RhyPiBoMo 2016 Day 1 Tanya Anderson

Welcome to RhyPiBoMo 2016!

Can you believe it’s April? I am SO excited for this year’s event. Each year I think it can’t get any better and then…I am blessed that our wonderful guest bloggers have agreed to share their insight into how to write professional RPBs and what will get you noticed…and what NOT to do! PLEASE like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter and go to their websites and express your appreciation for their time and wisdom! Many have generously donated multiple prizes and this event would not be successful without their support, so please support them! Oh…and buy their books too!!

RhyPiBoMo 2016 Calendar

Every year we honor an author of rhyme and poetry. This year’s honoree is Theodor Geisel aka Dr. Seuss. He is a man of many talents and we owe him our praise for creating such treasured books for children. The quote this year, “Why fit in when you were born to stand out!” is the perfect mantra for us rhymers. Let’s all take pride in our rhyming efforts and not let criticism of rhyme keep us from creating the books that children, parents and teachers treasure! But, to do it well means lots and lots and lots of time and work and rejection.

So, go…stand out!

I had the good fortune of meeting our first guest blogger about 15 years ago at an SCBWI conference in Indiana. She spoke to us about poetry and rhyme and even mentioned that she authored a biography about Ted. I still have a copy of that book in my office and I believe that was the moment I fell in love with writing rhyming manuscripts. So who better to begin our month of rhyme than Editor and Author Tanya Anderson!


TanyaAnderson photo news sun

Author/Editor Tanya Anderson


A Tribute to Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss)

and Rhyme

Long before he hopped on Pop or put a hat on a cat, Ted Geisel was a success. He had had a happy childhood, was popular in high school, and graduated from Dartmouth College (with a major in English!), where he met his first wife, Helen. She is the one who noticed him doodling in class one day and told him, “You’re crazy to be a professor. What you really want to do is draw.” It was love at first sight.

Ted set himself up as a freelance writer and illustrator, hoping to make enough money to finally marry Helen and start their life together. He was a humor writer, and the odd illustrations of unrecognizable animal and trees became cartoons (think: James Thurber but bizarre). He submitted his work to New York publishers, hoping to get a paid gig or to sell his work outright. Rejections piled up. He fought discouragement by drawing more silly scenes, including some hysterically funny political cartoons. He sold his first work to Saturday Evening Post for $25 and signed it “Seuss.”

Dr. Seuss cartoon 1

From the National World War II Museum Archives

In 1927, Ted was hired as a staff writer at Judge magazine in New York City. He began using the name “Dr. Seuss” on a regular feature in that magazine. He also drew advertising cartoons for the publication—and that skill paid off in big ways. His silly-looking ads for Flit bug spray went far beyond one magazine, showing up on billboards, in newspapers, and in the subway. He made good money (even though the Great Depression had hurt so many), but something was still missing.

He played with words. He doodled and colored. The rhythms of his mother’s voice, from far back in his childhood when she read to him, were imbedded in his literary ears. Rhythm and rhyme were the hooks. In the summer of 1936, Ted and Helen were returning from a trip to Europe aboard a luxury liner. Unable to sleep, Ted went to the bar and listened. He heard it—the ship’s engines kept a rhythm, over and over again. It matched the beat of “’Twas the Night Before Christmas,” and Ted began writing: “And that is a story that no one can beat, and to think that I saw it on Mulberry Street.”

Dr. Seuss cartoon 3

From the extraordinarily surreal World War II editorial cartoons of Dr. Seuss

He finished the book six months later and started submitting it—personally—to children’s book publishers in NYC. The colorful palette and weird creatures filled the pages with creativity, but editors in New York didn’t agree. He was met with harsh criticism about the book being “too different” or “not teaching a moral.” Few picture books used rhyme back then. It seemed no one wanted to try something new. After the 27th rejection, Ted tucked his pages under his arm and started walking down Madison Avenue toward home. Then he heard someone call his name.

To think that I saw it on Mulberry Street

Mike McClintock, an old friend from Dartmouth, caught up with Ted and asked him what he was carrying. After Ted explained it was a children’s book manuscript and illustrations he intended to burn, Mike pointed at the building they were standing in front of. It was Vanguard Press, and Mike was an editor there. The two men went up the steps, showed the work to the publisher, and the rest, as they say, is history.

From Vanguard to Random House to becoming the president of the Beginner Books division there, Dr. Seuss broke old rules and opened the way for rhyming writers. His work at Random House brought in others who liked to rhyme, including Helen Palmer (his wife’s pseudonym), Jan and Stan Berenstain, P.D. Eastman, Robert Lopshire, Al Perkins, and others. (Seuss used the name “Theo LeSieg” for books he wrote but didn’t illustrate. “LeSieg” is “Geisel” spelled backwards.) Their books have sold (and continue to sell) millions of copies. Children have been delighted with the word play, the characters, the rhyme and rhythm for decades.

Learning about Ted Geisel as I researched his biography for Chelsea House made me fall in love with Dr. Seuss. I was a bit too old to have enjoyed his books as a child, but as a mother and a writer, I am grateful for his life, his talent, and his legacy. To me, it feels like this:

It’s okay to have fun,

To write stories that rhyme,

Because of a man

Who stands beyond time.

Whose books and weird art

Build a bridge in between

The things we imagine

And the things we have seen,

And a road with a future

Where young readers can meet

And to think that it started

On Mulberry Street.

—Tanya Anderson

P.S. Read all about him in Who Wrote That? Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel) by Tanya Anderson, Chelsea House/Infobase Books, 2011. He was a hilarious character, and you’ll love reading about this life.



Tanya Anderson is an award-winning author and editor of books for young readers. She has worked for more than twenty years in various editorial functions for Pages Publishing Group, Guideposts for Teens, SRA/McGraw-Hill, Darby Creek Publishing, and School Street Media, her own business.

Anderson is the author of more than thirty books published in children’s and educational book markets. Her book, Tillie Pierce: Teen Eyewitness to the Battle of Gettysburg, is a narrative nonfiction book for young readers. It received excellent reviews, was a Junior Library Guild Selection, and won the 2014 IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award for Juvenile Nonfiction. Quindaro Press and Tanya are co-publishing the softcover edition of Tillie, coming out in May. Her next book, Gunpowder Girls: The True Stories of Three Civil War Tragedies will be available in September 2016.

Anderson lives in Springfield, Ohio, most of the year, but retreats to Palm Harbor, Florida, when it gets too cold. Her website is www.tanyaandersonbooks.com.

Tanya Anderson Book 2

Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel) (Who Wrote That?)


Tanya Anderson Book 1






To be eligible for today’s prize drawing by Random.org you must comment at the bottom of the page where it says “Leave A Reply” AND add your FIRST and LAST name in the comment. If I don’t have your name or how to contact you via email, you can’t win.

You must be a member of the RhyPiBoMo Facebook Group and if you haven’t officially registered, you are not eligible to win.

Please follow the pledge rules daily to get the most out of this challenge!


The drawings will be done daily and announced on Saturday of each week.




RhyPiBoMo 2016 Blogger Calendar

RhyPiBoMo 2016 Calendar

Thank you to all our fabulous authors, agents and editors who support what we do and have graciously agreed to share their knowledge with us! We are grateful!

This is the 3rd year for Rhyming Picture Book Month and I am humbled to see the support this event continues to receive. This idea of celebrating RPBs in 2013 started out small and now has blossomed into an annual event, a Best in Rhyme Award, a RPB Revolution Conference, the sale of our 2015 Conference Recording and a thriving Facebook Group of over 500 people!

  Rhyme Award Best In Rhyme      RPB Reg Open Logo

   Writing in Rhyme to WOW! class logo       Critique badge

I stay busy teaching my monthly Writing in Rhyme Class as well as doing Rhyming Manuscript Critiques. Last year was an exceptionally exciting and CRAZY year of firsts! This year, I vow to write more RPBs as my planning hat took over and stomped on my writing hat in 2015! I promised my very understanding and supportive agent that I would get my butt in the chair and my mind on writing…but I have had some time to plan this year’s shindig!

There are a few changes this year…As things have grown, I found a need to narrow the scope of the platform to only encompass rhyming picture books. So, this year, there will not be a poetry contest. Instead, I have added a Classroom Challenge where teachers and students see how many RPBs they can read in April.


The RhyPiBoMo 2016 Classroom Challenge

RhyPiBoMo 2016 Classroom Challenge Badge 2

If you know a pre-school – 5th grade teacher, please share this information. It is a simple project for the teacher and will put many, many RPBs in the hands of children!

There are two categories: Pre-school – 1st Grade and 2nd Grade – 5th Grade

The winning classrooms will win a 30 minute Skype visit with Author Lori Degman!

RhyPiBoMo 2016 Classroom Challenge Hat

We Love you Dr. Seuss!

The talented illustrator Tanja Bauerle is working on the RhyPiBoMo Badge that will be revealed very soon! This year’s honored writer is the esteemed Theodor Geisel! Who can deny his right to be celebrated and what a contribution he made to rhyming books and language development? He is our rhyme hero and has earned his spot in history. We salute you Dr. Seuss!


Rhyming Critique Groups

Don’t forget that we offer rhyming critique groups during RhyPiBoMo through the Facebook Group!

Dawn Young will again be setting up the groups and keeping them running through April. We hope you will stay together forever! It’s tough to find a rhyming critique group so make the most of it.


Registration runs March 20 – April 8th

For more information, see the Registration tab above. You must be registered to be eligible for daily prizes.

Please join our Facebook Group, as this is where you will get daily information and meet lots of other writers who support writing RPBs and each other! Stay tuned for the badge and the pledge that will be posted soon!

You will be asked to read 2 RPBs a day for participation in the event so start gathering your favorites now!

I’ll see ya in April!

RhyPiBoMo 2016 Save the Date