Monday, November 19, 2012

Story Element #9: Rhyme

The official time for my half marathon was 2:38:17, thirteen minutes faster than last year's half. Yea, me! So I guess it's high time I finally finish my Top 10 Story Elements for Picture Books.

How to Rhyme || Story elements | the writing craft | poetry | poems about running | books that model rhyme | good rhyming books for children

I finished my race
at my own little pace.

Down in Savannah,
I ate a banana.

I crossed the line
before 2:39.

I'm ready to run again.

Today's Story Element #9, Rhyme, includes rhythm, meter, and song. The book? Because You Are My Baby.


Title: Because You Are My Baby
Author: Sherry North
Illustrator: Marcellus Hall
Publisher: Abrams Books
Year: 2008
Word Count: 310

Summary: "Lists wonderful ways a parent, whether a rock star or a geologist, could demonstrate love for a child."

The rhyme in this book is so beautiful. So are the illustrations (watercolors on paper). Each two-page spread has a simple couplet full of strong nouns and verbs.
Opening lines:
"If I were a sailor, I would sail the world with you, With sails of cotton candy and a handy penguin crew."
Notice the internal rhyme of candy/handy. 

Here is the second couplet, 
"If I were a mountaineer, I would take you to the peakOf Everest and Fuji, a new summit every week."
Notice how the rhyme is NOT sing-songy. It reads natural, with no distinct meter, or pattern. I love that!

The next page uses words that accentuate the rhyme of tall/all: fill and jelly; alliteration is so nice!

Even near rhymes, sometimes called off rhymes, are included: vine/by. One of my favorite lines is: "With blooms that croon a jazzy tune whenever you pass by." Such wonderful assonance and internal rhyme: blooms, croon, tune, you. 

And this line, I just love it!
"If I were a diver, we would tour the ocean floorShipwrecks, crab holes, coral reefs, and much more to explore."
Internal rhyme is awesome: tour, floor, more, explore. And the consonance of the "K" sound with shipwrecks, crab, and coral, oh, and the "ex" part of EXplore.

Another line: dash, grass, catch, pass. Woo-hoo! Keep bringin' it!

Depth: pizza chef, Pisa pie, leaning tower of mozzarella. Notice the pizza/pisa. How fun!

Another favorite, just listen at the language:

"If I were an astronaut, we would blast off to see Mars
 And cruise the red-rock surface in a pair of off-road cars."

Don't make your rhymes too simple. Make them flow and sing! Both lines here incorporate the word "off." The second line is SO filled with sounds: "K" "R" "A" (A: blast, Mars, pair, cars).

The illustrations for the genie page are so fun to find each image that relates to the other 13 "jobs": sailor, mountaineer, builder, gardener, rock star, diver, skywriter, geologist, quarterback, engineer, pizza chef, astronaut, and actor. When my children wanted me to read this book, I never hesitated, because I knew I would enjoy it too, probably more than them.

Try your own rhyming couplet! Here's mine, just off the cuff: 

If I were a writer, we would traverse the universe
Through endless adventures by writing in rhyme and verse. 

Your turn! Try it in the comments! 

Keep on keepin' on...


5 comments:

  1. I LOVE the variety of rhyme in this; So often I am told I have to maintain exactly the same meter throughout a book or editors will throw it into the slushpile!

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  2. Oh, and congrats on your half marathon time, Christie!

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  3. Yes, congrats on the half-marathon...you are one whole woman to accomplish that, Christie!
    As to the rhyme...I love the book and I agree, the internal rhyme and the near rhyme really work...so how come we are told that it must be 'perfect' rhyme, meter, etc.?

    If I were an ornithologist,a symphony I'd provide
    Birds trilling, their songs of goodwill filling our loving home inside.

    That was fun, Christie...thanks for the challenge. :)

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  4. Good rhyming couplets are no easy task, but I'll give it a shot.

    I've no time to bake pies, with Thanksgiving looming.
    Long lines at every store, has me just fuming.

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  5. Congratulations on the half marathon! I'll need to pick this book up as it sounds like great training for writing with lovely language.

    If I were a mail carrier,I would write you and your sis
    A letter every day and deliver it with a kiss.

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