Do you have a Poem in your Pocket today? I do!

Do you have a Poem in your Pocket today? I do!    Day 26



Happy Poem in your Pocket Day!

Poem in your pocket

Today is Poem in your Pocket Day so select your favorite poem, stick it in your pocket and share it with people throughout the day…what a great idea!

This video explains the reasoning and the details but basically…let’s share poetry!



There are only 2 days left to submit your poem for the Golden Quill Poetry Contest!







Today’s guest blogger has her second picture book, Cock-a-Doodle Oops! coming out next month! What a perfect plan…all rhyming picture books should be released near the month of  April, National Poetry Month!

Here is a link to Cock-a-Doodle Oops! Pre order it now!

I am so pleased to have her here and I am genuinely in love with both of her books! They are clever, funny and full of wonderful lyrical verse!



So, without further ado, I’m honored to present today’s

Golden Quill Guest Blogger

Lori Degman!

                   Rhypibomo Guest Blogger Badge      Lori Degman 1



Use Book Dummies to create pacing and page turns


When writing a rhyming picture book, you typically follow the same formatting throughout the manuscript – either couplets, quatrains, limerick . . . But, if you break up the formatting, you can improve your story’s pacing and create effective page turns. A great way to do that is to make a book dummy and play around with the lines of your verse.

Lori Degman 3

Here are some examples:

In my first book, 1 Zany Zoo, Colin Jack decided to move the last line of the following stanza to create an awesome page turn!


10 rowdy bears led a big zoo parade.
The animals modeled the costumes they’d made.
They waved to the crowd from their traveling stages.
The zookeeper shouted,




Cockadoodle Oops

In my new book, Cock-a-Doodle Oops!, I separated the last line of the book from the rest of the stanza to make the punch line work. Let me set up the joke: Rooster leaves for a week’s vacation to the beach and, while he’s gone, the other animals can’t wake up the farmer. Rooster returns with a cold and can’t crow. When they finally wake the farmer, here’s what happens:

He joined them outside and pulled rooster aside.
“Your crow had a bit of a screech!
I see that you’re sick and I’ve got just the trick,
What you need is . . .

a week at the beach!


Corey R Schwartz 2

Here’s an example from Corey Rosen Schwartz’s new book, Goldi Rocks and the Three Bears. In the book, the three bears are looking for a soprano for their rock band and, following the tradition of Goldilocks, they find Goldi asleep in their house and learn she can sing a perfect high C. Here’s the last stanza:

Their albums now top all the rock charts.
A countrywide tour has been planned.
The fans scream and shout.
They’re crazy about . . .

Goldi Rocks and the Great Three Bear Band!


Tiffany haber 2

In Tiffany Strelitz Haber’s sweet book about true friendship, Ollie and Claire, dividing the last stanza over three pages sets up the pacing:

Well, let me just say, and I hope it’s okay,
for whatever you think this is worth –“

“I’m SO glad it’s you!”
“I’m so glad it’s you, too!”

And they set off to travel the earth!


One dark night
Another way to create good page turns is by adding transition words that are not part of the verse. Lisa Wheeler does this in her book, One Dark Night. The story goes back and forth between mouse and mole, and giant bear. Lisa moves between scenes by using phrases like:

Then, one dark night . . .
and Meanwhile . . .



Or, you can insert a repeating line that is not part of the verse, as in Karma Wilson’s The Cow Loves Cookies. Periodically, between the stanzas, comes the line: But the cow loves cookies. Then, when you think you’ve reached the end, you turn the page:

(But the duck loves quackers.)

So, when you make your book dummy, try breaking up the stanzas to improve the pacing or create great page turns!



Lori Degman is a teacher of Deaf/Hard of Hearing students by day and a writer of picture books by night, weekend and school holiday. Her debut picture book, 1 Zany Zoo, illustrated by Colin Jack, was the winner of the Cheerios New Author Contest and was published by Simon & Schuster in 2010. Her second picture book, Cock-a-Doodle Oops!, illustrated by Deborah Zemke, will be released by Creston Books in May, 2014.




Thank you Lori Degman!


RhyPiBoMo Daily Lesson: Thursday, April 24th
By Angie Karcher © 2014
Lesson 25


What is a Picture Book Dummy?

It is an illustrator’s tool that author’s also use to divide their story up into page breaks so they can make sure it fits into the traditional picture book format of 32 pages. It is an actual, physical book that is created only for the author’s benefit and is not to be submitted to an editor. It also helps authors determine if their page breaks are in the right places, help with pacing and will show weaknesses in the text, based on the page turns. It will ensure that there are illustration possibilities on all pages.

It is actually quite a bit more complicated than that but that is the gist of it.


Here are some terms you should know:
Picture Book Format – the way a traditional picture book is divided up to have 32 pages

Page Break – determines where the text is placed on the pages

Front Matter – anything that goes in the beginning of the book that is not the story text. For example, the title page, the table of contents, the acknowledgements, etc.

Opening Scene – the first setting at the beginning of the story

Full Spread – an illustration that covers both pages when the book is open flat

End Papers – decorative pages at the beginning and end of the book, opposite the front and back cover



Other important info:
You will only have 24 pages of text for you story.
Some pages can be single (text/illustration) and some can cover both pages as a double page. (text/illustration)
There are certainly other sizes of picture books but this is the typical example


This is a visual example of how the pages are divided:

Dummy Layout

There are so many great resources on making a picture book dummies, I thought I would give you the basics to get you started as I can’t explain it better than these resources below.


How to Make a Picture Book Dummy 9 Easy Steps
by illustrator Wendy Martin


Basic Picture Book Construction


Picture Book Dummy, Picture Book Construction: Know Your Layout
By Tara Lazar


How to Create a Book Dummy for Your Children’s Picture Book


How to Make a Picture Book Dummy…and Why



Here are a few examples of the actual dummies that I made and use…


Folded printer paper held together with yarn…This was very quick to make and text could easily be added on sticky notes or taped on the pages for easy adjusting and rearranging.


Very Simple…Yarn, paper and a hole punch!



We are big recyclers at my house, so I have been looking back through my hundreds of book club, paper back, picture books from when I was teaching Kindergarten and selected some that aren’t “loved” or NEED to be recycled.
I cover each page with two sheets of printer paper folded over each the end. I used the little sticky dots for scrap booking to make this example. It does make it a bit thicker but it’s faster than tape. Basically, I cover all the pages with paper, and I cover the front cover with tag board and “voila” I have a new book.
This is much sturdier than the folded paper version but takes at least 30 – 45 minutes to make. I decided, rather than to pass on or donate a few of these “less than wonderful” paperback books to kids, I would attempt to use it in writing a SPECTACULAR picture book of my own! It really is nice if you decide to add some sketches in for good measure to ensure the illustration possibilities of the book.

image    You scrap bookers will know that the blue gadget in the picture is a glue dot applicator…You just push it down and the dot comes out where you want it…very cool and life has never been the same since I found it! LOL


This is the book page covered with printer paper



Here is the recycled paper back book covered with printer paper, ready to become an all new picture book.

And…Gracie is all worn out from helping me make these dummies!


My last example is nice because it can be re-used over and over again.
I used a plastic 3 prong folder, added 16 clear page protectors and 5 page dividers with tabs.
All you do is slip each page of your text into the protector.
Then, add the different elements of a picture book on the tabs so you can make sure your text fits into the criteria.
When you are completely finished with this dummy, pull the pages out, in the order you have added then, staple it together and file.
Now, your dummy folder is ready to use again.


Three prong plastic folder with clear page protectors








imageIn this photo, it looks like the order of the tabs is backwards, but it’s not.The first tab is the green one on the right, then the yellow, the blue, the purple and the orange in order from front to back.



Okay, this was the crash course on picture book dummies but I wanted to explain what it is and how important it can be for your writing process before we get going next week on more detailed information on writing picture books. You need to think in terms of these page breaks when you are writing and revising. I wish I had known years earlier about picture book dummies!



Writing Prompt: Create a simple Picture Book Dummy for one of your manuscripts…see how it fits!



Okay, now do everything else on the pledge for today and don’t forget to comment on today’s blog post!

RhyPiBoMo Pledge

RhyPiBoMo PledgeRhyPiBoMo Pledge Please comment ONLY ONE TIME below for a chance to win today’s prize! Prizes will be drawn by next Sunday for the previous week. To be eligible for a prize you must be a registered participant and comment after each days lessons.


78 thoughts on “Do you have a Poem in your Pocket today? I do!

  1. Oh, these are GREAT tips for creating a PB dummy!! Thank you so much!! Plus, Lori Degman’s Cock-a-Doodle Oops! PB is one of my All Time Favorites!! It’s excellent! RhyPiBoMo members should definitely add that one to your collections!!

  2. The “Poem in the Pocket Day” is a great idea. I can think of a few ways it could be incorporated. (at a cafe – instead of fortune cookies, in a bookstore – at the cash register, etc.)
    Thanks for the instructions in making a book dummy!

  3. Today’s post was so timely for me! I have never used a dummy before and decided I wanted to try and make one this week. I enjoyed reading how Lori used a dummy to help with her page breaks and seeing how you went about making yours, Angie! Thank you both! Off to make my dummy now…

  4. Thanks for the information on the dummy books and the general layout. The verse break examples were very thought provoking.

  5. I’m in love….with rhyming picture books! Thanks Angie and Lori! Great examples of picture books today and I cannot wait to try your creative book dummy versions;) thanks for sharing!

  6. I only learned about picture book dummies in the last few weeks or so, which means I loved seeing your ideas. Thanks again for this info!

  7. Thank-you Angie for the PB dummies resources. I have a copy of one in my collection and it is helpful to go back to to see how the story flows. Lori, thank- you for your energy today. I love going to the library and finding your stories.

  8. Angie…what awesome ideas for picture book dummies…love your creativity! I don’t do enough with them…used to make them decades ago when I was just fooling around with writing picture books. Thanks to Lori Degman and you, I’m going to reactivate the ‘dummy’ in me…and get busy making them for all of my manuscripts. 🙂 And I think I’ll post on FB a poem I still have from when I was 9 years old…if I can find it in the box where it resides…written on a scrap of paper ripped from a small spiral notepad in the slanted unsure scribble of the child I was. 🙂

  9. Love the info. on breaking up formatting. I knew I needed to do something like this on my manuscript, but wasn’t sure exactly how to do it. Now I know!

  10. Lori – I love your work. Your books have such lively and clever rhymes!
    Great post Angie- I don’t know what I’d do without dummies. I have to have them – they help me see everything more clearly!

  11. I love Lori’s books! She is such an incredible rhymer – and story teller! Those were great ideas for pb dummies, Angie. I hadn’t thought of using a folder. I’m going to give it a try. Thanks!

  12. Thanks for the info on Poem in Your Pocket Day!

    I want to add something about Dummies: a Picture Book Dummy is a term that describes two very different things :
    1.) What you explained for the author’s eyes only, and
    2.) A tool for a designer and/or an illustrator to use in planning that also can be used for submission. The first resource link you included above (How to Make a Picture Book Dummy 9 Easy Steps by illustrator Wendy Martin) speaks about the second type of dummy. If you are an author/illustrator (AND ONLY IF YOU ARE A PROFESSIONAL ILLUSTRATOR!), you can submit the dummy for submission, if you plan to illustrate the book yourself. This is a more developed dummy where you have planned the whole book out with illustrations and roughly sketched them all in, and, in addition, have created 2 finished illustrations to show your style. They are separate from the dummy, but submitted along with it.

    To double your chances of getting published, it’s also a good idea to submit the manuscript ONLY to the editor (in case they love the story, but have someone else in mind to illustrate!) That is, if you’re willing to give up the illustrating to someone else. I wish there were two different terms for the two different kinds of dummies, but it doesn’t seem like there are. I just wanted to clarify, so people won’t get confused, because it IS confusing! 🙂

    The 4th resource you’ve included (the e-how link) is kind of misleading – it says that most editors want to see the dummies. That’s not true if you are an author that doesn’t illustrate.

  13. Happy Poem in Your Pocket Day 🙂

    Lori-thank you for the advice about improving pacing and turn pages by using a dummy.

    Angie, your personal demos about making PB dummies is terrific. I worked on one and found that I needed to make some changes. Thank you!

  14. You know, Angie, the first way you showed to make a picture book dummy looks like the books kids make in school.
    P.S. Happy Poem in Your Pocket Day, it’s about time I kicked out that wocket and put something useful in my pocket 🙂

  15. Thanks for more interesting information and resources, Angie! Will now try to work out how to make an electronic Picture Book Dummy on my iPad…❤️😊

  16. Angie and Lori – I have been to several writing conferences for kidlit and this month has been SO abundant in fabulous content, wonderful cheerleading, VISUAL AIDS(!), resources of every kind, examples the teach and so much enthusiasm. Thank you SO MUCH!

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