If being a successful children’s book author is one of your dreams, may I suggest rhyme be part and parcel to your writing arsenal. Children can be a rather finicky and discerning audience when it comes to words that grab their precious attention. As a writer I have always gravitated to alliterative sound and rhyme to help achieve this task. I believe rhyme can be used as a major gimmick for capturing and maintaining a child’s interest.
Alliterative sounds are my blueprint when it comes to composing books for children. Youngsters respond to rhyme like tuning forks, noticeably prickling up their ears to these tricks of sound. Rhymes can be more easily retained and repeated, thus children find these whimsical delights more memorable and shareable with their friends.
The success of authors like Dr. Suess relied heavily on these techniques of sound. His often nonsensical rhymes brought his books vibrantly to life. It just takes creativity and an unhindered flow of alliteration and rhyme to build a book kids can relate to.
I wrote my children’s book “Colors Talk” using a compound rhyme scheme that resonates sounds to capture the imagination and heart of my young readers. The rhymes aren’t all perfection according to the rhyming police but the marriage of sounds more than compensates for any slight faults of imperfect rhyme. I find it unnecessarily stifling to subscribe to being handcuffed by the intellectual proclamation that a writer needs to always adhere to true rhyme or adhere to such constricting rules as never employing internal rhyme. Kids don’t care. They just want to laugh and be entertained. I much prefer naturalness over forced rhyming that makes little sense. Why squish a kid’s face with force fitted words when there is really no need to.
Even children’s games are enhanced by the miracle of rhymes. The sing song susurrus I used to hear emanating from schoolyards and playgrounds is testament to the power of this device. Humpty Dumpty who sat on a wall, Jack and Jill who went up the hill and Jack Spratt who could eat no fat were common rhymes of playful times. I am confident I will hear them recited long into the future.
I think many writers of today are missing the boat of childhood when they write without a spirit of play that is so inherent in the employment of sound. Too much emphasis is often placed on trying to socially engineer through political correctness and special interest agendas. Kids just want to be kids, and in the end they will be who they are no matter how hard adults might try to manipulate a child’s self determined view. Children crave sounds and catchy verse that is universal and repeatable instead of some dry narrative about how wrong it is to make fun of the kid with a neck that looks like a giraffe. Most kids truly have flutes and violins for hearts and they would just prefer having them strummed and plucked by a good heroic story filled with villains and catchy rhymes. As writers, it is not always easy to resonate with the imaginative world of a child, but I believe it is possible to rhyme your way into their minds and hearts.
Richard Rensberry, Author at QuickTurtle Books®