Sunday, February 23, 2014

PB 14:14 Day 10: RHYME AND WORD PLAY (again) with "Surfer Chick"

If you have a rhyming manuscript to be critiqued, Kristy Dempsey is the one! And she's giving away a critique as one of the prizes for this cosmic event. (Unless the week 1 winner already chose her.) Anyway, today's book, again, features both rhyme and word play.

TitleSurfer Chick
Author: Kristy Dempsey
Illustrator: Henry Cole
Publisher: Abrams
Year: 2012
Words: 326

This book is short. Summary: "With Dad's help, Chick overcomes her struggles and learns how to surf." It has 18 couplets formatted as quatrains on the page. The word play is clever. Notice how in all of the rhymes, there's only one near rhyme, or off rhyme (paddle/battle). Really, it's so close, it counts. If you have ONE near rhyme in your ms, even if it's more of a stretch, you MIGHT be able to get by with it. But no more than one. I wish I could quote the first three stanzas to give a great opening (hey, maybe I could for beginnings/endings). But this book's strength is truly the rhyme and the word play. If a rhyming book doesn't have rhyme as one of its top two strengths, then something is wrong. This book, however, does everything right.

Here are the rhymes:

  1. dad/pad
  2. Roost/produced
  3. turf/surf
  4. board/adored
  5. paddle/battle
  6. knack/back
  7. more/shore
  8. arose/toes
  9. doubt/wipeout
  10. chicken/thicken
  11. along/strong
  12. soared/board
  13. wave/brave
  14. splash/flash
  15. skill/thrill
  16. chick/trick
  17. Roost/introduced
  18. quick/Chick

Here are some of the word play phrases throughout. It's not onomatopoeia, it's related words and/or puns.

Bird phrases:

  • Two birds of a feather - a chick and her dad
  • hatched on the beach
  • swim like a duck
  • foul-tempered battle (resonates as fowl-tempered)
  • ruffled her feathers
  • scrambled her focus
  • confidence soared (you know, birds fly, right?)
  • on a wing and a prayer
  • Dad crowed
  • fearless and plucky (rhymes with ducky, though not in this stanza)

Beach words: 

  • radical
  • dude
  • righteous
  • bummer
  • wipeout
  • ripping along
  • swelled up
  • scoped out the water
  • slid through the water
  • one-footed thrill
  • gnarly

And my favorite stanza:
Alone on the sand,
Chick simply felt chicken.
She rested on shore
till her courage could thicken.
As a parent, I would much rather read a book over and over again that includes great word play like illustrated here. And this book is a great example, though my FAVORITE is Library Dragon by Carmen Agra Deedy. If you missed any of the days, here they are again. Day 1, Day 2Day 3Day 4Day 5Day 6Day 7, Day 8, Day 9.

Have a great day, and keep on keepin' on...Add your link below.


  1. I am too chicken to show my rhymes. This looks like a book I could easily surf through the daily reading with dude. Love it. :)

  2. Sounds like a cute book and a fun read. I'm going to have to find some more hours in the day in order to check out all these great PBs.

  3. FUN read, it appears...and I LOVE that line "till her courage could thicken." Great review, Christie.

  4. I'm not sure if I signed up to win anything or not, though it would be nice! I'm loving your daily posts and the way you're "tearing apart" picture books. Thanks so much!

  5. Great post Christie. I hope PB 14:14 is going great!


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