The top 10 finalists for The 2015 Best in Rhyme Award have
been announced! The committee and I are thrilled to share reviews of each of these
wonderful rhyming picture books!
Please support these authors and illustrators by
purchasing their books this holiday season!
The Top 10 RPB finalists for The 2015 Best in Rhyme Award
These reviews are done by the Best in Rhyme Committee in no particular order. The winner and honor books will be named on December 4th in NYC in a live-streaming announcement from Julie Gribble’s KidLitTV Studio. We are so appreciative of Julie’s support of our event!
Thank you Julie!
the 2015 Best in Rhyme Award
top 10 book reviews!
Watch for more reviews all month!
STICK AND STONE
Author: Beth Ferry
Illustrator: Tom Lichtenheld
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Review by Patricia Toht
As a picture book writer, perhaps you’ve heard the advice to “leave room for the illustrator.” For a stellar example of how to do this, look no further than STICK AND STONE.
The main characters in the story are a stick and a stone. I repeat, a stick. A stone. Not exactly stock characters for a picture book. But in 152 words, author Beth Ferry Words manages to simply and compactly convey a tale of friendship and loyalty between these two characters. Illustrator Tom Lichtenheld expands the words with pictures heavy with the emotions of sadness, anger, worry, and happiness.
The opening begins:
The problem is clearly established through the words – Stick and Stone both need a friend. But study the illustrations to see how the pictures enhance the emotion. In the first spread, Stick and Stone are physically separated by white space on the page. Their names are at opposite ends of the spread, physically apart.
In the next illustration, not only are Stick and Stone in different locales at different hours, but they also are staring into the vastness of nature, which magnifies their isolation and smallness. Brilliant teamwork!
Beth Ferry has carefully chosen her words. Despite the tiny word count, she has sprinkled in poetic techniques. A simple example is when Stick ends up in a puddle:
I love the alliteration of “Stick stuck” (as well as the upside-down “help!” in the illustration).
My favorite bit of cleverness is when Stone is being bullied by Pinecone and Stick comes to the rescue:
“Vanish!” says Stick.
The author did not choose “bug off” or “get lost,” or other options that might fit with the meter. “Vanish” is a magician’s word and sets the reader up for the sentence that follows.
His word does the trick.
Does the author mean this phrase as an idiom? Or has magic happened to make Pinecone go away? It’s up to the reader.
The end also delivers a satisfying twist, but I will let you discover that for yourself.
Pick up STICK AND STONE.
Read. Study. Enjoy!
I urge you to find
Stick and Stone
to read to your little sticks and stones!
Fun Facts About Beth:
Lives just within reach of the beach in New Jersey
Mom to three not-so-small, but oh-so-great kids.
Represented by Elena Giovinazzo of Pippin Properties, Inc.
Loves finding turtles in her backyard.
Beth’s Favorite Things: lilacs, bulldogs, Halloween, reading and every shade of purple.Beth
This wonderful review was written by Patricia Toht, a Best in Rhyme Committee member. Thank you Patty!
Patricia Toht is a children’s author and poet. Her poetry has appeared in children’s magazines and anthologies. Frances Lincoln Books will publish her debut picture book, ALL ABOARD THE LONDON BUS, in spring 2017. PICK A PINE TREE by Walker Books arrives autumn 2017.