I finished my race
at my own little pace
Down in Savannah,
then ate a banana.
I crossed over the line
And I'm ready to run again.
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.
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
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.
"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...