To rhyme or not to rhyme…


So… I’m scribbling a ton of new picture books. Most of them won’t work out.

One or two might.

But as I’m working, I’m flip-flopping about tone, and I wondered if you might chime in and vote.


Conventional wisdom is that editors hate rhyming manuscripts. I have not found this to actually be true, but in a lot of cases, rhyme distracts from a book, or undercuts humor. And of course, if it’s done poorly, rhyme is horrible.


if you had a choice between these two bits of text, which would you prefer?

On velvet paws he slunk downstairs
And much against her wishes,
Jim gobbled up his mother dear.
She really was delicious!


Jim went downstairs.
And ate his mother up, in three quick bites.

Please leave your vote in the comments! I really would love to know how people feel about this.

9 Responses to “To rhyme or not to rhyme…”

  1. SarahT Says:

    Me, I love the rhyming one. So Goreyesque. Rhyme aside, “much against her wishes’ adds so much to the scene, no?

  2. melissa manlove Says:

    They’re both good, but they belong in different books. Which book are you writing?

  3. laurel Says:

    I am attempting version 11 of a thing you and I have discussed. I have to send it to you hard copy, for structural reasons… I can’t figure out a way to make it in a word doc.


  4. Miss Erin Says:

    The first one! More fun to say aloud, and funnier.

  5. Andrew Says:

    I like the first. but I think the second could have had a bit more flair.

  6. Mom Says:

    Today on a hayride on a Western Pennsylvania farm, one woman of a certain age called out to four other women of a certain age, “What was that old poem with the ribbon of moonlight in it?”– and two women of a certain age both started to chorus verses of “The Highwayman.”
    Rhyme rocks, and it lasts forever.

  7. Jennifer Says:

    My preference is against rhyme in picture books, unless it is done really, really well, which is not often. I do like your rhyme (-:) but from a librarian standpoint would prefer the prose. I rarely choose rhyming books for storytime b/c they’re difficult to adapt – you’ve got to read them exactly as written or they don’t work and that’s not my storytime style.

  8. Kaethe Says:

    I prefer the first. I love light verse, of which there isn’t nearly enough. If poets don’t do poetry, then it is left to people who aren’t, mmm, let’s say proficient.

  9. Dana Britt Says:

    I really like the first one–so lyrical and fun!

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