!

Margot Finke's biography and index to Musings.

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