RhyPiBoMo 2016 Day 8 Author Anika Denise

Congrats Week 1 Daily Prize Winners!


Did you read and comment on all the blog posts last week?

These folks did!!

There were many people whose names I drew that didn’t comment on that day’s blog post, so they didn’t win a prize. We have 242 people registered for RhyPiBoMo 2016. I use Random.org to choose a winner. Then I check to see if that person on my Master Registration list commented on a post for a certain day. LOTS of people lost the chance to win a prize so don’t forget to read and comment daily!

Day 1  Maria Gianferrari  

Autographed Copy of DR. SEUSS BIOGRAPHY by Author Tanya Anderson

Day 2  Patricia Toht     

Autographed Copy of THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT by Best in Rhyme Award Winner Penny Parker Klostermann

Day 3  Sara Gentry      

Copy of THE POETRY FRIDAY ANTHOLOGY FOR CELEBRATIONS (Student Edition) from Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong

Day 4  Mona Pease    

Autographed Copy of ALL YEAR ROUND by Susan Katz

Day 5    Jill Proctor      

Autographed Copy of MONSTER TROUBLE By Lane Fredrickson

Day 6  Helen Zax 

RPB Revolution Conference Recording ($50.00 value)

 Prize winners, please email (Angie.karcher@yahoo.com) or message me with your contact information. Typically, the books will be mailed directly from the author, so please allow a few weeks. If you haven’t received your prize by the end of April, please let me know. 


Shake it off Parody image

 I want to extend a huge thanks to KidLitTV‘s Katya Szewczuk, Laurel Nakai and Julie Gribble for the latest RhyPiBoMo “SHAKE IT OFF” Parody! Please extend your appreciation to them for such a fun way to celebrate RPBs! Thank you KidLitTV!

KidLit TV logo - new

Rhyming Critique Groups will be organized this week!

Thank you Dawn Young for organizing our rhyming critique groups again this year! Dawn will post a sign up on our Facebook page so please sign up there if you want to join a rhyming critique group! You MUST be on the RhyPiBoMo Official Registration List to participate this year as we have so many people to accommodate. This is a great opportunity to find other rhymers, as it’s tough to find a rhyming crit group.


So now without further ado, I give you today’s guest blogger!


 I’m pleased to introduce

Author Anika Denise

Anika head shot

Author Anika Denise


“Do You Want Hot Sauce With That?”

How Rhyme Can Spice-up A Story

Anika 1

Imagine your manuscript is a burrito.

A strong story arc is your hardy whole wheat tortilla. Lyrical language, flawless meter, a delicious sprinkling of assonance and alliteration. . . they’re the beans, rice and cheese. But without your story tortilla to wrap them up and hold them together, all you have is heap of ingredients plopped on a plate.

In other words, rhyme should always serve story. It should show up carrying a tray and say, “Do you want hot sauce with that?”

I’m often asked at school visits how I decide whether to write in rhyme or prose. The answer I give (the one that really impresses teachers) is, “Um, I don’t know.”

Because to be honest, it’s a gut thing. Some stories simply feel right for rhyme.

I chose to write my first picture book PIGS LOVE POTATOES in rhyme because it’s a counting book for very young readers, and rhyming and counting are a natural fit.  For BAKING DAY AT GRANDMA’S, the words poured out like a recipe: “flour, sugar, butter, eggs./ Stand on chairs with tippy legs… One hot cocoa at each place./ Frosty window, smiley face.”

When the idea for my forthcoming picture book, MONSTER TRUCKS, came to me, I wasn’t immediately sure it would rhyme, but I had a strong hunch. What, with all the screeching and howling, thrashing and crashing—and the opportunity to write a perky blue VW bus who putt-putts and toot-toots her way into readers’ hearts? I couldn’t resist.

Anika 2

Illustration © 2016 Nate Wragg

If you’re contemplating writing in verse, I’d start there. Ask yourself, does rhyme feel right for this idea?  If it’s a yes, then ask why. Being able to articulate why rhyme suits a story not only underscores it as the best choice, but helps you effectively use poetic techniques to spice things up.

Here are THREE WAYS you can use rhyme to spice up your story.

  1. To build tension.

Rhyme, rhythm and repetition can build tension beautifully in a picture book, especially when designed around the all-important page turn.

One of my favorite examples is Ammi-Joan Paquette’s GHOST IN THE HOUSE. Her words read like a bump in the night. They are expertly paced, and serve to heighten suspense as each new creature enters the scene.

Anika 3

Illustration ©2015 Adam Record

There’s a ghost in the house,

In the creepy haunted house,

On this dark, spooky night, all alone.


And he goes slip-slide

With a swoop and a glide

Until suddenly he hears. . .



And a mummy makes two in the house,

In the creepy haunted house,

On this dark, spooky night, on the prowl.


And they shuffle around

Without even a sound

Until suddenly they hear…



  1. To bring the funny.

Rollicking rhymes with a touch of silly can really bring the funny. Add in a little irreverence, and you’ve got ‘em rolling in the aisles!

My favorite irreverently hilarious rhyming picture book is Penny Parker Klostermann’s award-winning THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT.

Anika 4

Illustration © 2015 Ben Mantle

Seriously, the clippity, clippity, clippity clop line made me snort coffee out of my nose the first time I read it.

Another fabulous mentor text is Josh Funk’s pun-filled LADY PANCAKE AND SIR FRENCH TOAST.

Anika 5

Illustration © 2015 Brendan Kearney

Josh’s rhyming tale of two breakfast foods in a race to the syrup is a veritable smorgasbord of clever wordplay and saucy retorts.

  1. To create emotional resonance.

In other words, heart. To be clear, I’m not talking heart strings—although lyrical verse in a beautifully crafted story can tug them in the very best way—I mean using rhyme to evoke emotion, any emotion, authentically.

Beth Ferry’s STICK AND STONE does this so incredibly well, I want to show it to every writer learning the craft of picture books. With the sparest of rhyming text , Beth delivers an emotionally resonant tale about loneliness, courage and friendship.

Anika 7

Anika 8

Anika 9

Illustration ©2015 Tom Lichtenheld

Not to mention a perfect story arc complete with conflict, tension, a successful quest and a satisfying resolution.

So start with the tortilla, make sure there are no holes or thin bits, then add all your favorite rhyming ingredients, dab on some hot sauce, and dig in.


Anika Denise is a children’s book author and poet. When not writing stories about piggies and elephants and bears (oh my!) she’s either cooking, baking, reading or attempting to do all three at the same time. Her published picture books include Pigs Love Potatoes, Bella and Stella Come Home and Baking Day at Grandma’s (Philomel). She has several more coming soon, including a rhyming tale of vroom and doom titled Monster Trucks, illustrated by Nate Wragg (HarperCollins 2016), Starring Carmen, illustrated by Lorena Alvarez (Abrams 2017), and The Best Part of Middle, illustrated by her husband Christopher Denise (Christy Ottaviano Books 2018)Anika and Chris live in Rhode Island with their three kids, overgrown vegetable gardens, pesky squirrels and a slew of imaginary friends.

Visit Anika online at anikadenise.com and on Twitter @AnikaDenise.

Anika Baking_Day

Baking Day at Grandma’s


Anika Bella_and_ Stella

Bella and Stella Come Home


Anika Monster Trucks

Monster Trucks


Anika Pigs_love_potatoes

Pigs Love Potatoes






 Thank You Anika!

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.




105 thoughts on “RhyPiBoMo 2016 Day 8 Author Anika Denise

  1. Yum! Burrito with all the trimmings for a story that sings! Great post, Anika, filled with fine examples to explore. Thank you!

  2. Great rhyming advice, Anika–thank you!! And I love your choice of books too.

    And so excited that I’m a prizewinner–perfect timing since yesterday was my BD :)!

  3. Joana Pastro
    Hi, Anika! Thanks for this inspired post. I loved your burrito comparison. I’ll be checking out those amazing book examples and yours too. 🙂

  4. Hi Anika – What a great food metaphor for baking up literally success! Love the book examples you choose. We cannot wait to get our hands on Monster Trucks…any book with a VW bus automatically owns my heart ❤ and a place on our book shelf!
    Aimee Haburjak

  5. Melanie Ellsworth – Anika, your post helped me better articulate why I chose to write some of my manuscripts in rhyme. Thank you! I am looking forward to reading your picture books.

  6. Sara Gentry
    Thank you for this post. I am currently trying to figure out if I want to write one of my manuscripts in rhyme. I think it works well in prose, but I’m wondering if rhyme will give it something extra. Guess I won’t know unless I try.

  7. Arin Wensley
    Anika, thank you for the wonderful post and advice! I loved your use of spicy food as a metaphor for how to be more creative in our rhyming manuscripts. Thank you!

  8. Kathy Mazurowski, I loved reading Baking Day at Grandma’s. I’ve put Pigs Love Potatoes on my library list. Thank you!

  9. Jean James
    This post was so informative, with great examples and a burrito metaphor to boot. Thanks Anika for your savy advice! I’m going to have to go out and look up your books, they look like a lot of fun.

  10. Judy Sobanski –

    A very informative post, Anika. I love the burrito metaphor too. I’ll remember that when writing. Thanks for sharing your wisdom and examples of great rhyming PB’s.

  11. Ingrid Boydston Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast & Stick and Stone are two of my favorites as well. The first because Josh Funk uses so many words to such good effect, and Beth Ferry’s because she uses so few! Thanks for your insights. Monster Trucks sounds especially fun!

  12. Daryl Gottier
    Thanks so much. I Enjoyed the post, now it’s time to spice up some stories. And I loved Baking Day at Grandma’s.

  13. Anita Jones
    What a fun post to read! You definately gave me a lot to think about and to work on. I can’t wait to read your books…you obviously have a great sense of humor and I think that’s important too as a picture book writer!! Thanks Anika.

  14. I’ll never look at a burrito the same again. Who thought it such potential to help simmer up and seal in the flavor of a story!?

    Thanks for the excellent post, Anika!

    ~Lori Mozdzierz

  15. Thanks for these great examples Annika! The “why” of writing in rhyme is as important as the “how” in my opinion. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. These ways to spice up a rhyming story can also help writers decided whether or not to rhyme in the first place.

  16. A great post to start off the week. Deciding on prose or poesy for a story is my current dilemma so this post was especially useful to me. Thanks, Anika! – Tim Canny

  17. Ashley Potts- Thank you, Anika! Terrific food for thought regarding deciding whether or not to rhyme. Inspiring examples!

  18. Terrific examples, Anika! I can’t wait to see Monster Trucks — it looks so cute. And thanks for the signed book, Angie — Penny’s book is a treasure!

  19. NATALIE LYNN TANNER: Well, Anika, I will NEVER look at hot sauce the same way EVER again! The guy at the Taco Bell window will get a GREAT BIG GRIN when he asks me if I want “Spicy” or “Extra Hot’!!!! THANK YOU for sharing your WONDERFUL insights! Your books are WONDERFUL!!!! I can’t wait to read them all!!! And now — if you will pardon me — I am going to go apply copious amounts of EXTRA EXTRA SPICY HOT “SAUCE” to my “burrito”! THANK YOU!!!

  20. I loved your way of constructing the story through 3 different ways. we forget when weare writing that planning for conflict, tension and resolution can be varied through feelings and /or fun. Your blog is such a good lesson in how to make the best of everything we write by using humour,and rhyme for some of the best results of books chilren will love.
    Thank you so much Anika. Very well presented.I will keep every part for reference.
    Super blog!

  21. Love food as a metaphor for rhyme. It works for me! I’ll be checking your books out with thoughts of burritos dancing in my head.Thank you Anika
    Chris Clayson

  22. Sarah Harroff – Thank you for tying spice into the discussion, Anika. I’m sure this chili head will have no trouble remembering the metaphor. 🙂 And congratulations to the week one giveaway winners!

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