Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Hear the Beat of Rhyming Picture Books

If you read aloud rhyming picture books, you know it's not all about the end rhyme. There should be a rhythm that takes the reader effortlessly through the story. For those beginning rhymers, here's a great picture book to help you hear the beat. The opening layout shows a hand-clapping game and music.

Miss Mary Mack
by Mary Ann Hoberman
Illustrated by Nadine Westcott
Little, Brown and Company, 1998

Clap your hands to the beat of this classic children's chant.
"Miss Mary Mack. 
All dressed in black, black, black,
With silver buttons, buttons, buttons, 
All down her back, back, back.
She asked her mother, mother, mother, 
For fifty cents, cents, cents,
To see the elephant, elephant, elephant, 
Jump the fence, fence, fence.
He jumped so high, high, high, 
He reached the sky, sky, sky,
And didn't come back, back, back, 
Till the fourth of July, July, July.
He fell so fast, fast, fast, He fell so hard, hard, hard,
He made a hole, hole, hole, In her back yard, yard, yard.
The catsup splashed, splashed, splashed, 
The soda popped, popped, popped,
The people screamed, screamed, screamed, 
The picnic stopped, stopped, stopped." 

Writing in Rhyme Tips
Picture books are meant to be read aloud, especially rhyming ones. I read every stanza over and over to my dog, Calvin. And I focus on the sound.
1. Does it sound like natural speech? Or do I stumble on a word or phrase?

2. Did I rearrange words to be consistent with the pattern?

3. Is there a playfulness to the language? Is it fun to read?

4. Does a line sound like it has too many or not enough beats/syllables?

Here's another version of Miss Mary Mack. Have fun listening to the beat! 

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