One thing I've learned through writing and selling is, children just seem to love rhyming books.
Out of 6 picture ebooks I have on Amazon, the two rhyming ones outsell the others by around 3 times!
I think really young ones can pick up on the rhythm, and enjoy the musical feel of a rhyming book. Put with simple ideas, thet children can easily relate to, and clear colourful illustrations help make a good picture book.
What do you think makes a good picture book?
Here are my two rhyming ones
I know picture books with anthropomorphic main characters are usually hard to pull off; there are a lot of them out there, but that just makes it even more obvious when they're not really outstanding. I worked at a publishing house as an intern, and I know those are the manuscripts that were rejected the most.
I understand why they're popular, but stories were rejected just for having anthropomorphic characters. It was one of the guidelines. I'm just saying, if you're going to do that, make sure yours stands out in a good way. That isn't meant as commentary on your writing because I haven't read it. I was just responding to the blanket question you posted.
Yes, I've heard that guideline before. There's a lot of bathwater out there with only a few tiny babies in, so throwing it out is the easiest way to deal with it!
I think classics like 'Wind in the Willows' and 'Winnie the Pooh' show how to do it, but as you say, it's very hard to pull off.
Both of those were written for real children, so maybe that's the secret! :]
Yes, I believe you've hit on it!
Children help you keep it on their level and they are excellent critics.
Mine quite happily tell me if I'm boring them.
Rhyming is fun, I agree... but if the illustrations aren't good then I don't usually pick it up at all :)
Hi Kelli, I agree illustrations are so important with a picture book. Quite often if the child is very young, that's where their main focus is going to be.
When I write a story, I see the story in my mind in pictures, and quite often the picture is showing something in the story that the verse isn't actually mentioning.
This worked really well with one of my books called 'Little Chick's First Day!' when the picture shows the egg rolling further and further away from the nest, but this fact isn't told in words.
When you say "..if the illustrations aren't good.." in what way do you mean?
Well, I can't speak for Kelli but, for me, illustrations that aren't good are those where the artwork isn't all that great - the colours are faint, the drawings aren't striking, there's no rich whimsicality.
There are a couple of books that I've held on to over the years that had fabulous illustrations - one was "Folk Tales of the World" and was illustrated by Janet and Anne Grahame Johnstone, and the other was "The Owl and the Pussycat" illustrated by Jan Brett. It's the illustrations that made them keepers.
I'm enchanted by picture books with whimsical artwork and strong rhythms. You're right, the really young ones can pick up on the rhythm and the musical feel of a rhyming book very spontaneously. Add characters with a strong presence and a curious conflict to the book, I think that'll make a great picture book.
At least, this is what I seek to accomplish in my own!
My Clearest Me (a picture ebook in rhymes for quiet & shy kids)
We have a children's book I had written last year. My husband is working on the illustrations. I was concerned because it's a rhyming book "God, I wonder" It's more of a bedtime story and I have hesitated putting it out.
Thanks for writing this post, because this book is close to my heart.
Hi E W, if the book is close to your heart, then it'll probably touch someone else's.
So I'd say, keep going!
Best of luck with your story.