In the January 2019 #207 edition of Writers’ Forum, I interviewed high-concept picture book writer, Rebecca Colby about the importance of rhyme and rhythm in children’s books.
Rebecca told me:
When I began writing children’s picture books, I naturally gravitated towards writing in verse. But the industry professionals at the writing events I attended warned against it. Phrases I heard many times included:
- Rhyming books are too difficult to translate.
- We can’t sell co-editions.
- It’s hard to rhyme well.
While I knew these statements to be true, I also knew that children love rhyme, and these warnings didn’t stop publishing houses from buying books in rhyme.
In the feature she demonstrates how she uses onomatopoeia, repetition, juxtaposition and prediction to write fun and imaginative that children love. Here is an example from her picture book Motor Goose Rhymes that Go! published by Feiwel & Friends.
Her message to other writers who want to write rhyming picture books, is to try and come up with fifty ideas and give these ideas plenty of time and space to grow.
In a forthcoming book entitled How to Write Picture Books that Knock Editors (and Agents!) Socks Off, Rebecca Colby will share some games which makes the task of starting to write less daunting and provides loads of tips for writing high-concept picture books. More details will be available on her website later in the year.