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Why is Juila Donaldson allowed to rhyme?

(23 Posts)
Pearofwisdom Wed 07-Aug-19 07:41:23

Every single piece of advice I have read says publishers are not interested in rhyming manuscripts for picture books.

When I write for children I naturally rhyme. When I read aloud for children rhyming books feel so much nicer. Juila Donaldson's books are lovely to read aloud.

So why is the advice not to rhyme? How did Julia get away with it!?

grin light hearted, ofcourse and not one bit jealous.

MariaVonBratt Wed 07-Aug-19 07:43:01

I didn't realise that rhyme was a no-no and all of Julia's book rhyme so it can't be that bad or she wouldn't be so huge! I agree, my dc loved the gentle rhyming, it used to send them off to sleep.

AnxiousMcAnxiousFace Wed 07-Aug-19 07:43:53

DH will only read rhyming books. They are much easier to read out loud.

Pearofwisdom Wed 07-Aug-19 07:56:40

Thank you smileI'm glad i'm not the only rhyming fan! I think I might just go back to writing rhymes. I guess if they are good enough publishers will like them regardless.

TakeMeToYourLiar Wed 07-Aug-19 08:13:17

I feel like most of DS books rhyme, but maybe it's because we have a lot of Donaldson?

MyNewBearTotoro Wed 07-Aug-19 08:18:12

I’m surprised publishers are saying not to rhyme as I feel like a significant proportion of my DC’s picture books rhyme.

PotteringAlong Wed 07-Aug-19 08:19:35

We have a lot of rhyming books and they’re really hard to do well - lots of them are completely rubbish compared to Julia Donaldson!

Bunnybigears Wed 07-Aug-19 08:22:20

I think we should say Julia Donaldson rhymes if you speak with a certain accent. I have a North East accent and laugh and scarf (Stickman) are never going to rhyme!

MedalMedalMedal Wed 07-Aug-19 08:22:27

Are rhyming books not encouraged? 🙁 I wonder why! I loved reading them to dc. Room on the Broom was wonderful.
Others were Hairy Maclary and Slinky Maliniki. I like the way they bounce along.
Without Cat in the Hat I don’t think reading would have ever clicked for Dd. She was really struggling, but it all fell into place thanks to that one. Now she’s all grown up and thinking of an English degree.
Keep going could be writing the next classic.

TinyMystery Wed 07-Aug-19 08:23:06

Isn’t current advice to read rhyming books to babies/toddlers/small children as much as possible? It helps with language development AFAIK.

Fraggling Wed 07-Aug-19 08:26:07

Stumbled across this thread

I love dr seuss!

What is wrong with rhyming? That's bonkers.

Julia Donaldson books are family faves
No bed without Ted as well

Bear hunt very very very hard to read aloud never got why it was such a thing

The idea that books to read aloud for little kids shouldn't rhyme its pretty odd imo. As a consumer rather than a writer!

NoSquirrels Wed 07-Aug-19 08:27:38

why is the advice not to rhyme?

Picture books are expensive to produce. In order to do so, publishers rely on selling foreign rights and publishing as co-editions. Lovely rhyming text in English will not be as easy to make rhyme in Slovak, or Cantonese, or German.

Kids love rhyme and there’s always an exception to the rule, but in general you are better avoiding it.

Julia Donaldson started off as a songwriter and performer, and her first books were taken from songs. She got lucky, in a way!

RushianDisney Wed 07-Aug-19 08:28:52

Miffy is another series that all rhyme. Maybe publishers think the market is saturated?

WipeYourFeetOnTheRhythmRug Wed 07-Aug-19 08:31:46

There are so many terribly written rhyming books, it is such a difficult thing to do well. The DC have some that just don’t scan and they are hard to read. Curiously, they seem to recognise this and the “bad” ones get tossed aside.

Current fave is “Summery Saturday morning”

We take the dogs down the wiggly track, wiggly track, wiggly track;
One dog’s white and the other dog’s black;
On a summery Saturday morning.

So simple and lovely to read!

YobaOljazUwaque Wed 07-Aug-19 08:33:41

I suspect that the advice to avoid rhyme is because the vast majority of people will cone up with the most appalling offense to the English language when they attempt to write in rhyme. JD is one of the minority of exceptional people who can do it well. Unless you are absolutely certain that you are in that elite category, it's probably best avoided.

MollyButton Wed 07-Aug-19 08:36:51

Bear hunt isn't hard to read!
But then I used to know the rhyme/song before the book - we used to do it at Guides of all places. So I've always just gone with that. Not the best bedtime book though - far too active.

Julia Donaldson's rhymes relate to a very specific regional accent, which I find interesting linguistically.

Mammyloveswine Wed 07-Aug-19 08:43:38

Bear hunt is fab!

Other non rhyming favourites in our house include "handas surprise", "Keith the cat with the magic hat", "the very hungry caterpillar m". Ds is only 3.5.

I'm a teacher and some Julia Donaldson books are lovely to read others aren't at all. I hate sharing a shell! I think she peaked with paper dolls, that's a lovely book and isn't strictly all rhyme!

I love what the ladybird heard too!

Thekingintheeast Wed 07-Aug-19 13:18:32

Because so many rhyming books are absolutely terrible!!

I’m a mum of three and early years and phonics specialist and have read a LOT of books and some of the onset and rhyme and vocabulary used is depressingly awful. There are some terrible picture books out there at the moment - I love illustration as a medium but there are a lot of wonderful illustrators who are writing terrible books.

ErrolTheDragon Wed 07-Aug-19 13:23:33

* Every single piece of advice I have read says publishers are not interested in rhyming manuscripts for picture books.*

I bet when they come across a manuscript with good rhyming and scanning they snap it up.

Shirley Hughes is another classic children's author - she wrote lovely readable prose as well as rhymes.

Dirtyjellycat Wed 07-Aug-19 13:24:00


I think your autocorrect changed rime to rhyme.
Can you give an example of what you mean by this?

AliasGrape Wed 07-Aug-19 13:38:50

@thekingintheeast Also interested to hear more about what you mean on the onset and rime vocabulary used.

I’m a teacher/ Early Years specialist too and it seems like most books targeted at the age group rhyme, although I agree not all work well and some are difficult to read. Mammyloveswine totally agree about Sharing a Shell! That is not a nice read. And agree that many Julia Donaldson rhymes don’t work in my/ my cohort’s accents. We loved ‘What the Ladybird Heard’ this year though, although the children did insist on referring to the ‘surprise cow’ rather than the prize one. grin

Also Aliens Love Underpants was hugely popular with my class this year but I don’t find it scans well at all.

Pearofwisdom Wed 07-Aug-19 18:58:43

Thank you Nosquirrels that makes so much sense, always follow the money!
So interesting to read all of your opinions, it helps a lot!

TalentedMsRipley Sun 11-Aug-19 20:50:17

My children's book was considered for publication but then turned down as was in rhyming couplets. They said they publish in lots of European countries where the rhymes wouldn't rhyme!

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