Sunday, March 11, 2018

Poetry Corner: Rhyme [Poetry Friday]

Enjoy all the of the great Poetry Friday posts. Teacher Dance is hosting this week's round up.

Rhyme is defined as a word that has the same end sound as another. There are various kinds of rhyme.

Perfect Rhyme are words that rhyme exactly, or perfectly. Here is an example of a poem with perfect rhyme:

Safe and Sound

Seeds buried
Safe and sound
Shooting sprouts
From the ground.
Buds soon bloom
All around
From seeds buried
Safe and sound.
Copyright Kimberly M. Hutmacher Poetry Play For Preschoolers 2003

In the above poem, sound, ground, and around are perfect rhymes.

Imperfect or near rhymes are words that do not rhyme perfectly. One example might be dances/branches.

Eye rhymes are words that look alike but do not sound the same. Examples include mood/wood and prove/love.

Homonyms are words that do not look alike, but do sound alike. Examples of homonyms include: threw/through and meet/meat.

Identical rhyme is an exact word rhyming with itself. A great example of this is Edgar Allen Poe’s Annabel Lee:

For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

Annabel Lee is used to end lines over and over again throughout this poem. This poem also offers a great example of internal rhyme, where there are rhymes placed inside of the same line in the poem. We see beams and dreams and rise and eyes.

Challenge: Look at some of the poetry you’ve already written and identify which types of rhyme you’ve used.

Happy Poem-Making!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

The Cover Letter: A Taste of What Is To Come

Before you sit down to write your cover letter, you need to ask yourself what it is you hope to accomplish in the letter. You want the letter written in proper form, free of grammar and spelling errors. You want to share your publishing history and professional affiliations like SCBWI.

While all of this necessary and important, I can’t stress enough the importance of the first paragraph. This is the paragraph we use to introduce and briefly summarize our book. I stress briefly for a reason. Oftentimes, writers think they need to tell the entire story in the cover letter. I’ve heard several editors speak at conferences and though they all had differing tastes in books, the one thing they all had in common was that they were busy! They asked that cover letters be short and to the point. They want the story summarized in 2-3 sentences. They will be getting a taste of what’s to come, though, so you want the taste to be delicious and tempting. You want to leave them anxious to read your story.

But how do we narrow our 32 page picture book or 200 page novel down to just 2 or 3 tempting sentences? I found a tool that has helped me a great deal. If you search for a book on amazon, you will find a product description. Look up 3 or 4 of your favorite books and read how they are described in just a few concise sentences. Here’s what they say about Margaret Wise Brown’s GOODNIGHT MOON: “In the great green room, tucked away in a bed, is a little bunny. ‘Goodnight room. Goodnight moon.’ And to all the familiar things in the softly lit room, to the picture of the three little bears sitting in chairs, to the clocks and his socks, to the mittens and the kittens, to everything one by one, he says goodnight.” This example successfully sets the tone of the story to come.

Kate Dicamillo’s BECAUSE OF WINN DIXIE is described as: “When ten-year-old Opal Buloni moves to Naomi, Florida with her preacher father, she doesn’t know what to expect. She is lonely at first—that is until she meets Winn Dixie, a stray dog who helps her make some unusual friends. Because of Winn Dixie, Opal begins to let go of some of her sadness and finds she has a whole lot to be thankful for. The description gives us a taste and makes us curious. Why did they move? Why is she sad? Just who are these unusual friends? Where did this special dog come from?

Both of the above descriptions give us a taste and leave us wanting to read more. This is our cover letter mission!

Monday, March 5, 2018

Poetry Lesson: Apostrophe

This is the latest in a series of posts dedicated to introducing poetry forms and tools that help poetry shine. See the Poetry Lessons link on the right to view more lessons.

Apostrophe: A poem that addresses, or speaks to, a person or object that can’t hear or respond.


My Old Friend
by Kimberly M. Hutmacher

Little old rag doll
With bright red hair,
Eyes like emeralds
And skin so fair.

Wears a blue dress
With a patchwork square,
Worn out apron
With a crooked tear.

Little old rag doll
Propped in a chair,
Looking at me
With a peaceful stare.

My friend and I,
We make quite a pair,
With hugs to give,
Endless love to share.

Copyright 2007 Kimberly M. Hutmacher Hopscotch for Girls Magazine

The above poem is an example of an Apostrophe poem, because the rag doll that I am addressing in the poem cannot respond.

Challenge: Look around the space you are in. Pick one object, and attempt to write a poem that speaks to that object. Happy Poem-Making!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

What's New?

I do these 'What's New?" posts to hold myself accountable. I want to share a bit about what I've been working on, and I want to set and meet goals for the month to come. This month has been a whirlwind of writing. I submitted a new article to Children's Book Insider. It will appear in the April issue. I submitted two poems to two different magazines and a series proposal to a book publisher. Now I wait :) The majority of my time was spent working on writing test passages for an educational publisher. Those are finished now, and I'm looking forward to spending the next month submitting some new proposals and poems and working on other ideas gained from Storystorm. What have you been up to?

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Poetry Lesson: Mask Poems

Welcome back! This week, we're taking a look at Mask Poems.

Mask Poem: A first person description or observation told by an object or creature. What am I ? poems fall into this category. The title of the poem is often whatever the object or creature is that is speaking, but if we write our poem well, we usually don't even need a title.



I'm a jumbo puff
Sticky sweet
Toasted brown
Camp-out treat!
Copyright Kimberly M. Hutmacher Poetry Play for Preschoolers, A to Z Kid's Stuff

The marshmallow clearly describes itself, and the reader knows what it is without reading the title.

Challenge: Choose a creature or an object, and write a poem from its point of view. It can be a what am I? or an observation. Happy Poem-Making!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Poetry Lesson: Alliteration

I hope to regularly share information and examples on various poetry forms and tools that help poetry sparkle. Today, we'll look at alliteration.

Alliteration: The repetition of usually initial consonant sounds in two or more neighboring words.


Paint Play

Draw with fingers
Dance with brush
Dab with sponges

Copyright Kimberly M. Hutmacher Poetry Play for Preschoolers, A to Z Kid's Stuff

In the above poem we see repetition of both the initial 'D' sounds in draw, dance, and dab and the 'Sw' sounds in swish, swoosh, and swush.

Challenge: Write a poem (you pick the form) and try to incorporate alliteration.