RhyPiBoMo 2016 Day 2 Author Penny Parker Klostermann

The 2015 Best in Rhyme Award Winner!

 Rhyme Award Best In Rhyme

Last year the RhyPiBoMo Group decided to honor one rhyming picture book as the Best in Rhyme and several honor books. The RhyPiBoMo Facebook Group nominated books that fit the criteria discussed in this post, The Best in Rhyme Committee narrowed the list to the Top 20 RPBs and then voted. This idea bloomed into a book award ceremony and RPB Revolution Conference in New York City last December. Thanks to many people in the group who volunteered many hours to make this happen. Stay tuned for nominations for the 2016 Best in Rhyme Awards!

Here is a link to the award ceremony with more thanks to Julie Gribble of KidLitTV who hosted us, recorded the conference and made it available for us to sell. This recording made it possible for us to have the conference and will help us prepare funding for future conferences. Please check it out! It’s only $49.99 for over 4 hours of video! You get to submit to the presenting agents and editors included with your purchase! Here’s more information about the conference recording.

   RPB Reg Open Logo    KidLit TV blk-white logo

Today I am honored to introduce our winner of this esteemed award. Her book THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT is exactly what we should all aspire to write. It includes a brilliant story, lots of tension, a surprising ending and has wagon loads full of poetic techniques that make it a true winner.

Penny Parker Klostermann Image 3

 I’m pleased to introduce

Author Penny Parker Klostermann


Penny Parker Klostermann Image 2

Author Penny Parker Klostermann


You Are the Band: The RPB Best in Rhyme

Award Rubric

A whole month devoted the rhyming picture books! Yes! Great rhyming picture books are pure entertainment.

I know. I know. We’ve all read rhyming picture books that aren’t pure entertainment. But notice I said “great” rhyming picture books. These are the ones that bring it all. That means that the author has done their homework and has paid attention to all elements that belong in a rhyming picture book. This is not an easy feat. As I was thinking about this, it reminded me of a one-man band. Think of one person playing all those instruments and producing music that entertains. Every note . . . every beat . . . must be just right or the audience will lose interest.

That’s why the committee for the Rhyming Picture Book Revolution Conference created a comprehensive rubric to score the books that were nominated for the Best of Rhyme Award. They wanted to make sure the books they chose to receive an award were hitting every note . . . every beat.

Take a look at the elements on the rubric.

Story/Plot/Structure – Clear arc with beginning/middle/end. Incorporates conflict and satisfying resolution that ties back to beginning

Character – Well-developed, active character(s) with distinctive traits and flaws, and a clear want or problem.

Rhyme – Consistently clever rhyme (not predictable) including the use of several multi-syllabic rhyming words. No slant, inversions, or forced rhyme.

Rhyming Pattern – Consistent.

Meter – Consistent meter. No variation, except intended variation for emphasis.

Appeal – Universal kid appeal and includes something for the adult reader

Verbs – Filled with action-packed verbs.

Concept/Theme (Message or Take Away) – Completely original concept or fresh take on old concept. Subtle message kids can grasp, universally relatable. Excellent use of showing versus telling.

Language – Uses 3 or more different poetic techniques with multiple occurrences of the following: alliteration, assonance, consonance,, onomatopoeia, Internal rhyme, metaphor, simile, personification, and has original and clever use of words/phrases, beyond poetic techniques  – wordplay, puns, & phrases including those adults will appreciate/enjoy.

Sentence Fluency – Highly effective sentence length variation or intentional yet highly effective non-variation (by design). Sentence structure enhances the rhythm. Use of repetition is highly effective and purposeful. Overall, word choice results in consistent rhythm. Economical use of words.

To view the entire rubric with scoring criteria click here.

Notice that seven of the ten elements on the rubric have nothing to do with rhyme or meter. Rhyming picture books have to include all the elements in a non-rhyming picture book, plus perfect rhyme and meter. Wordsmith-ing alone will not cut it. Rhyme and meter may get some toes tapping, but it won’t bring readers back to your book if there isn’t a story.

Therein is the challenge. If you decide to take the challenge and write your story in rhyme, remember you are the band. You have to hit every beat, every note. You have to bring every element in the rubric to your story. Yes, it’s challenging. Yes, it’s hard. But in the end, if you hit every note . . . every beat, the music you make will draw readers from all around to hear your story. You will be the band!

Penny Parker Klostermann Image 1


Penny Parker Klostermann is the author of There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight (Random House Books for Young Readers, 2015) and the upcoming, A Cooked-Up Fairy Tale, (Random House, 2017). There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight is one of fifteen books on the 2015-2016 Sunshine State Young Readers Award Jr. List and was also named Best in Rhyme 2015 in conjunction with the Rhyming Picture Book Revolution Conference.

Penny loves all kinds of books, but especially loves very silly picture books that make her laugh. She has been known to hug her favorite picture books and seriously hopes that someday her books will gain huggable status too.





Thank You Penny!

PLEASE like our guest bloggers on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, 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!!


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.




210 thoughts on “RhyPiBoMo 2016 Day 2 Author Penny Parker Klostermann

  1. Great post, Penny! And more and more success on your wonderful book. The rubric is a lot to consider and contemplate. But I know all these elements are necessary for GREAT rhyming picture book products. So much to learn, but it can be done. You’re the role model to follow, Penny. Thank you.

  2. Anita Jones
    I’ll be re-reading your comments Penny for the next day or longer! What a wealth of information you provided! I loved your analogy of “One Man Band” and how we have to learn to play all the instruments! Brilliant! Need to hang some of your slogans…”Hit Every Note, Every Beat!”, etc., and I love your quote, ” Rhyme and meter may get some toes tapping, but it won’t bring readers back to your book if there isn’t a story!”…..Now I have to figure out if I can be a One Woman Band!? I think I can!!!!
    Thanks Penny!!

  3. Thank you, Penny!
    Writing rhyme always reminds me of playing Sudoku. It doesn’t work unless every single piece is in the right place. And you, my dear, are a master at putting the pieces in the right place.

  4. Mary Warth
    This is a great rubric and a wonderful tool for writers to use in progress! I will share it with my critique group.

  5. Thank you Penny! Your book is awesome. My daughter loves reading it over and over again (even at 10!). I love the rubric. It’s a great guidebook on how to write a great rhyming story. 🙂

  6. Sarah Harroff – I think a one-man-band is a great way to view the challenge of writing great rhyming picture books. Thank you for sharing from the committee’s rubric, Penny. Quite a lot to live up to! Congratulations on your distinction. 🙂

  7. Feeling so lucky for having you Penny here, the Committee’s rubric is the best thing to have! That’s precious, indded!Every Note, makes that Beat special! Love it! Congrats to you , Penny!

  8. Lynn Alpert. WOW! That’s a lot of stuff to consider! Thanks for sharing, Penny!z
    P.S. I love hugging books, too!

  9. Natalie Lynn Tanner: Hi Penny! Thank you for posting the list of essential elements ALL picture books should include. I know just reading your post today and applying your suggestions will help take my writing to another level! THANK YOU!!!! And YEA to all book huggers!!!!

  10. Hey Penny…I was blown away by your rhyming ability the first time I saw it in a Susanna Hill contest years ago. You are a master!
    And I love the rubric…when I held the 50 Precious Words Contest, I wish I had had it…I will definitely fashion one for next year’s contest and will use your example as a mentor rubric. 😉 Thank you for sharing it with us. 😉 Vivian Kirkfield

  11. Thanks Penny (and Angie!) for great tips – the rubric is so helpful. I’ve just started the draft for my third PB and this comes in handy! Can’t wait to check out your book – looks charming! xoxo Susan Schaefer Bernardo

  12. Thanks for sharing the rubric, Penny. It was so helpful in being able to find subtle differences between so many wonderful rhyming picture books. Glad that Old Dragon was the winner! Patricia Toht

  13. Congrats on the win! What a wonderful analogy for rhyming picture books but also non-rhyming picture books to a one man band. I love it; symbols on my knees, drum on my back, harmonica above the guitar mounted on a wire and ptactice, practice, practice!

  14. Debbie McCue
    Very informative, Penny. I’m looking forward to studying the rubric more closely. And congratulations on the award!

    Can you explain what is meant by “slant” and “inversion” under they rhyme element?

    • Thanks for the congrats, Debbie.

      Slant rhymes, also called near rhymes, imperfect rhymes, etc., are rhymes that are close but not perfect. Sometimes slant rhymes work in a story but they should be used sparingly. And a perfect rhyme is better.
      pen, grin
      planet, comet

      Inversion is forcing words into unnatural positions to get to a rhyme. Our sentences should reflect the way we speak or else the rhyme sounds forced.

      The mouse let out a giggle-squeak
      as funny lines she did speak.

      I have inverted the second line to find the rhyme because I would normally say, “She spoke funny lines.”

      Hope that helps.

  15. Linda Hofke –
    Thanks, Penny, for the thorough list of elements. It will be a great check-list for my manuscripts. And congrats on the success of your book.

  16. Ann Magee Thanks for bringing all the elements of a successful rhyming PB to the surface for us to examine and try out over and over again . . . until maybe we can make it work, too!

  17. Thank you Penny! I love your book. The One Man Band analogy is a great one. Often when rhyming we get so hung up on finding the perfect rhyme when in fact we have many other things we need to focus on as well. I’m realizing that it’s a bit of a high wire act and we need ALL the elements to keep us balanced and put on a good show!

  18. That rubric is certainly helpful, so thanks for sharing. Also – I just watched the YouTube video of you reading your book. Very fun!

  19. Ellen Leventhal. OK, I was so excited about posting a comment, I forgot to write my name first. Anyway, I STILL want to say that I shared the rubric with some eighth graders today. Sorry about the double post!

  20. Sharon Dalgleish
    Wow! Thank you for the rubric. It’s so helpful to see it all listed in one place. Thanks for sharing!

  21. Debbie Smart
    I loved watching your presentation on the online version of the Rhyming Picture Book Conference! Thanks for sharing so much about your writing process! Thanks for sharing the rubric too! Love your book!

    • Thanks, Debbie! I love seeing what revisions other writers make to polish manuscripts so I was hoping sharing some of my revisions at the conference would be interesting and not boring. I had a great response so I think all of us writers think alike!
      So glad you love Dragon!

  22. The rubric will be a great tool for us as we evaluate our own work before submitting! Thank you for sharing it.

  23. Pam Phillips, I love this story. I think my favorite part is the Clippity, clippity, clippity, clop! And I love the frog looking at the shady lady, after he drinks the moat. That illustration cracks me up every time.

    • I’m so glad you noticed the frog. Wasn’t that a brilliant addition by Ben Mantle. It cracks me up, too. There’s a revision story behind the Clippity, clippity, clippity, clop! I love that line and at first I had it in the text. But the repetition started feeling “heavy.” So I moved it to an art note. I felt that was the best of both worlds. The steed still got to be annoying but the repetition worked better without the Clippity, clippity, clippity, clop! directly in text.

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