Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Thoughts on Rhyming Books...

 Did Rhyming Prose Fall Out of Favor?

Over the last few years I've found that whenever I write a story for children, I may start out writing non-rhyming prose but soon come around to making it rhyme. Unfortunately, the current publishing climate has turned up its nose at this genre. This is nothing new, however. The first glimpse I saw of it was with the book I Promise I'll Find You, then again when I illustrated the book, Lightning Bug Thunder, and most recently when I illustrated the book I Love You Too, I Love You Three.

Illustration from the rhyming book I Promise I'll Find You, Heather Ward, Firefly Books.

I'm not certain whether the prejudice against rhyming books is because (as I've heard said) it's old fashioned, bringing to mind Mother Goose rhymes and the like. Or if it's that some editors are rigidly tied to rules and don't take to the playfulness in rhyming text. Whatever the case, I'd like to urge the publishing industry to get behind rhyming text for a number of reasons.

Articulation and pronunciation... Rhymes concentrate the reader's effort to enunciate in order to keep cadence and the rhyming intact. I find it fascinating that while actors, in a quest for verisimilitude, are mumbling their way through movies and TV shows, I can understand every single (provocative) word that Cardi B utters in WAP or the profanity Ludacris raps in Get Back

Memory... The rhythm, repetition, similarity, and framework of rhyming prose wakes up the reader's memory and makes remembering the words easier.

Creativity... This excerpt from a new book I'm working on Demonstrates the wordplay inherent in rhyming prose,
"If you asked how many pies there'd be, I really couldn't say.
With far too many pies to count, I'd have to put it this way;
we'd have more pies than a hungry giant could ever consume, 
even with his biggest spoon and his stretchy belly like a balloon." 

An illustration from the rhyming book, I Love You Too, I Love You Three, Wendy Tugwood, Firefly Books.  

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