Maeve Visser Knoth: Picture Books Told in Rhyme

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Picture Books Told in Rhyme

"Where the mountains meet the prairie-
Where the men are wild and hairy-
There's a little ranch where Rosie Jones is boss."

I don't know how many times my husband and I read aloud "Rosie and the Rustlers" by Roy Gerrard to our two children but I can still, 6 years later, recite long sections of it by heart. There is something satisfying about a book that romps along- rhyming verse that moves a story. There is a reason that college students still read "Beowulf".

I don't pretend to know the true appeal of rhyme and rhythm in literature. Maybe we enjoy listening to words that pound like our own hearts. Whatever the reason, parents and children both request books that rhyme.

I must say that there are way too many children's books told in rhyme. When the rhyme forces the writer to use words that don't make sense or when the rhythm determines the pace of the book rather than the story itself having control, I know a writer doesn't have control over the rhyme.

So beware...look for stories where the rhythm contributes to the story rather than detracts from it. Look for authors who know how and when to break a driving rhythm. Look for interesting words and interesting rhythms. Try these stories:

Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain by Aardema
Black is Brown is Tan by Adoff
Each Peach Pear Plum by Ahlberg
The Jolly Postman by Ahlberg
Where's My Teddy? by Alborough
Old Black Fly by Aylesworth
The Adventures of Taxi Dog by Barracca
Everybody Needs a Rock by Baylor
Madeline by Bemelmans
All Join In by Blake
Big Red barn by Brown
Better Not Get Wet, Jesse Bear by Carlstrom
Who's Sick Today by Cherry
Five Little Monkeys Sitting in a Tree by Christelow
Everett Anderson Nine Months Long by Clifton
Jamberry by Degen
Wheel Away by Dodds
Drummer Hoff by Emberley
As I was Crossing Boston Common by Farber
Shoes From Grandpa by Fox
Tailypo by Galdone
Sir Cedric Rides Agair by Gerrard
Is Your Mama a Llama? by Guarino
The Maggie B. by Haas
A House is a House for Me by Hoberman
The Duchess bakes a Cake by Kahl
Earl's Too Cool For Me by Komaiko
The Owl and the Pussy-cat by Lear
Johnny Appleseed by Lindbergh
17 Kings and 42 Elephants by Mahy
The Adventures of Isabel by Nash
Custard the Dragon and the Wicked Knight by Nash
Randy's Dandy Lions by Peet
The Piggy in the Puddle by Pomerantz
If I Ran the Zoo by Seuss
Sheep in a Jeep by Shaw
Possum Come a-Knocking by Van Laan
Shy Charles by Wells
The Napping House by Wood


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here are some more:
The Seven Silly Eaters by Mary Ann Hoberman
And to Think That We Thought That We'd Never Be Friends by Hoberman
The Two Sillies by Hoberman (out of print)
Sir Cedric by Roy Gerrard (out of print)
Wagons West by Roy Gerrard
Croco'nile by Roy Gerrard
Barn Dance by Bill Martin
I Like the Music by Leah Komaiko
The Tale of Custard the Dragon by Ogden Nash
Cinderella's Dress by Nancy Willard
"Stand back," Said the Elephant, "I'm Going to Sneeze!" by Patricia Thomas
Sun Bread by Elisa Kleven
The Runaway Pumpkin by Kevin Lewis

11/23/2006 7:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's another author: Julia Donaldson has written rhyming picture books such as Room on the Broom and The Snail and the Whale.

5/22/2007 8:47 AM  

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