New Book, Old Book, Blue Book, Gold Book

Only half the title written above is legit. The other half...well, there's no reason for just rhymed.

Which takes me off topic from the original direction of this post which is to introduce or reintroduce a couple of picture books. I'll get to that. I promise. But I stray because I read a lot of manuscripts each year by writers of all experience levels. Some are great. Some are not. Just like my own work. But I will tell you, many of the less experienced writers seem to have this idea that a picture book has to rhyme or even that it should rhyme. Well it doesn't and it shouldn't...unless there's a reason.

I'll say it again, and you can quote me on it, "Steer clear of writing your picture book in rhyme, unless there's a good reason."

So, the title of the blog post breaks that rule. (granted, this is a blog post and not a picture book so I can write whatever and however I like, right?)

What are the reasons you'd write in rhyme? Well, here are a few. And if yours isn't on this list, you'd better have a darn good one I didn't think of or get rewriting.

  1. You ARE Dr. Suess himself. (Which if that's the case, you're a ghost but I'd still like to meet you)
  2. Your book's plot is about a song, or rhythm or music, or singing. For example, Kristyn Crow's "Skeleton Cat" or "Middle Child Blues" or "Bedtime at the Swamp." Check those books out. They have great rhythm and rhyme, with a reason for it.
  3. You are a trained poet. You've actually studied poetry, rhythm, and rhyme, and know what it really is and how to effectively use it. Like, taken classes on it, kind of studied. 
Why you ask? Because writing in rhyme and doing it well is REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY HARD.  Why make your job harder than it needs to be? 

So unless your reason is one of the above, steer clear. (See what I did there at the end of that sentence? Ha. Ha.)

Now, on to the real reason for the post! YAY!

My dear friend, Camille Andros, is a very talented writer who knows how to get to the heart of the matter. I loved her first book, "Charlotte the Scientist Gets Squished" because it's cute, funny, spunky, clever, and tugs at the heart just enough in the end.  But I love her newest book for totally different reasons. It's sophisticated, quiet, beautiful, and migratory.  And still, like her first, it also tugs at the heart. Julie Morstad's illustrations add a deeper sense of timelessness and nostalgia to the story and I must admit I'm envious of the smooth wash in her peachy skies and the beautiful flora on the hillsides. Simple and elegant, the illustrations leave plenty of space for the words to work their magic as well.

The Dress and the Girl, published by Abrams 2018

I just got the news that the very first book I illustrated, "Hip Hip Hooray for Annie McRae!" which was published 17 years ago in 2001, is being reissued! It will have a new cover (I don't have the reveal for that quite yet) but all the same interior illustrations and is supposed to come out in the spring of 2019 as part of an anniversary book list for the publisher. Some of you might remember this book. My own nephew married a girl who excitedly told me when we met that she LOVED "Hip Hip Hooray for Annie McRae!" when she was a little girl (yes that made me feel old). I have actually met teachers at elementary school visits who also loved the book and its message of positive self talk, but they were sad it had gone out of print. But now, I am so happy it will be out in the world again and a brand new generation will get to enjoy it. I guess it IS available...somewhat...the current $87 price tag for a first edition on Amazon is a little steep for most readers. It is for me! 

But never fear. The new edition will be MUCH cheaper, I'm sure. So watch here and on my instagram for news of the new cover and for the re-release date!

Original Version of Annie McRae

Read more »
My photo
I'm a freelance illustrator working in the children's book industry. I love kids and raising my own 4 children. They are the inspiration and the passion behind all I do in art and in life. See my website at

Blog Archive