“The Pressure to Rhyme”
I have been writing picture books for more than a decade. I’ve written about cowboys, chickens, and aliens. I’ve written about monsters, princesses, and sharks. Up until now, though, each and every book of mine was written in prose. I had no intentions of ever writing a rhyming picture book, and I was completely happy with that.
Then a title came to me. Mary Had a Little Glam. It was a title that was so irresistible, I knew I had to write that book. The potential for this character made my heart pound. I loved Mary before I even knew her story. But I had a problem. A doozy of a problem. I was scared to write in rhyme.
Many people write in rhyme, but few truly excel at it. Oftentimes, rhyme is forced, slanted, and just plain bad. I knew that if I wanted to write a rhymer, I had to make sure every syllable, word, and line was just right. Yikes.
As I worked, however, I grew to enjoy this challenge more and more. I studied books by Linda Ashman, Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen, Samantha Berger, Jill Esbaum, Kim Norman, and Corey Rosen Schwartz. I went on long walks and pounded out the meter of the nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb” as I looped around and around my neighborhood. I shared drafts with many wonderful writers, asked for their feedback, and put it to good use.
I also had a secret weapon—Lane Fredrickson’s website, RhymeWeaver.com. In a clear and upbeat manner, Fredrickson offered everything I needed to know about rhyme, rhythm, and meter. She made it seem doable! I highly recommend RhymeWeaver.com to anyone who wants to write in rhyme as well as anyone who wants to teach rhyme in a way that is both easy-to-understand and fun.
About the Author: Tammi Sauer is a full time children’s book author who also presents at schools and conferences across the nation. She has sold 28 picture books to major publishing houses including Disney*Hyperion, HarperCollins, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster, and Sterling. In addition to winning awards, Tammi’s books have gone on to do great things. Chicken Dance, The Musical is currently on a national tour, Nugget & Fang was a featured book at the 2015 Scholastic Book Fair, and Your Alien, an NPR Best Book of 2015, was recently released in Italian, Spanish, Korean, and French which makes her feel extra fancy.
You can learn more about Tammi and her books at tammisauer.com.
Mary Had a Little Glam
About the Book: This little Mary has STYLE! In this fun take on Mother Goose, fashion-forward Mary helps some of childhood’s most beloved characters go glam. From the kid who lives in a shoe (and dons some fab footwear, too) to Jack, who breaks his crown but gets a great new one, Mary’s school friends look fantastic in their finery. But are they now too well dressed for recess? Not to worry—Mary always shows her flair for what to wear!
Mary Had a Little Glam debuts in August. Kirkus recently gave it a starred review. My favorite part of the review states, “Pinkalicious + Fancy Nancy + Eloise = Mary, the diminutive, precocious, brown-skinned queen of glam.” I am also proud of these words: “Sauer’s rhythm never falters.” Ooh. La. La.
Thank you, Tammi, for this post, and thank you, Lauren, for connecting us with Tammi!