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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: rhyming, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 106
1. Miss Emma Ant

My newest picture book for children is here! "Miss Emma Ant" tells the story of  talented, hard-working Emma, the architect for her colony's anthills. Ants in the colony, not recognizing their own special skills, grow jealous of Emma, and taunt her until she quits her job. Chaos ensues! Will pleas from apologetic ants convince Emma to return to work? Vibrant, expressive illustrations and fun

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2. Valentine's Day storytime - love is in the air!

I've been goofing off for a few weeks, enjoying some family time while my oldest were home from college for the holidays.  Now it's time to get back to business.

Roses are red. 
Violets are blue. 
Here is advice 
I offer you:

Winter is dark; 
Weather is drear. 
But story time kids 
always bring cheer.

Valentine's Day - 
and books will delight. 
One happy child 
can banish the night.

© L Taylor

I tried something new today.  I put my favorite, rhyming Valentine's Day books for story time in a Riffle list that should allow for scrolling.  I'll put my favorite Valentine's Day rhymes and songs below.  Enjoy!

"A Kiss"  (a fingerplay, prop story, felt board, or song)

There's something in my pocket,
Could it be a moose?
Could it be a train with a bell and a caboose?
Could it be a snake or some sticky glue?
Right here in my pocket is a KISS from me to you! (blow kiss)

I have a photo of a moose glued to a popsicle stick, a train whistle, a bell, a plastic, jointed snake, and glue.  I pull them all out at the appropriate times.

Credit: King County Library System

A Valentine fingerplay:

Show children how to put the "heels" of their palms together and then curve fingers around , meeting on top to form a heart. The rhyme goes like this:

"I put my hands together,
this is how I start;
I curve my fingers right around
and I can make a Heart!"

Credit: Everything Preschool

"Skidamarink" or "Skinnamarink"
You can find this favorite online if you don't already know it.

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3. Count my Cutest Children’s Books for Christmas

What a wondrous time for the kidlets; so much sparkle, magic, excitement and curiosity in the air. Christmas time is about bringing families together, and what better way to get close to your ‘little’ loved ones than to snuggle up with some adorable books. Here we count through three delightful books that foster a love […]

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4. Book Review: Dojo Daycare

I've been meaning to share this gem of a picture book for some time. Dojo Daycare, written and illustrated by Chris Tougas is published by Owlkids Books

There is so much to love in this smart, modern, and funny rhyming picture book. It is paced beautifully and you can feel the tempo pick up and then settle down for the ending. I found the framework of the dojo daycare and sympathetic storyline toward the 'master' really inventive. My kids (5 and 3 years old) love rereading to follow the smaller details and mini-plots. 

You can track each ninja and their ninja pets at home, the bear as he gets pulled apart (and see where he ends up!), and my kids' favorite part - see the little green fluff coming from one little ninja. Yup. It's a silent but HILARIOUS surprise when you figure out how that last fight starts. 

I was given a review copy by the publisher, but my words and opinions are my own.

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5. Sing Along Construction Song

Sing Along Construction Song - Cover

We really enjoyed this tale about various construction vehicles and the job they do.  Each vehicle describes their function and then happily sings a song set to the tune of “London Bridge” about their work.  At the end they all sing together about how they work as a team to get the job done.  Great message for young children about having a positive attitude and teamwork.  You can purchase this ebook for $2.99 at Amazon or get it for FREE using Kindle Unlimited which is a new subscription service by Amazon to read up to ten books at a time for a monthly fee of $9.99.  They are currently offering free 30-day trials if you want to check it out.  As always all of our children’s books are available in the Kindle Unlimited program as well.

**We received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.**

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6. The Cat Who Lost His Meow $50 GC Giveaway 6/30-7/29

The Cat Who Lost His Meow by Angela Muse

About the Book

Title: The Cat Who Lost His Meow | Author: Angela Muse | Illustrator: Helen H. Wu | Publication Date: June 1, 2014 | Publisher: Independent | Pages: 32 | Recommended Ages: 3+

Summary: Chester the lazy calico cat has suddenly lost his meow. He’s looking everywhere, but can’t seem to find his voice. When Chester puts himself in a frightening situation he not only finds his voice return, but he also finds his courage. This experience makes Chester appreciate things a little bit more than he had before.

Priced at only $.99 during this promotion.




About the Author: Angela Muse

Angela Muse, Author

Angela Muse

Angela Muse was born in California to a military family. This meant that she got used to being the “new kid” in school every couple of years. It was hard trying to make new friends, but Angela discovered she had a knack for writing. In high school Angela began writing poetry and song lyrics. Expressing herself through writing seemed very natural. After becoming a Mom in 2003, Angela continued her storytelling to her own children. In 2009 she wrote and published her first rhyming children’s book aimed at toddlers. Since then she has released several more children’s picture books and released her first young adult romance series, The Alpha Girls, in 2012.

Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter



* $50 Book Blast Giveaway *

Amazon $50 Gift Card

Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash (winner’s choice)

Contest ends: July 29, 11:59 pm, 2014

Open: Internationally

How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, Angela Muse and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

MDBR Book Promotion Services

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7. Picture Book Surprises, part 1

The Great Big Green
by Peggy Gifford
illustrated by Lisa Disimini
Boyds Mills Press, 2014
review copy provided by the publisher

Readers who know and love Peggy Gifford's Moxy Maxwell series of chapter books will be surprised to read this rhyming riddle book. In years to come, readers who know The Great Big Green will be delighted to discover Moxy Maxwell!

The Great Big Green describes every possible shade of green and many green things, both living and non-living. You might guess what The Great Big Green is...if I tell you that where it's not green, it's blue!

The detailed multi-media collage illustrations are worthy of child-in-lap explorations to find and name as many green things as possible.

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7 Rhyming Picture Books about Animals from
the US and Australia.
FUN as well as educational!

About ten years ago I had this series published in eBook format by Writers Exchange. This was an Australian publisher. CEO Sandy Cummins was wonderful to work with - helpful, supportive and open to suggestions. However, at that time eBooks were a novelty, and the eReaders of today were still a glint in their designers' eyes. The series received terrific reviews, but sales were dismal.  

Now, thanks to Sandy allowing me to offer the series to Guardian Angel Publishing, a publisher that specializes in child friendly and educational picture books, my Wild and Wonderful series is being published in soft cover, and will be available on Amazon and other sites:  Guardian Angel Publishing, + my websiteYEA!!!

 I am absolutely THRILLED that my Wild and Wonderful series is finally being published in soft cover.  It has been a long wait, but well worth the time and the effort.

                                                                 Already in soft cover and on sale are:

Now at the printers and available soon:

Never Say BOO to a Frilly: 

  Includes -   Never Say BOO - Rainbow Birds - Tasmanian Devil Dance

Coming Next:

Prairie Dog's Play Day:
  Includes - Prairie Dogs - Bald Eagle Rules - The Stinker (skunk)

Last 3 Books -  Coming SOON: 

*Don's Eat Platypus Stew -3 individual stories
*Squirrels Can't Help Being Nuts - 3 individual stories
*Humdinger Hummers - 1 story

Link to illustrations and news about my DREAMTIME MAN picture book.


 Books fpr Kids - Skype Author Visits
Manuscript Critiques


0 Comments on WILD and WONDERFUL as of 5/27/2014 10:16:00 PM
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<!--[if gte mso 9]> Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 <![endif]-->  My “Dreamtime Man” is taking shape
  A rhyming picture book for grades 4 and up

Illustrator, Ioana Zdralea, did an awesome job of interrupting this wild and mysterious Dreamtime land.  I am thrilled!!  This is the illo she sent me  for the first two verses. The verses describe the harshness of where the Australian aboriginals had to scratch out a living, 

  Do go see Ioana’s other art work:


<!--[if gte mso 9]> Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE <![endif]-->

Imagine a wild place where sun burns the sand,
Where water and food must be scratched from the land.
This place is the wellspring of men black as coal,
And Dreamtime ruled all who endured as one soul.    

While shy Daintree tribes hunted deep in the shade,
Tough bush and outback men learned how to trade.                     
Whether hunting, or fighting, or struggling to live,
All respected the Dreamtime and what it could give.     


More sketches and finished artwork will
come to this page soon.




Books for Kids - Skype Author Visits
Manuscript Critiques





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10. Trailer: Ouch! Sunburn!

OUCH! SUNBURN!by Donna J. Shepherd A Wings of Faith Children's Book Author: Donna J. Shepherd Illustrations: Kevin Scott Collier ISBN: 1-933090-60-X ISBN 13: 9781933090603 Scroll down to see a video! From the Publisher: Donna J. Shepherd’s snappy rhymes along with the 15 colorful and fun illustrations by Kevin Scott Collier help children see the need to protect their skin in

5 Comments on Trailer: Ouch! Sunburn!, last added: 6/12/2013
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11. RhymeWeaver, Wider than a Smile (plus a giveaway!)

rhymeweaverlogoOK, silly title. And if anyone under 30 reads this post, they’re not gonna get the reference to Moon River.

But heck, I like it, so off we go…

Many kidlit writers hear “don’t rhyme” from picture book editors. It’s not that editors hate rhyme (well, maybe SOME do), it’s just that they see badly-executed rhyme so often in the slush, it’s easier to discourage it. Common rhymes like “me, see” and “you, two” and other one-syllable predictability can kill the joy of a story.

celebrityapprenticeABCRemember “Celebrity Apprentice” when the men’s team gleefully authored “I know my A, B, C’s and my 1, 2, 3′s” as if it hadn’t been regurgitated in a googolplex of board books? They thought it was a rhyme worthy of victory and publication. Well, they did win the challenge, but the book Trump promised to publish was released by a vanity press, not a traditional publisher. No publisher was gonna touch it, ten foot pole or not.

Editors also see a lot of rhyme with flawed meter. Meter is a tricky thing. There’s stressed and unstressed syllables, plus the lilt of natural speech patterns that can render your meter more choppy than Zoanette Johnson’s drumming. If you read your own rhyme aloud, you might not even hear how off it is, because you are forcing yourself to follow the pattern you created.

Then there’s the near-rhyme mistake, when the words don’t really rhyme at all, unless you twist your tongue or alter your accent. Like “hat” and “what” or “hat” and “back”. Once or twice and you can maybe get away with it. More than that and the editor may assume you need the WaxVac.

Moreover, writers can find their story dictated by rhyme, getting trapped in nonsensical situations simply because “dishwasher” rhymes with “impostor” (almost). It’s obvious when a plot decision has been forced based upon one word.

For these reasons, editors will advise, “don’t rhyme”.

For these reasons, author Lane Fredrickson created RhymeWeaver.com.

cecilybeasleyLane is the author of WATCH YOUR TONGUE, CECILY BEASLEY, a rhyming picture book with a joyfully jaunty rhyme. Remember as a child when you stuck out your tongue and a parent warned, “It will get stuck that way!” Well, Cecily finds herself in that very predicament. Hilarity ensues when a bird takes up residence on Cecily’s perfect pink perch. What’s Cecily to do?

Knowing the difficulty of rhyme for picture book writers, Lane created RhymeWeaver.com to teach the bard-challenged the complexities of rhyming well.

Lane, your rhyme is perfection! How did you get to be so good at it?

Ha. Thank you, Tara.

The short answer would be: a gnawing question and a genetic glitch.

But there is also the long answer. When I first joined SCBWI, everybody seemed to be telling everyone else NOT to write in rhyme, like there was a disease associated with it. You know, literary sarcoma or writer’s blockjaw. You almost didn’t want to admit you were a rhymer lest they sit in some quarantined section and slap a scarlet R on your forehead. The other thing I kept hearing was that a person’s rhyme had to be PERFECT. I wanted to write PERFECT rhyme, but I could never get a really good answer as to what PERFECT rhyme was. This is the kind of scenario that drives a slightly obsessive-compulsive person to behaving obsessively compulsive. So I googled around and studied my Seuss and found a website that offered critiques for $50. The critique, although well-intentioned, was just plain bad advice involving “counting syllables.” And don’t get me wrong, I’ve definitely given bad advice (but I’m pretty sure it was free when I did it). I totally get that sometimes bad advice seems good because it comes from multiple sources, but “counting syllables” is not the way to perfect meter and I had (being slightly obsessive compulsive) already figured that out. So I went back to school thinking I’d take a poetry class and clear up the PERFECT meter issue. But the thing about college is they don’t tell you what you want to know, they tell you whatever they want to tell you. So it took a BA in English and healthy stab at an MA in British Lit to figure it out that meter is a lot of things, but PERFECT is rarely one of them (I only stabbed at the MA, I haven’ t killed it yet).

lanefredricksonWhat inspired you to put all your rhyming knowledge into a website?

I watched a lot of people go through exactly what I went through: trying to figure out the rules, trying to decide if writing in rhyme was worth the stigma, trying to find complete resources that explained everything. I have a degree in psychology, where I focused on cognition and development (which is the opposite of those people who ask you to talk about your problems). Cognitive and developmental psychologists look at how people think and how they grow, mature, and learn. I knew that I could show meter in a way that’s visual and image-based. I knew that I could break it down into constituent parts in a way that I had never seen done. I knew that I could make it easier to grasp. But I wanted it to be free because I’m trying to improve the status of rhyme in the literary world and the more people who rhyme well, the less it looks like I have a disease.

Lane’s website has already helped this ruined rhymer who can’t hear meter even if I got whacked upside the head with it. So I encourage you to pay RhymeWeaver.com a visit, Pin it, share it, study it, LIVE IT. Children deserve better rhyming picture books like CECILY BEASLEY.

And hey, you can WIN CECILY! Just leave a comment telling me about the most interesting thing you learned at RhymeWeaver.com. A winner will be picked randomly in a week (or knowing me and prize distribution, two weeks).

So don’t hesitate, get out there and rhyme, oh Kate! (Sorry if your name isn’t Kate. I had to end on a rhyme.)

12 Comments on RhymeWeaver, Wider than a Smile (plus a giveaway!), last added: 2/27/2013
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12. Play Ball! Baseball books for the very young

"People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring."
Jay Schyler Raadt CC-BY-SA-3.0
Baseball Hall of Fame baseball player, Rogers Hornsby
Source: Baseball Almanac

Yes, it's January and the temperatures have been in the teens, but soon catchers and pitchers will report to spring training, and on February 21, Spring Training games will begin.

Here are two new books for the littlest of fans:
  • Kawa, Katie. 2013. My First Trip to a Baseball Game. New York: Gareth Stevens.  (part of the My First Adventures series)
In three very simple chapters, this little book introduces children to a baseball game, offering information on the park, the food and the game.  From the chapter, "At the Baseball Park,"
My dad holds our tickets.  They tell us where to sit. We get food to eat. My mom and dad get hot dogs.
The illustrations are simple cartoon-style depictions of a family's trip to the game with a heavy focus on the family's activities.  If just a little bit of baseball is what you're seeking, this will do fine.
A Table of Contents, Index, and Words to Know make this one perfect for school use, however, it's also suitable for adding a little nonfiction to storytime.

Reading Level: Grade K 
Fountas & Pinell: C 
Dewey: 796.357 
Specifications: 7 5/8" x 7 1/8", 24 pages 
Lexile Level: 130

Less perfunctory and more enjoyable is Goodnight Baseball.

  • Dahl, Michael. 2013. Goodnight Baseball. N. Mankato, MN: Capstone. (Illustrated by Christina Forshay)
(Advance copy provided by NetGalley)

Beginning with a sing-song rhythm,
The great big stadium is outside of town.
Fans and friends come from miles around.
and ending with a nod to Margaret Wise Brown's Goodnight Moon,
Goodnight, popcorn boxes under the stands
Goodnight, mascot and goodnight, fans!
Goodnight, friends. Goodnight, cars.
Goodnight, stadium, under the stars ...
Goodnight Baseball takes the reader on a baseball outing with a small boy and his father. Snacks, caps, and even a foul ball are part of a winning day. Brightly colored full-bleed illustrations offer a broad view of the game, the fans, and the park with a focus not on the boy and his dad, but rather, on their place in the larger context of the day.  Expressive faces show the myriad expressions seen during a day at the park - excitement, determination, surprise (no sadness here - the home town wins). Creative endpapers evoke the Green Monster, the boy's favorite team, and tickets stuffed in the pocket of denim jeans.  Goodnight Baseball is a hit.
(Due on shelves March 1, 2013)

Today's Nonfiction Monday roundup is at author Laura Purdie Salas' blog, laurasalas.

1 Comments on Play Ball! Baseball books for the very young, last added: 1/28/2013
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13. Playtime!

I was looking around at some very cool blogs the other night and found one that was so much fun.  Why?  Because everything was in rhyme!   You've got to go see! http://rhymetime24.blogspot.com/

To me rhyming is playing with words at it's finest.  At rhymetime,  people just comment in rhyme.  That seems simple enough so here you go:

The dishes are sitting
 in my kitchen sink
and I'm up here blogging
so what do you think?

Should I become slave
to the dishes at hand
or should I keep on blogging
just because that I can!

Please leave me a comment
and put it in rhyme
we'll try it tonight
and again down the line!

PS  Comments can be as short as two words!

18 Comments on Playtime!, last added: 10/7/2012
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14. At the Boardwalk - a review

I could not let the summer get away without featuring this one!

A preview available at the publisher's site
Fineman, Kelly Ramsdell. 2012. At the Boardwalk. Illustrated by Mónica Armiño. Wilton, CT: Tiger Tales.

With a rhyming, smooth-flowing pattern in which the 2nd and 6th lines repeat, Fineman catches the very essence of summer boardwalk activity along the Eastern seaboard.

At the boardwalk
day or night
Treats for every appetite
Popcorn - taffy - fudge, delight
At the boardwalk
day or night
Food, rides, arcades, and fireworks; in rain and fog and sun - she captures it all - right down to the oompah music of the carousel and the stands selling hermit crabs.  Each 6-line verse appears on a two-page spread in which Spanish illustrator, Mónica Armiño, uses pencils and mixed media on textured paper to create a light-hearted, multicultural tableau of the best the boardwalk has to offer.   The final image is that of a lone worker sweeping the sand from an empty boardwalk that stretches away into the distance toward a darkened Ferris wheel.  To the East, the ocean is calm.  The sky is darkening and a full moon is high in the sky.

Oh, would that summer would never end!

I love this one!

In checking, I find that, of course, Kelly Ramsdell Fineman is from New Jersey. I'd be willing to bet that she's been to my stretch of paradise.  (I'd love to know how an artist from Madrid got it so right.)

We'd like to keep it a secret, but this is the real Jersey Shore.

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15. Eight Days Gone - a review

McReynolds, Linda. 2012. Eight Days Gone. Illustrated by Ryan O'Rourke. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge.

In simple, four-line rhymes, Linda McReynolds has captured for a new generation the eight breathtaking, breath-holding days of the Apollo 11 mission.  Eight Days Gone recounts the July 1969, launch, orbit, landing and return of the spaceship Columbia and the lunar module Eagle.

It begins on a cheerful, sunny, colorful day in Florida,

Hundreds gather.
Hot July.
Spaceship ready -
set to fly.
McReynolds skillfully distills this immense project, this watershed accomplishment into its most basic elements, yet she disregards no aspect of the mission, giving recognition to Aldrin and Armstrong,  the nation, the command center, Collins (who stayed aboard the Columbia), even the Navy - remember the days of "splashdowns?"

The words are not always simple, but O'Rourke's stunning oil paintings fill in the necessary details. The font is either black or white and appears in a corner, never obscuring the double-spread, full-bleed illustrations.  Because of the subject matter, much of the artwork is in the creamy colors of the lunar surface, the spacecraft, and the astronauts' clothing.  Against the black of the universe, the colors of the American flag, the striped parachutes, the faces of the astronauts, and the dazzling blue and green of the earth, demand the reader's attention. 

Most striking is the painting of the "earthrise" on the black lunar horizon, a small astronaut placed in the lower left corner,

Silent. Dark.
Tranquil sea.
Barren. Stark.
Our tiny place within the cosmos is illustrated, but is boldly followed by the illustration on the following page where the astronaut fills a third of the page, confidently setting forth across the lunar landscape,

Haul equipment.
Careful test.
Lunar quest.
May we always be reminded of both our infinetesimal status and our immense capacity to overcome it.  A stunning book. Highly recommended.

A photo, bilbiography, author's note and websites are included.

This is Linda McReynolds' first children's book.

Other Eight Days Gone reviews @

NASA offers a K-4 student website as well as a 4 Comments on Eight Days Gone - a review, last added: 7/23/2012
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16. Picture book roundup - Twitter style

My calendar's packed. I just returned from a trip. I'm in the midst of a class. I'm presenting at a forum this week. But wait, four great new picture books are sitting on my table waiting to be reviewed!

What to do? Do it Twitter-style! Here they are in 140 characters or less:

  • Willy. De Kockere. 2011. Erdman. Celebrating the peculiarities that make Willy the elephant special. Monty Python-esque art, a perfect foil to a quirky tale. Love it!

  • Train Trip. Caswell. 2011.Hyperion. Cheerful and rhyming, a boy and a train bond during a trip. “Special treat. “Come on in!” “Sound the whistle?” Eager grin."

  • Little Owl’s Night. Srinivasan. 2011. Viking. An owl observes the night’s activities. Dark colors, cheery wide-eyed creatures. Simple and serene.

  • Shaggy Dogs, Waggy Dogs. Patricia Hubbell. 2011. Marshall Cavendish. Happy, rhyming, romping dogs. Dogs, dogs and more dogs! A storytime gem.

And one more of Willy, in case you didn't get enough!
©Copyright Carll Cneut
(Yikes! I forgot that MSWord doesn’t count spaces. Now I’ll have to be more clever!)

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17. A Leaf Can Be ... a review

Salas, Laura Purdie. 2012. A Leaf Can Be ... . Illustrated by Violeta Dabija. Minneapolis: Millbrook.
Advance Reader Copy supplied by NetGalley.

What's better than a beautifully illustrated nonfiction picture book? One that can be used to delight preschoolers, introduce poetry, or present science concepts. A Leaf Can Be... does it all.

Introductory stanzas give way to descriptive phrases of a leaf's many uses and manifestations,

A leaf is a leaf -
a bit of a tree.
But when cool days come chasing,
it also can be a ...

Wind rider
Lake glider
Pile grower
Hill grow-er
The font is simple and pleasing, like printing with a fine point gel pen.

The illustrations, depicting each thing that "a leaf can be," are nothing less than enchanting.  Blue is the color that anchors this journey through seasons and  locales - posing as the sky, a lake, a hint of frost, the rainwater gathered in the palm of a leaf. Though whimsically drawn, the trees, people and animals in Dabija's paintings are rendered in the colors of nature - not the muted colors of nature, but nature in its most vibrant, most spectacular displays. Her use of "speckling" gives each illustration a hint of magic or fancy.
Also included are:

  • "Glossary"
  • "Further Reading."
  • "More About Leaves," in which each descriptive tree phrase used throughout the book is explained, 
Mouth filler - leaves can be tasty!  Apes, giraffes, insects and many other animals eat leaves.  Humans do too.  Have you eaten lettuce or spinach lately?
Highly recommended. It's early in the year, but I think this will be a favorite!

Manufactured in the United States of America.

Check Laura Purdie Salas' site for a teaching guide and bookmarks, coming soon.

Due on shelves March 1, 2012. (You can request it now on NetGalley from Lerner Publishing.  Don't read this one on a black and white reader!)
It's Nonfiction Monday and I'm today's host.  
Please leave your link below and visit the other links. If you have trouble using Inlinkz, leave your link in the comments and I will add it to today's roundup.

  Thanks for participating in today's Nonfiction Monday roundup.

Today's guests include:

11 Comments on A Leaf Can Be ... a review, last added: 1/23/2012
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18. Masculine/Feminine Rhyme: Who Knew?

Just when you thought it was safe to break out your rhyming dictionary (or start running all your rhyming endings alphabetically through your head), someone tells you there's gender to contend with in the rhymes you write. What's up with that? After all, the last time you paid any attention to linguistic gender was Spanish class in the ninth grade---or was it when you ordered that beer during Spring Break in Puerto Vallarta?

No matter. The last place you thought gender would be an issue had to be rhyme, right? Well, fear not. It's not quite as problematic as you may anticipate. In fact, except that someone back in the day must have thought structural endings and sounds ought to be classified according to gender, it's unlikely that anyone would even notice. But just out of curiosity, it might be fun to try and sleuth out who among the ancients decided gender was important---and why.

So, where did the whole gender in rhyme thing originate? Did the early Chinese rhymers grapple with gender in their day? Although some of the oldest surviving Chinese poetry contains lyric aspects, because the written language is character based, any gender association to poetic form may be difficult to tease out. Left with that uncertainty, is the male-female poetic structure primarily western in origin? Could it simply be a non-functioning, vestigial "leftover" from Old Latin which etched its subtle tracks on the English language as romantic entanglements ebbed and flowed across Europe?

According to one source in the English Department at Carson-Newman College, (http://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/lit_terms_R.html) the word "rhyme" itself originates "from Old French, rime meaning 'series,' in turn adopted from Latin 'rithmus' and Greek 'rhythmos'." Given some of the other gender assignments in Greek and Latin, might we ascribe gender features to the rhyming verses penned by the early Greeks and Romans?

No doubt, the definition of gender in rhyme could probably be argued until the cows come home, with a break taken only for milking before the debate starts again. As is true with virtually any sorting out of why words in any language might be classified as masculine versus feminine, rhymes are no different. One thing seems clear: at least in English, gender in rhyme seems to have little or nothing to do with the gender rules found in some romance languages.

That is, whether a line of verse in English ends in an "a" or "o" or other gender laden vowel or consonant, doesn't really matter as much as it does in the Spanish language. And speaking of word endings, despite its compromise value in the Italian language, the use of a neutral vowel (such as the letter "i") at the end of the plural form of both masculine and feminine words is not a gender-driven issue in English rhyme. But you have to admire the logical recognition of not being able to sort out gender in groups.

In the French language, the definition suggests line ending words which end in "e" are feminine and those that don't are masculine. Some sources also refer to "e" endings and unaccented ending syllables as being weak. Although I was a French major in college, I'll leave the "why" of those "differences" to others who know far more about the origins of the French language and who don't mind getting their shins kicked.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, although the reasoning might be debatable, the rules regarding gender in English rhyme are remarkably clear. According to the Collaborative International Dictionary of English, a female rhyme has a rhyming set in which the rhyming lines end in double-syllable words (ego, amigo). A male rhyme, on the other hand, is one where only the last syllable in the line endings agree (stand, demand). No doubt you have noticed the difference in where the stress is placed---keep reading.

The definitions are extended slightly in Brande and Cox (A Dictionary

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19. Rhyme: The Good And The Bad

Anyone who has written in rhyme or attempted to do so, has likely struggled with the question of whether it is good enough---meaning good enough that someone other than the writer (or writer's mom) will like it. Will it be deemed to have sufficient appeal amongst the reading public to actually be published?

(Note to self: interesting how "public" and "published" have the same root, isn't it?).

But is the goodness (or shall we say "seriousness" of a rhyme, in terms of its quality) solely in the eye of the beholder? Or are there particular inherent characteristics of a rhyme itself that can be classified or measured---that give it legs; make it last?

Right off the bat, let's set aside the publication issue of goodness versus rightness. An editor's or a publisher's decision to go with a rhyme may have more to do with "fit" rather than how well the rhyme is written. In a short piece for a magazine, the rhyme has to be relevant to the theme. It must also target the appropriate age and be true to the magazine's mission and vision. If the monthly theme is airplanes, a rhyme about the anticipated trajectory of bouncing beach balls probably won't cut it, no matter how good the rhyme is.

So, for sake of argument, we will assume the rhyme flows smoothly, has no obvious speed bumps in its rhythm and that it may even have a surprise twist to get a chuckle or even a sardonic eye roll out of the editor or publisher. But use of rhythm and wit in rhyme is a different topic entirely. So, let's set it aside for the moment.

Instead this post is about goodness versus badness in rhyme solely in terms of rhyming words and line endings, AKA rhyme scheme. This will be mostly a structural discussion of perfect rhyme versus near rhyme and forced rhyme. In the words (pardon the pun) hammered home by one modern day bard (M.C. Hammer in "You Can't Touch This"), let's "break it down!"

GOOD (PERFECT) RHYME: So, what are editors and publishers looking for? Before jumping in, I should qualify this answer as being based on my own personal experience with rejection---no, not that kind of rejection; I mean by editors and publishers---and what they have told me from time to time that has helped me improve my rhyming game.

Generally, a good rhyme must... well... rhyme. And it must rhyme well. Near rhyme and forced rhyme are taboos which we will cover when we get to the "bad" stuff. Rhyme assumes that a set of rhyming words will follow a certain sequence. Rhyming sets come in pairs or fours or other groupings and can have either single (ray, say) or multiple (hatchet, ratchet) rhyming syllables. But in either case, the endings of the rhyming lines should sound the same. And the pattern of how the endings are used in the verse should be consistent.

In a Shakespearean Sonnet, for example, the rhyming scheme is laid out in three quatrains (four-line stanzas) and an ending couplet: abab cdcd efef gg. Following that rhyming scheme, in each stanza the first and third lines rhyme, the second and fourth lines rhyme and the last two lines (the couplet) rhyme. In "Mary Had A Little Lamb", disregarding the repeated lines (little lamb, little lamb, little lamb), only the second and fourth lines in each stanza rhyme (_a_a _b_b _c_c _d_d). And using this as a brazen attempt at self-promotion, a four-line rhyming scheme can be found in my rhyming picture book "There's A Spider In My Sink!" where all four lines in each stanza rhyme (aaaa bbbb cccc dddd, and so forth).

Regardless of the rhyming scheme you choose, just remember to keep your intended rhyming line endings sounding the same and your rhymes should be good except...

...when they're not.

BAD RHYME: Apart from problems with the content of a rhyme (flaky or shaky story, nonsensical verse that isn't otherwise interesting, funny or cute) and

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20. Why Do Editors Say Not to Write in Rhyme?

One of the most frequently asked questions by new kidlit writers is “why do editors say not to write in rhyme?” There’s plenty of picture books written in rhyme, right? They get published somehow!

Well, the answer is a bit complicated. It’s not that editors don’t necessarily LIKE rhyme. It’s just that it is very difficult to do well. Here’s why:

  • Rhyme scheme can dictate story–but shouldn’t. Tales should unfold organically, not be forced into the confines of the rhyme. Often it’s suggested to write in prose first—so you don’t get locked into a plot that doesn’t work—then translate it to rhyme.
  • Common rhyme schemes can be stale. Editors see them again and again. Avoid overly simple, one-syllable rhyme schemes like  go/show/know, to/you, me/be/she/he/see, run/fun/sun, day/may/way/say. If your reader can guess the word at the end of the line before they get there, your rhyme scheme may be too common. Editors want to read rhyme that surprises them.
  • Forced rhyme or near-rhyme can ruin a story. This is when words don’t exactly rhyme unless you mispronounce them. Once in a while this is acceptable, but more than a few times in a manuscript and it distracts.
  • The meter (or beat) must be spot-on. That doesn’t just mean the number of syllables in each line, but the emphasis on those syllables. Meter shouldn’t be so sing-songy and constant that it lulls the reader to sleep (unless maybe it’s a bedtime book) or so rough that it tongue-ties the reader and forces them to speak unnaturally. Some good rhyming books offer a break in the rhyme scheme for variety—not unlike a bridge in a song.
  • Rhyming books are difficult to translate into other languages. An editor may not want to lose out on foreign book sales, so they’ll pass on a rhyming project.

However, if your heart is set on rhyme and if you have a talent for it, you should go for it. At first, Karma Wilson listened to the “don’t rhyme” advice.

“When I first started submitting some 15 years ago all the guidelines said, ‘No rhyme and no talking animals!’ For THREE years I avoided rhyme and talking animals. But guess what my first book sale was? BEAR SNORES ON! And guess what the guidelines said for McElderry books? NO RHYME AND NO TALKING ANIMALS! My passion is rhyme, and talking animals are great as long as they have something interesting to say.”

Yes, you can break the rules like Karma. But get your rhyme critiqued and know whether or not you can nail it.

Me, I’m terrible at rhyme and I know it. I cannot “hear” meter. I’ve tried and failed. My friends have coached me, but I still don’t get the right beat. I can’t dance to it. (I can’t dance anyway. Think Elaine from Seinfeld. Sweet fancy moses!)

So what is successful rhyme? I’m glad you asked! I’ve got a few examples for you.

In HUSH, LITTLE DRAGON, Boni Ashburn spoofs the lullaby “Hush, Little Baby”. Instead of buying her baby a mockingbird, the mama dragon in the story brings her darling son various villagers to eat. It’s delightfully tongue-in-cheek. Some of the best lines:

Here she comes with a fresh magician.
Don’t mind the tast

11 Comments on Why Do Editors Say Not to Write in Rhyme?, last added: 3/13/2012
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21. Picture Book Roundup: spring, truck and mummy edition

As the co-organizer of the KidLit Celebrates Women's History Month blog, I've been very busy formatting, posting, and reading all of the great guest posts this month.  (If you haven't checked it out, you're missing some great essays and reviews.)  As a consequence, I've been neglecting to post often this month, but today I have a quick rundown of three titles that grabbed my attention this past week:

  • Fogliano, Julie. 2012. And then it's spring.  Illustrated by Erin E. Stead. New York: Roaring Brook.

I loved this book from the minute I saw the cover staring at me from my book delivery bag.  It's simply perfect.  Betsy Bird, of Fuse #8, named it to her early Caldecott predictions list yesterday.  Get yourself a copy if you can.

  • Sutton, Sally. 2012. Demolition. Illustrated by Brian Lovelock. Somerville, MA: Candlewick.

Bright colors, realistic trucks, repeated refrains, rhymes with perfect rhythm - a storytime book doesn't get much better than this.  If you know any small children at all, you know one who will like Demolition.

And finally, a curious addition to my bag 'o books,

  • Bunting, Eve. 2011. Ballywhinney Girl. Illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
The hauntingly beautiful cover art caught my eye, and with St. Patrick's Day approaching, I was on the lookout for anything Irish to add to a display of Irish-themed books.  Ballywhinney Girl, however, was not what I was expecting.  It's the story of Maeve, a young Irish girl, and her grandfather, who accidentally uncover a body while digging in the peat bogs near their home.  After they report the find to the local authorities, it draws the attention of news reporters, archaeologists, and scientists, who determine that the body is that of a thousand-year-old mummified girl - a girl much like Maeve, herself.  Maeve naturally find the whole process unsettling.  Elegantly told in verse, this is a fictional story that, according to the Author's Note, happens more often than one might think.  It clearly, and rightfully, is unsettling to author, Eve Bunting, as well.  Whether your young listener will find it unsettling as well, 

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With Margot Finke

7x  Passionate Authors
Guardian Angel Publishing

( affectionately known as GAP )

 Blogging. . .
Their FINAL day!



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23. Picture Book Roundup - May edition

So many great picture books have passed my desk lately.  Here are a few:

  • Joose, Barbara. 2012. Old Robert and the Sea-Silly Cats. Ill. by Jan Jutte. New York: Philomel.

Each night, Old Robert counts "his regular things in their regular place"

Clean socks
a clock
my ship in the slip at the dock.
One dish
one spoon
a slice of the silver moon.
Things are always the same until the night a cat asks to come in.  There was no room for a cat on Old Robert's boat,

And yet ...
        and yet ...
               Old Robert said yes ...
... and the cat came in.

This is a delightfully, quirky story about Old Robert, his boat, and how one small decision can change a life (or two, or three, or ...).  Illustrations by the Netherlands' Jan Jutte, give Old Robert and the Sea-Silly Cats a salty and silly air reminiscent of old comics (think Popeye or original Tin Tin) touched with whimsy.  Comforting, repetitive refrains make this a great read aloud. 

There is just something irresistible about Old Robert and the Sea-Silly Cats.

And there's apparently a song available, too,  "Old Roberts Jig" by the Happy Racers.

  • Elya, Susan Middleton. 2012. Fire! ¡Fuego! Brave Bomberos. Ill. by Dan Santat. New York: Bloomsbury.

My husband has had a long and wonderful career in the fire department, so I'll admit some partiality to firefighter books, even ones that feature firefighters rescuing cats from trees.  For the record, professional firefighters don't rescue cats from trees. They will, however, rescue animals from fires, and in Fire! ¡Fuego! Brave Bomberos, a house fire traps a poor kitty on an upper floor,

Climbing up la escalera,
Coaxed by food in small pedazos,
kitten jumps to outstretched brazos.
See how easy that was?  You're speaking Spanish. Even without the brightly colored double spread illustration of a firefighter on a ladder, hand extended with cat treats, you knew what it meant, and kids will too!  The story rhymes, the meter's fine, and if you need help with pronunciation, it's all in the Glossary.  All bias aside, I like it!

  • Kohuth, Jane. 2012. Duck Sock Hop. Ill. by Jane Porter. New York: Pen

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24. Go, Go, Grapes!

by April Pulley Sayre
Beach Lane Books, 2012

I said it last year when I reviewed Rah, Rah, Radishes!, and I'll say it again this year: April Pulley Sayre is the queen of chants!

She's chanting to the choir with both of these books, but a quick peek at my counter and refrigerator will show that I don't need ANY convincing on the subject of fruit! (How on earth am I going to eat a pint of blueberries, 2 mangoes, a pineapple and a bag of bing cherries before I leave on Friday?!?!)

As with Rah, Rah, Radishes!, Go, Go, Grapes! features vivid photos from farmer's markets and groceries around Ohio and Indiana, along with some guest appearances from a Vietnamese farmer's market in New Orleans for some of the most exotic fruits.

Word study? Check out these JUICY words!

Science? Use this book with your plant unit!

Writing workshop? Go gather up a collection of words on a topic and try writing your own chant!

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25. “The Monster Who Lost His Mean” Found Something to Give Away!

OK, so you know that I love monsters. Can’t get enough of them. Well, my friend Tiffany Strelitz Haber is here today with a monster of a story—her debut picture book, THE MONSTER WHO LOST HIS MEAN!

Some of you may know Tiffany as one of the two rhyming geniuses behind The Meter Maids (with Corey Rosen Schwartz). If you don’t, you have to check out her site, which is all about writing in rhyme. Don’t make me slap you with a citation!

Before we get riffing with Tiffing (yeah I can call her that, it rhymes), you MUST take a look at the extraordinary trailer for her new book. The music, the animation—it’s all so monstrous and so much fun!


TL: THE MONSTER WHO LOST HIS MEAN is about a monster who loses his ‘M’. You know I host Picture Book Idea Month every November so I’m obsessed with the origin of ideas. Where did this idea come from?

TSH: I have always been a very visual person when it comes to words. Even as a kid, I loved the concept of homonyms, acrostics, acronyms, spelling words backwards, and even looking at them upside down. One day I started thinking about the letters in the word MONSTER, and what they might actually stand for if the word MONSTER was an acronym. From there the concept just grew and evolved, and “The Onster” was born!

TL: We’re also all about characters names on this blog. Did “The Onster” have a name before he lost his M?

TSH: Ya know…that’s a great question. I like to think that he only really found any identity at all after he lost his M. Before that he was just…well… generic, nameless, and not nearly as cool—Monster. Bleh.

TL: The Onster cooks brunch at one point in the book. I’m a foodie like you, so what’s your favorite brunch food?

TSH: Hmm…for me, picking a favorite food is kind of like bending a spoon into a perfect figure eight using just my toes (almost impossible). But in the interest of quasi-decisiveness…I’ll go with a tie. EITHER: Perfectly toasted onion bagels slathered in whipped cream cheese, lox and just a few rounds of raw, red onion…OR…a dim sum extravaganza.

So…What’s YOUR favorite brunch food? Tell us and be entered to win a signed ARC of THE MONSTER WHO LOST HIS MEAN!

You get one entry for commenting and then one entry for every place you share—blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. Just let us know where you ONSTER’ed!

Tiffany Strelitz Haber is the author of two rhyming picture books:  THE MONSTER WHO LOST HIS MEAN (Henry Holt Books for Young Readers, July 17, 2012) and OLLIE AND CLAIRE (Philomel/Penguin, 2013).  She will eat any food she is served, be it fried witchetty grubs on a stick or calf’s brain ravioli, and loves to be high in the air or deep in the sea.  T

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